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Ask Chicagoist: Reckless Records of Where?

By Thales Exoo in Miscellaneous on Mar 20, 2008 2:41PM

2008_03_askreckless.jpgDear Ask Chicagoist,

Why is it that when I buy albums at the Reckless Records in the Loop, the receipt says "Reckless Records of London"? Is there some secret UK Reckless Records I don't know about? Up until now, I always thought they were a Chicago original?


Confused Rocker

Dear C.R.,

It's not a secret. The Reckless Records we know and love in Chicago was an offshoot of a U.K. record shop named, surprisingly enough, Reckless Records. Reckless Records of London, Inc. is the official corporate name in the U.S. Charles Taylor (we wonder what type of shoes he wears) opened the stores in Islington and Soho in London in 1983 and 1984. They were highly successful back in the day, and in 1988 he hopped across the pond and opened a now-closed branch on Haight Street in San Francisco. Finally in 1989, the first Chicago location at Broadway and Belmont opened, back when the biggest debate in the music industry revolved around whether to abolish the "long box" format of CD packaging.

At the time, a press release was issued saying the reason for opening the stores in the U.S. was in case "the English economy went down the drain or Margaret Thatcher declared martial law."

The history of Reckless Records starts with a British Psychedelic band called Brainiac 5, for which Charles Taylor was the guitarist. When they broke up, he began his quest to open the best record shops around. In keeping with his old loyalties, however, when Psychedelic band Bevis Frond needed a label in 1988, Reckless Records the (short-lived) music label was born, also featuring music by guitarist Henry Kaiser.

The London Reckless in Soho closed in February 2007, leaving the Chicago branches of Charles Taylor's enterprise as the only remaining locations.

Here's hoping they stay around for another twenty years.

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