Lou Styles is a piano, keyboard, and accordion player who was born in Rhode Island in 1928. Lou and his brothers were born into the world of music through their father’s musicianship and teaching. When he was ten years old, Lou began playing in bands and by the age of twelve, he received his first paying gigs, playing weddings and banquets. He continued on working as a professional musician into adulthood, forming his group Lou Styles and the Stylists. With the Stylists, Lou performed all over North America from the 1950s through the 1980s, performing most frequently in Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe, Reno, and Atlantic City.
In 1954, Mr. Styles moved to Pomona, later settling in Claremont in 1970. In 1978, largely retired from playing on the road, Lou opened the Sounds & Music Record and Cassette Store in La Verne with two of his sons, Lou Jr. and Greg. During this time he also free-lanced with many local groups and played solo for engagements and fundraisers.
In 1983, Mr. Styles moved the music store to its current location at Foothill Boulevard and Towne Avenue and renamed it Styles Music. No longer selling records and tapes, Styles Music instead focuses on musical instruments and sound systems.
Mr. Styles says Claremont has always had an earthy vibe and given him the opportunity to meet lots of wonderful people. His hopes for the future of Claremont are to have more live music venues for musicians to showcase their talents.
Photography by Althea Sachs