Pardon me if I'm milking these, but here are yet another couple of shots from the afore-praised NYU archives. Presumably from 1983 (the year of the release of Rebel Yell), the top one features a gaggle of Billy Idol fans camped out at the old Tower Records at Broadway and East 4th (which is now some sort of sports mancave thing). The whole notion of kids waiting in lines to get their hands on a new album already seems so ... quaint and antiquated. But, that's what we did. And even though Tower was the mid-80s equivalent of a big box retailer, they did indeed have a grand selection, once upon a time. Their import section, at least, was formidable. The lower shot is from a different in-store appearance, evidently, from 1984.
My favorite anecdote about in-stores at Tower Records can be found in John Strausbaugh's "Rock `Til You Drop," if I recall correctly. Lou Reed was signing records, and Strausbaugh attended with then-Soul Coughing front man M. Doughty. Before joining the line, wise-ass Doughty ran and grabbed a copy of an album by Lou Rawls, and brought that up to be signed, a stunt that even made the notoriously thorny Lou Reed crack up.