Music » Music Features

Rest in Peace Jerry Gibson of River Records



Last Thursday afternoon someone entered River Records and fatally shot longtime proprietor Jerry Gibson during what police suspect to be a robbery. Police were called to the store around 5 p.m. and found Gibson unresponsive and bleeding just inside the front doorway. They have no suspects as of this writing but are canvassing the area and reviewing nearby security/CCTV footage for any evidence.

Jerry's brother, Lowell, is the founder of Gibson's Donuts but also spent many years managing the store's comic book inventory, while Jerry handled the mountains of vinyl on hand. Local musicians Jeffrey Evans and Greg Cartwright of the Oblivians and Reigning Sound both logged several years as employees of River Records.

  • Jameson Sweiger
  • Jerry Gibson

River Records' veritable maze of bins (under and atop tables) and shelves and leaning towers of records attracted vinyl hounds from around the world. Many of us in town harbor great memories of blocking out an afternoon to engage in said activity while simultaneously enjoying some conversations with Gibson, who regularly spun (true) tales of A-list celebrities and famous musicians who'd shopped at the store. Jameson Sweiger, a local DJ and store regular, remembers his relationship with Gibson as a close one.

"When I first moved here, I was a daily customer, just coming in every day. When I left Memphis, he would send me letters around the holidays, and he even sent my mom a letter once with $20 in it," Sweiger said.

"A lot of people might not have that charming view towards him, but once you got to know him, you'd see that he was a very happy and positive person. He always talked highly of his regulars when they weren't there. It was the first place I stopped whenever I came in town."

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