Wednesday, May 31, 2023


For Sally White, It Was ‘All About the Music’

By James Lomuscio Image
Sally White (in 2007): Westport’s link to the musical past. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Ed Kiersh for

Sally White, a Westport mainstay whose encyclopedia knowledge of music made her the go-to person for vinyl, tapes and CDs for more than five decades, died Dec. 27 at Autumn Lake Healthcare in Norwalk. She was 88 and lived in Redding.

A 1946 graduate of Norwalk High School, she began working at age 14, finally finding a job she loved at Melody House in Norwalk, a music store at the foot of Main and Wall Street that was destroyed by the great flood of 1955.

In 1956, she found work at another Melody House in Westport and became a town fixture ever since. After two years she left Melody to sell 45s and 33s at Klein’s on Main Street, staying there for 20 years and building a following.

In 1985 she opened Sally’s Place at 190 Main St., a haven for music lovers of all genres, celebrities too, including the late Dave Brubeck and Paul Newman, that closed in the summer of 2013.

For almost five decades White was revered as the go-to person with an uncanny knowledge of the music industry.

Customers credited her not only with spot-on information of the esoteric musicians they sought, but the uncanny ability to ferret out the performers’ vinyls, CDs or tapes in a way rare book dealers conduct searches for libraries.

“It’s because I’ve been around for a hundred years,” she once quipped.

Sally’s Place closed at the end of the summer of 2013, she said, because of new technologies for delivering music. Image
Sally White was overcome with emotion in 2009 as she accepted an award at the 16th annual Arts Advisory Committee awards ceremony at Westport Town Hall. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

“It’s the Internet,” she says, welling up

It was in 1985 that she got the disappointing news that Klein’s would discontinue record sales to expand its children’s books section.

“Sally’s a nice girl, but we need the space,” the late Stanley Klein said that year.

Fans rallied around White, seeing her as an anchor in a storm of music chain stores. The result was that she had no problem getting funded by the old Westport Bank & Trust to open up her “Sally’s Place” shop, a sanctuary open to music lovers of all stripes.

While White would not reveal all the celebrities who shopped there over the years, the pictures on the walls tell the story, featuring the likes of the late Paul Newman and Dave Brubeck.

“I knew that man for 40 years,” she says of Brubeck.

“My life has been at this store,” White said. “It’s about this shop, and it’s all been about this music.”

Funeral services were incomplete.

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