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Accordion Revolution: A People's History

Accordion Revolution book cover: light brown skinned woman with long brown hair and a red accordion, modeled after the "Rosie the Riveter" propaganda poster
Cover by Vancouver artist Michelle Clement


A People’s History of the Accordion
From the Industrial Revolution to Rock and Roll

by Bruce Triggs

About the Book:

Accordion Revolution is the squeezebox remix of music history. Discover how the “Beer Barrel Polka” saved the record industry during the Great Depression; the highest paid instrumentalist in show-biz was an accordionist who secretly married sex-symbol Mae West. And a psychedelic accordion band almost played Woodstock.

Fiat Blue Tiger Combo 'Cordion from 1966, with its original Tiger-Print Case!
Among the dozens of illustrations featured in the book (book images are b/w): The fabled Tiger Combo ‘Cordion (1966) with its original tiger-print case! See chapter 17 “The Accordion Exodus” which covers the rise of rock & roll and explores who accordions and their story have been unheard for so long. (Courtesy of Tempo Trend Accordions, Victoria, BC, Canada.

With an eye for colorful characters and a sharp sense of humor, accordion historian Bruce Triggs explores pop music with the squeezebox as tour guide. Musicians by the millions played accordions before the rise of rock and roll. Arriving in the arms of immigrants, they were heard in Mexican border cantinas and Inuit square dances above the Arctic Circle. Black Americans called them “wind jammers” before the rise of blues guitar, and the Accordiana Dance Band was there at the birth of jazz. Later, squeezeboxes saddled-up in hundreds of hit-making country and western bands. 

Always more than foolish stereotypes of bubbles and lederhosen. New generations have picked up the instrument, but with few connections to its back-story. For readers today Accordion Revolution is a living, breathing restoration of the squeezebox to its rightful place at the roots of popular music in North America. 

List Price: $20 US, $25 CAN

Paperback, 6 x 9 in, 430 pgs. 

58 historical illustrations / In English

Publication Date: June 2019

Demian & Sons Publications
Vancouver, BC, Canada

ISBN: 978-1-9990677-0-0
eBook ISBN: 978-1-9990677-1-7

🪗 Buy the Book: from me personally, or many other places 🪗

"Thank You For Joining the Accordion Revolution" text below photo of sisters with accordions
Josephine & Lena Bergamasco of the vaudeville group the Three Vagrants (1920s)

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. January 18, 2012 8:53 pm


    It’s Bill … I showed up this month with the Roland FR-3X. I had a great time. Hope to see you all again soon!!

    I like this site, too, and will look forward to sharing posts via my own website for accordions,

    Bill Fulbright

  2. September 22, 2013 10:05 pm

    Hello! Love the witty humor and factoids. So far everything feels spot-on with what I’ve been feeling, and with what I’ve heard and/or read elsewhere. In full disclosure, I grew up playing piano and guitar and only recently inherited a La Tosca Biviano 98. I managed to find an old catalog advertising its dimensions and features on eBay, otherwise not much to go on. Seems even worse with other less-common brands. The good news is that mine plays just fine. Sure it could use a slight tuning on the bass buttons, but the keys are perfectly level and have good spring action. Barely a scratch on her. I truly hope the “resurgence in North America” takes flight because I’m itching to play her in public … I did break it out for a wedding (bride requested Lois Armstrong’s “La Vie en Rose”) but that hardly counts; I played guitar on every other tune of the 4-hr reception!

  3. Peter Herzberg permalink
    May 25, 2020 6:19 am

    To the author: thank you for writing this book. I enjoyed it. I am playing accordion for 40 years now. I started when I was 32 years old. People thought I was mad. My Idols were/are Clifton Chenier and Flaco Jimenez. I am mainly focussed on conjunto/texmex music. I am living in the Netherlands and a retired psychology-professor. Again: you made a great book. It was taken from my heart.

    • May 25, 2020 9:27 am

      Glad you enjoyed the book Peter. So happy to hear from readers all over the world! You’re not the only Flaco Jimenez fan in Europe. That seems so far away, but it’s amazing how the music travels.

      (Everyone feel free to leave reviews like this wherever you see the book online. That really helps books reach people these days. 😜)

  4. Kathi Collins permalink
    June 27, 2022 3:06 pm

    Check out the Backwoods Accordion Festival, July 16 in Trego, Montana! It’s free!

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