3 Million Records — In Westport?

A few days ago, the New York Times ran a story about the Archive of Contemporary Music. The non-profit houses one of the world’s largest collections of popular music: over 3 million recordings, plus music books, memorabilia and press kids.

There are “shelves upon shelves upon shelves of vinyl records and CDs, signed Johnny Cash records… boxes of big band recordings, world music and jazz and original soundtracks.”

Keith Richards

It also holds the bulk of Keith Richards’ famed blues collection. (He’s on the board of advisers.)

But rising TriBeCa rents are forcing the mammoth collection elsewhere. They’ve got until June to find a new space.

Nile Rodgers —  the record producer and co-founder of the band Chic — is also on the Archive’s board.

Which raises an intriguing idea, first proposed by alert “06880” reader Jeff Mitchell. With those 2 luminaries so involved — and living in Westport and Weston, along with other great recording artists like Michael Bolton and Jose Feliciano, not to mention our long musical history of legendary concerts from Bo Diddley to the Doors; REO Speedwagon writing 157 Riverside about their time here; Johnny Winter and Joe Cocker recording and rehearsing in Westport — why not invite the Archive of Contemporary Music to set up shop here?

I’m (semi) serious. We already have a Museum of Contemporary Art (formerly the Westport Arts Center). a Westport Museum for History and Culture (most recently the Westport Historical Society), plus the Westport Country Playhouse (unchanged after 90 years). This would be one more cultural attraction.

Where would they go? That’s for wiser heads than mine to decide. But we do have an unused building sitting smack in the middle of Baron’s South.

And we keep talking about all those vacant stores on Main Street…

New home of the Archive of Contemporary Music? (Photos/Chip Stephens)

23 responses to “3 Million Records — In Westport?

  1. Dan, why not? It actually makes perfect sense.

  2. Darcy Travlos

    Hi Dan, I read this article too and wanted to do something! Your idea is great! If anyone responds, wants to put a team together, please let me know. Happy to do all I can for this cause!

  3. Dan, I really like your idea.

  4. Don’t forget the late Dan Hartman lived in Westport. “I can dream about you” and “Free Ride” with the Edgar Winter Group, were his big hits. Click more for his bio: https://www.discogs.com/artist/15165-Dan-Hartman?limit=100&page=1
    Plus Neil Sedaka, too! https://06880danwoog.com/2013/08/22/westports-got-it-all/

  5. This is a great idea, a project worthy of Westport. Along with Levitt Pavilion, this new jewel will make the town the Mecca for music lovers.

    • Love the idea Dan!!! Great destination place and Main Street would be perfect

      Could also add rock and roll history with pictures from the Friedman Gallery

  6. David J. Loffredo

    Main Street regularly floods….And I thought the Baron’s South buildings had structural challenges due to all the years of housing all the books for the library book sale?

    What about the former Blockbuster site on the Post Road? Rather it become some sort of vinyl mecca than a recreational pot store.

    • The books were only stored in Golden Shadows (68 Compo Road South) not any other Barons South building. And the point load related damage to a portion of its dining room was remedied years ago. Golden Shadows, interestingly enough, is essentially overbuilt with public accommodation level quantities of steel. And a vast lower level which, with climate control, could easily house a massive archive – if one wished.

  7. Perhaps David Waldman’s property along side the Saugatuck ( yet to be built ) could incorporate space to house the collection??

  8. Mary Palmieri Gai

    Westport should be in the Music Hall of Fame. Our history is incredible. We should have this. Great Idea! And in honor of Sally!

  9. I’m a musician and student archivist (who also works with archivists). I would love to help bring the archives to Westport!

  10. At first I was going to say I doubt they could get the same number of visitors in Westport as NYC, but apparently they aren’t open to visitors, so that’s not even a concern. Not a bad idea.

  11. Abbey Road imagery Dan?

  12. Veronica Fulling

    Excellent idea! Wish I were still in the area to help ( now living in NC ) to work this out. Good luck Westport/Weston.!

  13. What would you DO at a Music Archive – LOOK at the records, LPs, etc? Or do you take them to booths to play, like in the 1940s? If the records are rarities you can’t let people handle them – they don’t know how. Actually you can already HEAR just about any music you can think of on the Internet. (I have been a record collector – thousands of them.)

    • Hi Peter, wondering if you’re still adding to your collection? Happen to have a trove of 78s & 45s along w/a few LPs that we’d like to find a good home. If you’d like more info, please email me: ajbnilson@aol.com


  14. Audrey Doniger

    This is a fabulous idea!..and wouldn’t it be great for downtown …don’t forget that the late Al Brodax was very involved with the movie (I think it was “Yellow Submarine”) he made with the Beatles…..hope it happens…first positive news in a long time…

  15. A terrific idea! Love to see it happen!

  16. Liza Swenn Martin

    This would be a wonderful addition to Westport’s legacy.