The historic Ernest Tubb Record Shop, located at 417 Broadway in downtown Nashville, is closing its doors after 71 years.
The store opened by country star in 1947 Ernest Tubb has been in its current location on Broadway since 1951, after moving from its original location on Commerce Street just a few blocks away. After Tubb passed away in 1984, the record store was taken over by longtime employee David McCormick. And in 2020, it was sold to the owners of Robert’s Western World, one of the last true honky tonks on a rapidly growing strip of tourist trap bars.
The record store was also home to the Midnite Jamboree, a radio show launched by Tubb in 1947. The Jamboree would feature artists from the Grand Ole Opry, who could walk across the street to Ernest Tubb’s after their performance at the Ryman.
It’s hosted performances from artists like Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Hank Williams and even Elvis. And in more recent years, the record store has played host to a number of newer artists, names like Eric Church, Garth Brooks and Vince Gill.
this breaks my heart. i really thought the place was gonna last forever.
beyond proud to have made a little history of my own there a few years back. very sad to see a crown jewel of country music go. maybe @countrymusichof can buy the sign or something? https://t.co/kxKEMX62SV
And as Nashville has grown in recent years, with tourists and bachelorette parties flocking to the massive multi-story bars named after country artists that have taken over lower Broadway, the Ernest Tubb Record Shop has been one of the few remaining glimpses into the history of Nashville and country music.
But in a statement released by the store, the owners say that the record shop will close later this spring after both the building and the business have been sold “due to changes in circumstances out of our control.”
“It’s with great sadness that we share the news that the Ernest Tubb Record Shop — building and business — will be sold.
Our goal has always been to protect, promote and preserve the great history of the record shop and building. That desire remains as strong today as ever. However, due to changes in circumstances out of our control, it’s now clear the best way forward is to sell the business and the real estate.
We are heartbroken that the store, which has existed in its current location in the heart of lower Broadway since 1951, will close this Spring. Preserving the history and tradition of country music remains at the forefront of everything we do. We remain committed to preservation work and look forward to new projects that will allow us to continue to protect and nurture the invaluable history and tradition of country music.”
There’s no real way for me to sugarcoat it: This fucking sucks.
It seems like every day Nashville is losing more and more of not only the city’s history, but the history of country music as a whole. Legendary places and landmarks closing up shop and being bulldozed to make way for the new mega-bars and Disney-fied destinations that have come to symbolize the “woo-girl” era of Nashville.
There’s no word yet on what’s going to be replacing it, but one has to assume that it will be some 6-story bar from whichever artist wants to open their own venue next. It’ll be a partnership with some big hospitality corporation, and they’ll have bar food, live music, etc.
And it’ll be pretty much exactly the same as all the others.
Or who knows, maybe we’ll finally be getting a Walker Hayes-themed Applebee’s or Garth Brooks’ long-teased “dive bar.”
But what it won’t have is the history that Ernest Tubb’s Record Shop has brought to downtown Nashville these past 71 years. It won’t have the character, or the connection to Nashville’s legends who made country music what it is today.
And sure, it’ll probably rake in millions and millions of dollars as tourists seek out the next shiny new bar. I mean, property prices in downtown Nashville have been absolutely skyrocketing in recent years, making it inevitable that those tiny pieces of history would eventually be bought out by these mega-developers.
In December 2021, the building next door, which has about triple the square footage of the Ernest Tubb Record Shop and sits on .25 acre, sold for nearly $48M. There's only so much a single-floor specialty retailer can do to keep up when property prices rise that quickly. (3/3)