The Rock ‘n’ Roll Museum closed its doors at 8 p.m. for the last time on Jan 18, after 16 years of business in Harajuku. The museum comprised the Get Back Beatles store, the Love Me Tender Elvis Presley store, and the Gimme Shelter Rolling Stones store.
All three were run by Japan Allround Music Inc, which began operations with their official Beatles goods store in Takadanobaba in 1982. They opened Love Me Tender and Gimme Shelter in 1985 and 1986 respectively, and relocated the three shops to Harajuku in 1993.
A spokesman for Japan Allround Music cited increases in rent and other factors as reasons for the decision to close down, but said they will continue to sell goods on their home page and at special events.
Around 300 people gathered to watch the closing ceremony, which included the covering-over of the famous statue of Elvis Presley outside the store, as “Love Me Tender” played in the background. The statue was partly paid for by contributions from former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. Some of those in attendance called for Koizumi to help revive the store once he retires from politics, and others could not help but cry as a sheet was draped over the statue.
Japan Allround Music said they would let people know where the statue would be re-located to as soon as possible, via their website.
One Beatles fan who frequented the store as often as once a week, said: “There are lots of record shops around, but this store in Harajuku was the only one of its kind. They used to hold items for me, and I valued the chats I used to have with staff and other customers. You can’t check merchandise physically over the Internet, and you don’t talk to other customers, so it’s all a bit sad. Even if it takes time, I want them to re-open.”© Japan Today