A former record shop owner who strove to meet the musical needs of generations of St Albans teenagers has died at the age of 86.

Mark Greene, owner of the once famous Mark Greene’s Record Room, passed away last month after a short illness.

He began selling records in 1957 from the front room of a house in Victoria Street, a venue that, as the only plausible record shop in the area, found itself at the centre of the burgeoning local music scene.

Mr Greene, however, had always to be careful not to play his treasured records too loudly, in case the elderly occupants of neighbouring rooms began banging on the walls in protest.

In the early 1960s, flushed with success, Mr Greene moved the business to much larger premises in Chequer Street, taking over a three storey unit formerly occupied by the chemists Shields and Warren.

Friend and musician Mac MacLeod, who used to manage the shop, remembered a “really lovely and hardworking man” who had a lasting impact on the town.

He said: “Mark knew his music well and would bend over backwards to get you what you wanted; rooting through catalogues, cross checking and spending far more time than it warranted. He did love his chosen path.

“I still have the coveted vinyl albums by such legends as Big Bill Broonzy, Snooks Eaglin and Lightning Hopkins amongst others.”

Some of the biggest stars of the day, including The Zombies and Donovan, are said to have considered the shop to be the only record store outside of London worth visiting.

In a 1973 interview with industry magazine Music Week, Mr Greene described himself as “the oldest swinger in town.”

He later worked as manager of the band Hurdy Gurdy, in which Mr MacLeod played the bass. A planned assault on the UK charts, however, was derailed by the then all powerful Musicians’ Union, who objected to the inclusion of two Danish band members and made live performances impossible.

Mr MacLeod added: “Along with his brothers Sonny and Sol who ran Cherry’s, his sister Betty who had Betty’s in Victoria Street and Joe, the brother-in-law known to all the young dudes of St Albans as the proprietor of Jefferson’s, the family were responsible for a substantial part of the retail trade in St Albans, when shopping was a much more personal affair.

“Never happier than when he was working, even up to the very end, and always of a cheery disposition with a quick wisecrack, it was always such a pleasure to be in his company. He was a really lovely man who, even though I hadn’t seen so much of him in recent years, I shall miss terribly.”

Mr Greene, who passed away in his sleep on December 15, lived in Brighton.

He is survived by his beloved wife of forty-four years, Wendy, and his son, Paul, who lives in New Zealand. Do you have any memories of Mr Greene? Let us know by commenting below.