A Swan Song For Spec's Music Stores

Feb 1, 2013

In 1973, future Miami Herald music critic Howard Cohen burst into the Spec's Music store on South Dixie Highway in Coral Gables with of all the energy of a 10-year-old about to begin a 40-year habit.

Herald Music Critic Howard Cohen Still Keeps His Eye On Helen Reddy.
Credit Howard Cohen
That's because he was.  

He and his mother had piled into their 1971 yellow Ford Pinto for the express purpose of taking home Helen Reddy.  At least in the form of her hit single, "Leave Me Alone (Ruby Red Dress)." 


That was the type of store Spec's was back when music was a destination, not a download.  Going to the record store was as much about the experience as it was the artists: flipping through the racks and stacks of 45s and albums and pouring over the liner notes to learn the lyrics before your best friend beat you to it.    

Spec's managed to morph with the times from its inception in 1948, from vinyl into eight-track tapes, then to cassettes, and finally CDs.  It became a successful chain with a store in Puerto Rico and a South Florida start.  

But when the music started to come to the masses, the masses quit going to stores to buy their music.  

Digital Killed The Radio Star.  

At the end of January, the supreme and final Spec's location closed for good and, in the end, even the fixtures were for sale. 

 The memories are not.