The Last CD Sold at Israel’s Last Tower Records: Amy Winehouse’s ‘Back to Black’

The international chain’s only remaining Israeli store, in Ra’anana, closed last week. Like the music it once sold, Tower Records has migrated to the Internet.

Tower Records in Ra'anana, November 2015.
Asaf Azon

Last week Tower Records sold its last CD in Israel.

For the first time in years, hundreds of people converged on the Ra’anana branch to grab albums and DVDs before it closed for good. Some came especially for the closeout sale, but most were former employees or regular customers who had come to bid the store farewell. The international chain, which was founded in the 1960s, went bankrupt and closed nine years ago.

Tower.com was purchased by a separate entity and was not affected by the store closures.

The final sale at Tower Records in Ra'anana, November 2015. Several customers browse through mainly-empty racks of music CDs and DVDs.
Asaf Azon

Asaf Azon was the Ra’ana branch manager. “The last few days were really weird,” he said. “People felt at home in the store; the customers were sad and that made the workers sad, too. It’s the end of an era, the end of a place that was our second home. It was hard for them to believe that we were closing.

“I’m very sad that there’s no longer a place for a place like this, a home for culture, music, and film, where you can buy and enjoy the fun things in life,” he said.

Tomer Molvidzon, a producer, music editor and disc jockey at Israel Radio’s music station 88 FM, worked at Tower Records for nine years. “The music fanatics left it long ago. There were those who would come into the store and maliciously ask, ‘What? People still buy discs?’”

Indeed, in an era of digital downloads, who comes into a store to buy music CDs?

“Music nuts like me,” said Molvidzon. “People who are romantic or nostalgic, who love music, really need discs, because if you’re going to hold a physical object, it should come with the whole experience. People buy discs solely for their cars. The year they take out the CD hole in the cars, the disc will breathe its last.”

Azon reveals that the last CD sold in Tower Records’ last Israeli branch was “Back to Black” by Amy Winehouse. “It was on sale at the register for 50 shekels and everyone who came to pay took a copy.”