Accordion Revolution: A People's History of the Accordion in North America from the Industrial Revolution to Rock and Roll by Bruce TriggsAccordion Revolution: A People's History of the Accordion in North America from the Industrial Revolution to Rock and Roll by Bruce Triggs

Accordion Revolution: A People's History of the Accordion in North America from the Industrial…

byBruce Triggs

Paperback | June 28, 2019

Pricing and Purchase Info


Earn 130 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Not available in stores


Before the dawn of rock ’n’ roll, the accordion ranked among North America’s most popular instruments. Arriving in the arms of immigrants, nearly every ethnicity on the continent played the squeezebox: Irish, Scottish, French, German, Eastern European, Latino, Jewish. The instrument packed barn dances, jazz clubs, and recital halls, and was heard in norteño groups on the Mexican frontier; Creole string bands in New Orleans, and Inuit square dances above the Arctic Circle. Portable, cheap, and loud, accordions became the soundtrack for modernity as the music industry exploited them on records, radio, film, and television.

Millions of people played accordions until a disastrous combination of economics, demographics, and electronic instruments nearly erased them from mainstream culture. Emerging from exile with a new generation of followers, this book invites beginner or seasoned accordionists and music fans in general to rediscover a forgotten legion of little-known artists. With an eye for colorful characters and a sharp sense of humor, accordion historian Bruce Triggs uncovers the hidden back-story of the squeezebox in everyone’s closet. Accordion Revolution is about more than an instrument: it’s a living, breathing restoration of the squeezebox to its rightful place at the roots of North America’s popular music.

Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Bruce Triggs hosts the Accordion Noir radio program and co-founded the annual Accordion Noir Festival (now in its eleventh year). He plays a Giuliette chromatic button accordion, built to last in the 1960s.
Title:Accordion Revolution: A People's History of the Accordion in North America from the Industrial…Format:PaperbackProduct dimensions:434 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.97 inShipping dimensions:9 × 6 × 0.97 inPublished:June 28, 2019Publisher:Bruce TriggsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1999067703

ISBN - 13:9781999067700


Table of Contents

Part I: The Dawn of the Accordion Revolution
1: The Accordion Conquers the World
2: The Accordion's Family Tree

Part II: The Golden Age
3: Blackface Minstrelsy
4: Vaudeville Stars and the Dawn of the Golden Age
5: Polka and "Ethnic" Music
6: Jazzing the Accordion
7: The Closing Acts of the Golden Age

Part III: Roots Music, An Outsiders’ Canon
8: Acordeón: Mexican and American Roots
9: Creoles, Cajuns, and Zydeco: French Music in the American South
10: Irish and Scottish Accordion: Immigration, Transition and Tradition
11: Canadian Accordion: Northern Traditions (Squeezebox North)
12: Klezmer: A Restoration with Accordion

Part IV: American Wheeze
13: African Americans Played Accordion Before They Played the Blues
14: Country and Western: Cowboys and Squeezeboxes
15: The Folk Revival: The Accordion Betrayed

Part V: The Accordion Exile in the Age of Rock
16: Rockin' the Accordion
17: The Accordion Exodus

Editorial Reviews

“A rollicking journey that enhances the joy of the instrument I hold in my arms every night!”Jenny Conlee, The Decemberists“Bruce Triggs gives the accordion the scholarship it deserves, demonstrating its overlooked, yet important impact on our music history.”Krist Novoselic, Giants in the Trees, Nirvana“Given the general, pretty much universal level of mockery of the accordion, this a book that I never thought I’d see written. Well done.”James Fearnley, The Pogues“Accordion Revolution is an inspirational guide to the accordion’s deep and shadowy past.”Skyler Fell, Accordion Apocalypse Repair Shop“A worthy redemption for an instrument that has always been far more beautiful and complicated than its reputation might have you believe.”Brooke Binkowski, accordionist and award-winning media fact-checker“I give it five out of five bellows-shakes.”Renée de la Prade, producer, Accordion Babes Pin-Up calendar