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Demolition reduces Coral Gables music landmark Spec’s to rubble

The Wrecking Crew was a famed Los Angeles collective of studio musicians who backed everyone from Simon & Garfunkel to the Beach Boys in the 1960s, and the Carpenters to the Captain & Tennille in the 1970s.

Spec’s Records & Tapes, a fixture on U.S. 1 for six decades, certainly sold thousands of albums over the years featuring those players. But after closing its doors for good in February, Spec’s met another wrecking crew over the weekend. Demolition finally began on the beloved property last week.

The late Martin “Mike” Spector first opened his store in 1948, when U.S. 1 was a two-lane road. The original store was a few blocks south on the highway in South Miami and is now an Einstein’s bagel spot. The flagship location, now reduced to rubble, opened in 1953 in Coral Gables and was run for decades by the Spector family before it was sold in 1998 to Camelot Music Group, later acquired by Trans World Entertainment Corp.

In its heyday, the chain expanded to some 80 stores in Florida and Puerto Rico and lived through the bobby-sox era, Beatlemania, disco, punk, hip hop/rap, grunge and electronic dance music. But Spec’s ultimately could not compete with format changes that make buying music a mouse-click away.

Chase Bank plans to move onto the property, next door to Swensen’s restaurant, later this year.

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