Back in the late 1960s and early '70s, the Beat record store was a favorite after-school hangout for many Encino teens.
Now the site of , the Beat was located near the corner of Ventura Boulevard and Genesta Avenue in the Tudor-style shopping center, which looks very much the same today.
I remember riding my new, orange Stingray bike to the store and using bungee cords to attach my album purchases to my bike for the ride home to Morrison Street.
The manager of the store was a cool man named Stan Slabotsky, and he was there most of the time. Clove incense burned in the shop and loud rock music of the day played while you browsed.
Singles, also known as 45s, were only 99 cents at the Beat! And I remember the large, fluorescent sign in the window that read, "All albums $2.98."
I bought some of the best albums of the era at the Beat: Abbey Road by the Beatles; Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out!," a live Rolling Stone LP; American Woman by the Guess Who; and Cosmo's Factory by Creedence Clearwater Revival.
I vividly remember seeing the first Diana Ross Ain't No Mountain High Enough album there and the second Jackson 5 album, ABC. But what was most surreal was when I saw the Jackson family shopping at the Beat when they moved into their Encino digs on Hayvenhurst Avenue in the spring of 1970, shortly after "I Got You Back" was a smash hit for the group.
Within a year or two of the summer of 1970, stores such as Licorice Pizza, the Wherehouse and Encino's own Sunshine Records began pulling business from the Beat. Also, department stores and discount stores offered records at the time for low prices, so it became harder for the Beat to keep up with the times.
Longtime Encino resident Rhonda Rees fondly recalled buying her first Doors album at the Beat.
"It was the one with 'Light My Fire,' and I felt so grown up going to that store, although I was only about 9 at the time," Rees said wistfully. "I loved picking up my KHJ playlists at the counter."
After stopping at the Beat, many would go straight to the Baskin Robbins ice cream shop on Balboa Boulevard and Ventura in Encino's original "mini mall" (which is still there, where the is) and get a scoop of the music-inspired Beatle Nut ice cream.