WA’s Iconic 78 Records Is Shutting Down: ‘It Was Such A Great Trip’

Published on, Feb 2019

Beloved WA institution 78 Records has announced it will close its doors permanently on March 3.

Speaking with The Music, manager Andrew “Fang” de Lang, who began working there in 1986 at the age of 19, cited high rent in Perth and the rise of streaming services as contributing factors.

“We gave it our best shot over a long period, but the time is nigh,” Lang said.

Over the past 47 years, the historic CBD record store has become a staples of the city’s music scene.

After opening in Forrest Place in 1971, 78 Records relocated numerous times around the city before landing at its fifth and final home in a laneway off Murray Street, all the while establishing itself as a thriving hub via its extensive vinyl range, live performances and more.

“There was a massive commitment to local music, particularly as [artists] were bringing out a release,” Lang said.

One memorable local launch, the first at 78 Records’ Mortlock Building location, included Perth legends Jebediah.

“We found out very quickly that we couldn’t have people jumping up and down on the [second story] floor because the floor might fall through.

“The whole floor was vibrating and this was a building we just got into. We had to frantically get on the microphone and tell everyone to stop.”

Other in-store performances came from Weezer, Powderfinger, The Living End, Eskimo Joe, Gyroscope and Julian Lennon, the latter of which proved to be one of Lang’s more memorable days there.

“There were so many Beatles fans coming into the store and asking me to give him things,” Lang recalled.

“That was probably the weirdest day I can remember; seeing middle-aged people just go stupid and act like children.”

There’s been an overwhelming outpour of emotion from music lovers and artists across social media, which Lang describes as “heartening on one hand and sad on the other”.

“It just made me realise how important this shop was; it just reinforced that we provided a service for people and they had a good time meeting their friends here or just buying music.

“What I’ll remember most is just the enjoyment I had working here – just serving people, talking music, organising in-stores. It was just such a great trip.

“Time’s up and it’s a bittersweet thing, but I have no regrets.”