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Name: Nick Farmer.
Comment: As a kid growing up in the seventies, we had missed The Beatles and were listening to the solo efforts of the early to mid-seventies. In an effort to complete my George Harrison collection I needed a copy of ‘My Sweet Lord’, which had been released before I was old enough to start buying records of my own. A local shop in my home town of Halesowen called ‘Pied Piper’, which not only sold records, but sheet music and musical instruments too at another shop around the corner, offered a back ordering service for old records. I asked them to order a copy of ‘My Sweet Lord’, which they were happy to do without even taking a deposit. A week or so later, I called in to collect my order, which was already waiting in their branded yellow paper bag, with some handwriting in the top right-hand corner ‘Farmer 45p T/P’. (Meaning 45p to pay). I duly paid my 45p and left the shop. Soon after this, the shop adopted a ‘deposit with order’ policy, as a few kids had ordered records then not turned up to collect them, imagine? I ordered several more back catalogue records over the next few months, before discovering used record shops in the nearby ‘big city’ of Birmingham, where old records in good condition were fairly easy to find.

Now a lot of water has flowed under the bridge since the day in 1974, when I collected my George Harrison record to the year 2010, 36 years' worth of water to be precise. A lifetime, some might say. It certainly felt like it, but I never gave up collecting records, so when I spotted a large box of used 45s in the charity shop literally 20 yards from where I now live (still in Halesowen), I had to have a rummage through. Right in the middle of the box there was an old ‘Pied Piper’ bag. Nostalgia flooded over me and I stood looking at it for a few minutes. It had a record in it, which I really can’t remember now (some old Brotherhood of Man single or suchlike) and had been used as a sleeve for the record. I decided that I would replace it with a more worthy record and buy the bag for old time's sake. Imagine my amazement as I unfolded the edges of the bag to reveal some handwriting in the top left-hand corner in red pen ‘Farmer 45p T/P’. It was the bag which my copy of ‘My Sweet Lord’ had been served to me in 36 years earlier! I took it home, found the copy of ‘My Sweet Lord’, which I still have, of course, and placed it back in the bag, where it now sits in my collection.

Name: Betty Comley.
Comment: I also felt nostalgic seeing you copy of the yellow plastic bag!

Name: Ron Jones.
Comment: I remember you Corrine, I worked for your mom and dad at the Halesowen and Bearwood shops. Happy days! Names I remember: Pete Tricket, Bob Cross, Yvonne, Karen, Andrea, Lou, Charlie piano player on a Saturday, and Pete the keyboard manager. It's all coming back to me now. Give my regards to your mom and dad.

Name: Simon.
Comment: A strange thing happened the other week. At a Christmas party in a local pub, we had a delivery from a pizza parlour. This particular pizza business occupies the former premises of Pied Piper, beloved record shop and fond memory of most 40-somethings in Halesowen.

So far not so strange - until, upon clearing up, someone noticed a bag on a table. A bag I hadn't seen for 20 years. A bag which transported me back to a time where consuming music was an event you shared with your friends. It was a brand new, pristine 12" Pied Piper bag. Could it be that the pizza shop have uncovered a supply of new (20-year-old) plastic bags at the back of a cupboard and are now using them to deliver garlic bread? Possibly. I must pop in and ask, and see if I can get a couple more.

In the meantime, I shall cherish this unexpected time capsule - although I did toy with the idea of putting an old 12" in it and walking around the precinct just to confuse people.

Name: Simon.
Comment: Hello Corinne. I remember you, Mike, Jackie - and others from the previous shop in the Precinct. I was thinking about the coloured/picture discs that used to be displayed above the doors in the old shop. Glad your memories are as fond as ours - it was a special time.
(22 April 2014)

Name: Corinne
Comment: What a wonderful story Simon. I have great memories of working in the shop during school and university holidays and for a while after university when I opened the clothes shop in the back. Jackie worked there for years and they were great times.

Best of all was Christmas, especially Christmas Eve when we would arrive at 8ish to a queue of people and would be run off our feet until the town went dead at about 3 o'clock. Happy days indeed!
(17 April 2014)

Name: Sandra
Comment: Can anyone remember Priest record shop in Halesowen?
(11 December 2013)

Name: Richard Howard
Comment: The image of the yellow bag brought memories flooding back for me! I used to visit Pied Piper in Halesowen on a weekly basis, usually on a Saturday when I had been given my pocket money, and then on a Friday lunchtime when I had been paid (I used to work at the Cordon Bleu Freezer centre!) The main person I remember serving me was a lady called Jackie. I used to love looking through the racks of 12" singles and when I began my own mobile disco in my late teens and early twenties, there was only one place to go to buy the vinyl I needed. Happy days!
(26 August 2013)

Name: Alan Bailey
Comment: Hello Pete, nice to know you are still around as are we. Good wishes to anyone who remembers us from those years. Unfortunately, the bottom dropped out of the record trade around the mid-eighties and we had to close the record shop. We also closed the music shop in 1996, people didn't buy organs any more and you had to sell a lot of keyboards at £200 to make up for one organ at £2,000. Too much competition and you couldn't make a living on strings and sheet music.
(16 August 2013)

Name: Pete Trickett.
Comment: Hi Ron! I remember you too! Nice to see you're still around! As you say happy times, eh!

I often think of the people I used to know and work with. Andrea, Karen, Bob, etc. and of course Joyce and Alan Bailey. Lovely people all! Wonderful memories... For sure.
(26 June 2013)

Name: Matt Harris
Comment: Glad I found this, I also have fond memories of Pied Piper. Visited the Halesowen shop many times in the early 1990s, bought lots of guitar tab books from there. Also remember Mike being a great guitar player, he taught a few of my mates. The carrier bag brings back memories, wow.
(1 February 2017)

Name: Philip Shaw
Comment: Thanks Nick, lovely story. I also remember the yellow bags having had many filled with purchases. The demise of the British record shop. I remember so many over the years including the shop I used when at college in Mansfield, Notts.
(2018)

Name: Nic Burrows
Comment: I worked in the Peckingham Street shop on Saturdays. My brother Nigel was the shop manager at the time. So many fond memories. I particularly remember pranking the staff upstairs by hiding behind the sheet music rack and blowing two notes of a guitar tuner pipe which sounded exactly the same as the water boiler coming to the boil. Watching the girls confused look as they went to switch it off. Good times!
(2019)

Name: Kath Baker (née Shilvock)
Comment: I also worked at the record shop in the late 1970s, Keith Evans was the manager of the precinct shop then along with Jackie and myself, I remember on Christmas Eve, we used to go round to the Peckingham Street shop for mince pies before going home. The Christmas party was always a good one. They were indeed good old days, fondly remembered. By the way, the red writing on that yellow bag is mine, how about that? Brilliant!
(2020)


Comments

Lionel Martin
03 Aug 2023 at 08:09
First album I ever bought was Roxy Music's Stranded from Pied Piper in Bearwood. Still have it and currently playing! I remember going in as shy14 year old lad(1973) and asking the girl at the counter if they had Roxy's Strangulated! Needless to say, embarrassed beyond belief, but left proudly clutching the album!

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Locations

19 Peckingham Street B63 3AN Halesowen / West Midlands
8 The Precinct Halesowen / West Midlands
120 Poplar Road, Bearwood B66 4AP Smethwick / West Midlands
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