Stores Sell Out of Jackson Recordings

By Tom Wilemon

Fans rushed to Memphis music stores and snatched Michael Jackson recordings from the shelves as soon as news broke of his death Thursday, buying out the inventories of Poplar Tunes and Spin Street within a couple of hours.

Managers of the two stores said the last time an artist’s stock sold out so quickly was after the 2005 death of Luther Vandross.

People still hopeful of finding a recording stood outside Poplar Tunes’ Downtown location Friday morning awaiting the store’s opening. Shirley Anderson brought her 11-year-old son, Anthony Porter.

“I like to listen to ‘Thriller,’” he said.

Anderson said she was happy her son embraced the music she grew up with.

“For two or three months, he’s been listening to Michael Jackson,” she said. “That surprised me. I thought all they thought about was rap.”

Another woman, who sat in her air-conditioned vehicle awaiting the store’s opening, would not give her name.

“I’m supposed to be at work, but I’m here,” she explained.

Poplar Tunes had 24 Jackson recordings, but they were all gone by 7:45 p.m. Thursday, said Steve Burge, the store’s manager. Spin Street had around 15 and they were all gone by 6:30 p.m. Thursday, said Dan O’Brien, that store’s manager.

“We reordered when news first came out of (Jackson’s) passing,” O’Brien said.

Burge said his telephone was ringing Friday morning before he could open the Poplar Tunes Downtown location.

Both managers said they wanted to put up some type of tribute to Jackson, but did not know yet what those displays would look like.

“I probably don’t have anything here,” Burge said. “If I had a poster of Michael Jackson, I’m sure somebody would want to buy it.”