Musicians have paid tribute to the owner of Hartlepool’s last independent record store.
John Little who ran The Other Record Shop, in Errol Street, for over 40 years died on Monday aged 65.
It is understood he fell ill on Friday and went to the University Hospital of North Tees in Stockton but did not make a recovery.
Friends and local band members have fondly remembered John’s shop as “an oasis for every rock music fan in Hartlepool” and described his death as the end of an era.
John opened the shop in 1975 and this summer celebrated 40 years in business on his 65th birthday.
In the early 80s, he launched The Other Tours organising coach trips to gigs all over the country.
It was an exotic and mysterious place and an oasis for every rock music fan and overly serious teenager in HartlepoolPaul Brazill, former customer and The Other Record Shop worker
Author Paul Brazill, who now lives in Poland, worked part-time in the shop in the early 80s after meeting him as a teenager.
Paul said: “It was an exotic and mysterious place and an oasis for every rock music fan and overly serious teenager in Hartlepool.
“It was a kind of sanctuary from real life and John was a bit of a Gandalf figure.
“I think the line between customer and staff blurred a lot in The Other Record Shop. We always helped out in one way or the other.
“John always supported and encouraged people to do what they want, take a chance and the like, which is why I moved to London and on to Poland and am continuing my adventures, one way or another.
“John’s death is sad and the end of The Other Record shop is sad too. It’s the end of an era, for sure.”
Ian Monaghan, Mail journalist and lead singer of band The White Negroes, said: “It was more than a shop, a place to hang out and see people.
“Anyone in the town who has been into music over the last 40 years in any way has been in that shop.
“I remember one gig we did at the Boilermakers Club when we had 500 tickets and he sold them out for us.
“At Christmas you would always go in and he would offer you a red or white wine in a paper cup or for rose he would mix them up and stir it with his pen!”
Musician Kev McGuire, who grew up in Hartlepool and now lives in the Stockton area, was another regular customer as a teenager before John promoted bands he played in such as Taste of Freshness and Candy Ranch.
“If you wanted a particular single and John didn’t have it he would order it for you. When I got married in 2012 I wanted a particular track for my wife Marcia to walk down the aisle to but I couldn’t find it anywhere.
“A couple of weeks later John phoned me up, he had ordered it secretly and gave it to me as a wedding present. It was a really nice touch.”