Scratchy Memories of the
Inside, the 8-track tapes were lined along the south wall, the albums took up most of the floor space, and the singles bins, which contained the most amazing selections of music in town, were lined up against west wall/window until around 1974 (?) when they found their final resting place along the north wall. In the back there was a grimy, depressing repair shop that always wanted to charge about 66% of whatever a component was worth to "fix" it (they made it work, but usually with an annoying side effect, like a squeak on the turntable or the 8-Track playing head would be knocked out of register).
There was a satellite store in North Tulsa, located between Frankfort and Hartford on 46th Street North, which is now a virtually abandoned shopping strip mall. It was sold to White's Records, as that company's only satellite store, around 1974. There was one in East Tulsa (somewhere on or past Memorial) and one in Pawhuska on Main street, which also seemed to be part of a soda shop (the space was a mattress shop last time I was up there). I believe there was another outlet in one of the surrounding cites, but it's been so long it's just a fuzzy piece of corrupted data in my head.
I remember the one in Pawhuska (and please correct me if that wasn't a Bill's T) going out of business LITERALLY the week I decided I wanted to collect records (1972 at the age of 10). I remember visiting the North Tulsa store a couple of times, but I only visited the East Tulsa store once.
At that time the only other place to obtain singles were either via the top forty racks at TG&Y, Dillards, Sears and their competitors - meaning once a single is off the charts it's gone from those stores forever. On occasion stores would have a dump bind where both original pressings and reissues of rock and pop singles were placed in no particular order in a rack, usually shrink wrapped against a piece of printed cardboard that mimicked the file cards for singles in record stores.
At the time the single had been devalued in America; the LP was king, and it was portable on 8-Track tape. British bands traditionally put out either uncollected singles, or uncollected b-sides. Elton John, all of the Beatles (as solo acts) and other artists continued to put out unreleased singles throughout the 1970s but the format was not that popular in America. Over here even The Beatles' catalogue was originally rearranged so that virtually every track was available on LP.
At the same time record collecting was more of a cult than a business (record collecting has always been around, but the modern wave that we are still riding seems to have started with the re-introduction of the blues, along with the cults of personalities built around the Beatles and Dylan). I remember a catalogue released around 1975 that listed nearly every single that had been released on Apple, brand new, for $2 each (!)
Around 1975 I started going to Honest John's (which is now the Starship record store) due to brainwashing aerial bombardments on KMOD every hour. "The Latest from KISS, three eighty-eight, TED NUGENT, three eighty-eight, STEELY DAN, three..." $3.88 with tax came to $4 even, about a dollar cheaper than anyone else in town, and they literally stocked stacks of albums!
I went back to Bill's T one last time around 1977 and they were pretty much left in the dust. They didn't even have enough business to justify stocking the top 20 singles.
I don't know exactly when they disappeared. If anyone knows why they were called Bill's T (and if anyone knows the correct spelling) please let me know.
Beatles: Let it Be/You Know My Name...
Alice Cooper: Elected/Looney Tune
Plastic Ono Band: Give Peace a Chance / Remember Love
George Harrison: Bangladesh / Deep Blue