Owner Andy Haddon has been working in record shops for almost twenty-five years, in a career that has taken him across the UK, managing shops for HMV, Fopp and Rise. In 2012, Six months into a yearlong career break, in the back of a camper van somewhere in Western Australia, the idea for Left for Dead was born.
Having spent his life working for other retailers he decided it was time to utilise his knowledge and experience for himself. Over a drink with his wife Jenny they put together the plan for Andy to open a shop.
The name ‘Left for Dead’ came about in the strangest of ways. One of his favourite albums is the 2000 album Heartbreaker by Ryan Adams which was produced by Ethan Johns. The first track on the album starts off with Ryan Adams having a discussion with fellow musician Dave Rawlings about the recordings of Morrissey. The discussion ends with Ryan Adams shouting the phrase ‘Left for Dead’. The phrase struck a chord with Andy who felt it could be applied to the way the music industry had treated record shops.
In an ironic twist in 2016, Andy noticed Ethan Johns was touring the UK and made contact to see if he would be prepared to do an in-store event in the shop. Ethan, a big supporter of independent record shops having done gigs inside many of them, was happy to. It gave Andy the opportunity to tell Ethan in person the anecdote about how the shop was named.
Having originally opened in Birmingham in 2013 he relocated to Shrewsbury in 2015 and he has not looked back since. The shop is situated on a beautiful historic hill called Wyle Cop which features the longest row of independent shops in the UK ensuring plenty of passing footfall. It is worth visiting for this reason alone.
The shop runs a successful loyalty card scheme offering regular cardholders 10% discount and as well as prize draws it offers priority to people wishing to attend the shops many in-stores.
Andy is known as the record retailer of a thousand faces. Check out the shop’s Facebook page and Twitter. Here you will find Andy promoting his latest recommended albums to listen to. The album’s sleeve is held next to Andy’s face that always has a comical expression.
I asked Andy about recent Proper and Essential releases:
2016 has been a fantastic year for new records. One of our favourite releases has been the accomplished debut record from Desert Mountain Tribe, ‘Either That Or The Moon’, recently reissued on limited edition white vinyl. In fact, we liked it so much we’re putting the band on in Shrewsbury; our first venture as gig promoters and we’re chuffed to be bringing a band of the caliber of DMT to the town.
Another great release from the Proper stable is the totally brilliant Space Echo comp on Analog Africa. It’s consistent bestseller, sounds amazing in the shop and is arguably the best compilation released this year.
Music shop geeks have a thing about making lists and at this time of year we start canvassing our customers for their favourite records. Being a small shop this is really useful, and in previous years there have been records that have made it into our year end list as much on the recommendation of our loyal punters as on our own peculiar tastes. The fact we drop submissions into a hat for a prize draw also guarantees healthy feedback.
Two Essential releases that will undoubtedly make the cut this year are Quilt’s ‘Plaza’ on Mexican Summer and Holy Fuck’s ‘Congrats’ on the Innovative Leisure label. Quilt have been a shop favourite for a long time and Holy Fuck are one of those bands that deserve a far larger audience; possibly one of the reasons we play it so often in the shop.