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Great State: Joe’s Campus Music

NORMAN, OKLAHOMA — To find the rhythm of this small shop near the OU campus you have to find the man, and that might not be easy.

“Here’s an interesting room back here,” says Joe Walden as he leads a tour through the back.

Walden is owner and proprietor of Campus Music, which used to be Campus TV and Music, and, before that, Campus TV.

Joe says, “Fortunately, that was 53 years ago.”

“You have everything you need in here,” a visitor notices.

Joe rummages through his refrigerator and mentions, “including cold beer.”

He could even spend the night if Charlie, his shop cat, wanted company.

“Like I’ve said before,” notes Walden of his busy surroundings, “he has to go outside to turn around.”

Follow Walden through his store and you’ll travel through a short circuit history of electronics since 1960.

Stacked throughout are old TV tubes, knobs and nuts, bolts and broken stuff he might still be working on.

“Nothing to do at home,” he says. “All my wives are raised and kids too.”

Joe moved to music when people started throwing away their televisions rather than repair them.

Musicians come in now for small stuff.

A few people come in to get keys made too, or to help keep Charlie occupied.

Walden jokes, “Charlie is the smartest person on Campus Corner after midnight.”

He likes his old grocery store cash register because you can’t erase its memory.

“It’s also bulletproof,” says Joe.

His sales are all rung up in the meat category but that’s okay.

Joe Walden’s business diet may have changed over the years but it still counts as protein to him.

He says his store will stick to the ribs of Campus Corner as long as he does.

“I’m gonna work until the guy above tells me I can’t.”

Campus Music is located at 317 White Street, and has been since 1960.