Rough Trade “began trading in 1976 at 202 Kensington Park Road, Notting Hill.
Originally specialising in US and Jamaican imports, it soon became one of the leading outlets for the burgeoning punk scene, and subsequently a pilgrimage point for anyone buying or selling new DIY new wave music and fanzines.
In 1978, Rough Trade Records was born. The first release was Paris Marquis by Metal Urbain, soon to be followed with releases by Stiff Little Fingers, Swell Maps, The Raincoats, Cabaret Voltaire…
Old SignAfter a period of rapid growth, the shop and label businesses separated 1982. As a result, the shop moved round the corner to 130 Talbot Road and the label went on to sign some band called The Smiths.
In 1988, we opened a second store, together with Slam City Skates, at 16 Neal’s Yard, Covent Garden.
In 2001 we celebrated our 25th Anniversary with a series of gigs and the release of a commemorative CD compilation. The same year, we also received an award from Music Week in recognition of our unique contribution to the British Music Industry (following the likes of Richard Branson).
In 2004 we launched The Album Club, a premium music recommendation service aimed at those people without the time or opportunity to visit a store like ours, therefore in need of honest recommendation of exciting new music.
In 2006 we celebrated our 30th Anniversary, commemorated with the release of The Record Shop – 30 Years of Rough Trade Shops double-album, launched our digital store and updated our mail order website.
And now in 2007 alongside a refurbished Talbot Road store (just the racks, not the historic walls), you see a our biggest project yet, the new 5,000 sq. ft. East End shop just off Brick Lane complete with coffee shop, performance stage, exhibition space, and ‘snug’ internet/workshop corner. It replaces the Neals Yard basement which is being taken over by the Slam City skateshop, although the ceiling signed by scores of visiting bands, starting with Sonic Youth, remains.
A revised and more ambitious Album Club (complete with digital subscription) follows soon…..”