Charley Hallman, who died Thursday at age 71, was many things but he was known mostly as a sportswriter for the St. Paul papers. I knew him as a crazed music fan with eccentric tastes. He loved the Beach Boys above all else. I know because he used to come to me for a regular Beach Boys fix.
Back in the mid-1970s, I started a used-record department at a head-shop on Grand Ave. in St. Paul called Pasha Poi. Hallman, who stopped by the shop almost as often as he made it to area hockey rinks (which was his job), asked me to buy him any Beach Boys album I came across – no matter the condition. He was happy if the album jacket was in collectible shape even if the LP looked like someone had skated on it.
This was 1974-75 before much of the rest of the Twin Cities music community discovered what a fan Hallman was. In 1977, he became a co-founder of Twin/Tone Records, the label that would launch the Suburbs, Curtiss A, the Replacements, Soul Asylum and others. Hallman’s main contributions to Twin/Tone were bankrolling the operation and consulting about press releases and relations. Peter Jesperson and Paul Stark, the other co-founders, did the heavy lifting.
“Loved him dearly,” Jesperson said in a text over the weekend.
It was hard not to love Hallman, a paunchy Vietnam vet with tousled hair, wire-rim glasses and an omni-present cigarette. He had a generous heart and he was a genuine character.
My colleague Pat Reusse has chronicled Charley the Character (upon the occasion of Hallman’s departure from the Pioneer Press in 1997) and the Star Tribune published an obituary for Hallman. But don’t forget Hallman the music lover and the odd but important place he had in Twin Cities music history.