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UPDATED May 29: When this reporter was growing up in the San Fernando Valley region of the city of Los Angeles, a favored place to buy what were then referred to as albums, records or LPs was a Southern California chain of music stores called Licorice Pizza

(The acclaimed recent film of that same name, though its themes were not necessarily immediately obvious to all viewers, neither used a single shot of an existing sign of one of the long-defunct stores nor set even a brief scene in what could be considered its mercantile successor, CD Trader. The movie is unquestionably a period piece -- set 50 years ago, in 1973 -- but, if viewed critically, hardly a nostalgia trip, taking place in what has been perjoratively termed "The Me Decade," and that description fits it well. )

On May 20, 2023, Arlingtonians were able to obtain albums/records/LPs at prices that roughly approximated those of long-gone days. That is because the Robbins Library, 700 Mass. Ave., with the significant assistance of The Friends of the Robbins Library, that day was surrendering its entire LP collection to individual audiophiles – a final vinyl sale, if you will.

That day, browsers and buyers found in the library's Community Room more than 2,000 albums for sale – jazz, classical, rock, pop, musicals and more – at costs not dissimilar to the retail price for fresh pressings in the format's heyday.

This former Valley Girl had suggested arriving before the music-loving folks across the Charles could gobble up the best 'licorice pizzas.' As it was, some categories were sold out by the midpoint of the May 20 sale.

Some analog music lovers may be interested to know that the music chain that disappeared after being sold off in the Eighties resurfaced only a few weeks after the film came out.

Licorice Pizza, complete with both logos and both slogans, has returned as a sole retail outlet on – where else – Ventura Boulevard (name-checked by then-San Fernando Valley resident Tom Petty in his hit song "Free Fallin' " and essentially the Left Coast counterpart of Mass. Ave. as it winds through Cambridge, Arlington and Lexington). 

Its new owners may yet be on to something. Arlington's library system may have parted ways with the vinyl format, but many folks nationwide apparently still have a hankering for 20th-century music-delivery technology. In March 2022, vinyl sales reached their highest level in 35 years according to Fortune Magazine. That would have been in 1986 -- the same time that the original Licorice Pizza chain was sold. 


This feature-style news announcement by YourArlington Assistant Editor Judith Pfeffer was published May 20, 2023, based on information from Director of Libraries Anna Litten and Assistant Director of Libraries Amanda Troha, plus the author's recollections and research. It was updated May 23, 2023, to report that the retail outlet Licorice Pizza has, to a modest extent, been reborn in its ancestral homeland; on May 25, 2023, for overall wordsmithing; and on May 29, 2023, to add a link to a description of the famed magazine article that forever tagged the Seventies as being "The Me Decade."