At this point in my record collecting timeline, we arrive at the period when I first discovered Fantasyland Records. Unlike the other stores that I have covered so far, all of which no longer exist, Fantasyland is still open for business and operating quite successfully.
By the end of 1979, I had managed to complete my collection of Paul McCartney’s L.P. catalog. There were still a few of his 45’s that I had not been able to find in the usual record outlets that I had been frequenting. There were songs on many of these singles that were exclusive and not included on his full-length albums. With mysterious titles like “C Moon,” “Zoo Gang,” “The Mess,” and “Sally G,” I of course, wanted to hear all of them. At that time, the internet, music streaming platforms, as well as compact discs with bonus tracks, were still off in the future. The only way for someone to hear these songs was to track down the 45’s.
One day while visiting Phase II Records in Roswell, I decided to ask the clerk if he knew of a source where I could acquire a copy of Paul McCartney & Wings’ 45 “Junior’s Farm”/”Sally G.” He knew the song and sang out part of the chorus: “take me down to Junior’s farm.” He didn’t have a source to get hold of a copy but told me that I should check out a place called Fantasyland in Buckhead.
After I caught the bus back home, I let my fingers do the walking in the Yellow Pages and I found the listing for Fantasyland which was at 2833 Peachtree Road.
Although I had recently turned sixteen, I was still a few months away from obtaining my driver’s learning permit. For transportation, I either rode along with my father and simply went to wherever he might be going to, or else I rode the marta bus or walked. I figured if I was going to go to Fantasyland, I would have to ride the bus. I knew that the #85 bus which I normally used in my familiar Sandy Springs and Roswell area went further into Atlanta, past Jim Salle’s Record Shop, into the Garden Hills area where Fantasyland Records operated.
Fantasyland was founded by Andy Folio in October of 1976. Before he opened Fantasyland, Andy had previously worked as a printer. He first sold comics at a booth in a flea market. He then opened Fantasyland as a comic book shop with a small selection of records. Andy soon realized that the records were one of the main things that customers were coming in to look for, so he expanded Fantasyland’s music collection. Fantasyland became a record store.
Fantasyland’s original location was in a small strip center that was anchored by the Garden Hills Cinema (also known as Fine Art Cinema). An ironic piece of trivia is that Andy’s new comic shop opened and operated across the street from the childhood home of comic illustrator and cartoonist Jack Davis.
It was sometime in mid-1980 that I finally made the bus journey to Fantasyland. The stretch of Peachtree that the store was located in was a lot less glamorous and gentrified than it is today. It was down the street from the old Curry Honda dealership and situated across the street from the Crestwood Apartments (built in the 1920’s) and next door to the Alhambra Apartments (built in the 1930’s). At this time, those buildings were still a few years away from their upscale renovation and looked abandoned and spooky. Now they are both on the National Register of Historic Buildings.
Upon entering Fantasyland, the glass case (which was also the sales counter) was immediately to the left, and beyond that were all the records. This was my first visit to a record store whose inventory was mostly pre-owned items. I found there was not only records, but tapes, posters, books, magazines, comics, buttons, trading cards and stickers. The only windows were in the front that faced the street, and the old walls were filled with the posters and promo items. Behind the sales counter collectible 45’s with picture sleeves were displayed on the wall.
Of course, I wanted to find the McCartney and Wings 45’s that I had been hunting for my collection and Andy had some in his glass case at the front counter for me to flip through. I was hoping to find at least one of the titles I was looking for, but every Wings single I was looking for was in there. I also discovered that there were different variations of the ones I already owned. On my teen allowance I couldn’t afford to buy all of the ones I wanted in one haul, but I picked out a couple of them, and was excited that I had found a place to go back to for more.
Fantasyland was a different experience than what I had had at other record stores that featured brand new inventory. I saw so many titles that I had not seen before. It was here that I discovered that albums issued in the 1960’s could be found in mono or stereo pressings and some oldies that I was familiar with in their current reissue form, actually had picture sleeves during their original run. It was intriguing to find a record with someone’s initials or name written on it and wonder who they were and what kind of places they may have played that record at.
On my return trips there, I saw for the first time, The Beatles’ “Yesterday and Today” album with its original “butcher” cover (it was a peeled third state) and also John and Yoko’s “Two Virgins” album. I saw the Rolling Stones’ picture sleeve of “Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby Standing In The Shadow” featuring the band dressed as matrons, and I discovered for my first time, underground albums also known as bootlegs.
It was during the fall of 1980 when I purchased my first underground album at Fantasyland. It was “The Very Best of the Beatles’ Rarest Number Four.” It featured unreleased (at that time) tracks such as “What A Shame Mary Jane Had A Pain At The Party” and “Besame Mucho.”
A few years later when I had car, I was able to have the convenience of driving to Fantasyland. At first, I parked at one of the parking meters out front and then discovered there was also parking behind the shopping center or on the side street. Walking from the parking lot to the store, I always felt a little tinge of excitement in wondering what I was going to discover inside the store on that trip. I found that as I went down the rabbit hole of recorded music, the deeper it got.
In January of 1988, the shop relocated to a bigger unit at the end of the same strip center. Now the sales counter was on the right when entering. There was a giant section of $2 dollar records and 8-track tapes in the back of the store. From that section I purchased my first full-length albums by Nilsson, The Troggs, The Yardbirds, and The Dave Clark Five.
In 2010 Fantasyland moved to an even larger location in Buckhead at 360 Pharr Road. It is a much newer building than the one at the old strip center with a slightly more modern atmosphere. The size of the sales floor is greatly expanded. The 45’s, budget records, Jazz and soundtrack albums now have their own rooms, but it still has a very open feeling since the rooms all have large windows facing out into the main sales area. The extra-high ceilings allow for a huge area to be used for poster display. Another feature at the new store is that customers have access to an indoor parking garage with spaces reserved just for music shoppers.
Fantasyland became one of my most reliable sources for hunting out of print albums to build my music collection. Of the stores still standing in Atlanta, I feel confident in saying that they have the largest selection of 45’s in the city.
If you have never visited Fantasyland, then go! You may spend some time and you may spend some cash, you may learn some things, maybe hear some new music and possibly meet some new music people. I did!
FANTASYLAND RECORDS | Atlanta GA | Facebook
Fantasyland Records | Buy & Sell Vinyl, LPs, 45s, CDs, DVDs, Posters, Magazines.
One thought on “Fantasyland Records”
I love the 45 room, it’s like being in heaven. Great selection of posters too.