The iconic HMV store at 363 Oxford Street is about to reopen... again.
The music store has been absent from its original site since 2019. But, like ABBA, the Beatles, the Stones and just about every other vintage musical act in 2023, it's about to make a comeback.
The doors are set to reopen on 24 November 2023. As per the olden days, the shop will not only be a place to buy recorded music, but will also return to hosting live gigs and stock "an unparalleled range of music, film, merchandise and technology products". With some swagger, the new/old store describes itself as "the largest entertainment outlet in London".
Most London music fans will have fond memories of record/cassette/CD shopping at the flagship music emporium. Opened with the help of Sir Edward Elgar in July 1921, as 'His Master's Voice', the address became more than just somewhere to buy the latest music: this is where Brian Epstein turned a Beatles demo into a vinyl record in 1962 (which would soon secure them a record contract); where Blur played a rooftop gig in 1995; where the Spice Girls turned on Oxford Street's Christmas lights; and also (we think) where this footage of a nascent Pete Doherty queueing up to buy Oasis' Be Here Now album was shot:
As the music industry began to suffer in the 2010s, HMV moved away from its original site — shuffling to a different Oxford Street location — only to move back there in 2013... then close it down again in 2019. At this point, the address had the ignominy of becoming an American Candy store — a bitter pill for musos to swallow.
Now, HMV is set to reopen at 363 Oxford Street once again. With Canadian owner Doug Putman at the tiller, a lease has been signed to confirm the reopening of its flagship in late November. We can expect a few changes from the HMV of old: there'll be more pop culture merch (think t shirts, games, accessories). There's also a 'new logo', although by the looks of it, the changes are minimal; it still features Nipper the dog curiously poking his head into the horn of a gramophone — and we wouldn't want it any other way.
Harking back to the golden years, there will also be vinyl records (and dare we suggest cassettes too — seeing as they're now making a comeback?). There will also be in-store performances from major acts, looking to plug their latest releases.
On Facebook recently, we asked our readers which London place they'd most like to bring back from the dead, and this HMV store was a popular choice. Whether it lives up to its legendary status of old remains to be seen.