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In 1953, the entire world waited for an explosion. The United States and The Soviet Union both possessed a weapon that could blow the planet to bits. But when the explosion finally did come, it wasn't from an Atom Bomb blast-but from the birth of rock and roll music. Seven-Inch Vinyl chronicles the evolution of rock and roll between the years 1953-1969. An interesting arra In 1953, the entire world waited for an explosion. The United States and The Soviet Union both possessed a weapon that could blow the planet to bits. But when the explosion finally did come, it wasn't from an Atom Bomb blast-but from the birth of rock and roll music. Seven-Inch Vinyl chronicles the evolution of rock and roll between the years 1953-1969. An interesting array of fictional characters takes the reader on a remarkable journey from the rural landscapes of Kentucky where Rhythm and Blues is on the rise to the juke joints of Memphis as R&B meets country to create the Rockabilly sound. From there travel north to the bustling metropolitan cities of Cleveland and New York where the vocal harmonies from singing groups seems to occupy every street corner. The British Invasion of performers in the mid-sixties threatens the very life of the American music scene. But bolstered by the founding of Motown, and the emerging folk scene from Greenwich Village to Haight-Ashbury, a rock and roll revival rejuvenates past careers and re-kindles the popularity of its early days. Told against a backdrop of racism, political unrest, war and assassination, the narrative blends actual historic events with music history to demonstrate how rock and roll changed the lives of generations of young men and women to forge the course of the nation and the world.


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In 1953, the entire world waited for an explosion. The United States and The Soviet Union both possessed a weapon that could blow the planet to bits. But when the explosion finally did come, it wasn't from an Atom Bomb blast-but from the birth of rock and roll music. Seven-Inch Vinyl chronicles the evolution of rock and roll between the years 1953-1969. An interesting arra In 1953, the entire world waited for an explosion. The United States and The Soviet Union both possessed a weapon that could blow the planet to bits. But when the explosion finally did come, it wasn't from an Atom Bomb blast-but from the birth of rock and roll music. Seven-Inch Vinyl chronicles the evolution of rock and roll between the years 1953-1969. An interesting array of fictional characters takes the reader on a remarkable journey from the rural landscapes of Kentucky where Rhythm and Blues is on the rise to the juke joints of Memphis as R&B meets country to create the Rockabilly sound. From there travel north to the bustling metropolitan cities of Cleveland and New York where the vocal harmonies from singing groups seems to occupy every street corner. The British Invasion of performers in the mid-sixties threatens the very life of the American music scene. But bolstered by the founding of Motown, and the emerging folk scene from Greenwich Village to Haight-Ashbury, a rock and roll revival rejuvenates past careers and re-kindles the popularity of its early days. Told against a backdrop of racism, political unrest, war and assassination, the narrative blends actual historic events with music history to demonstrate how rock and roll changed the lives of generations of young men and women to forge the course of the nation and the world.

30 review for Seven-Inch Vinyl: A Rock and Roll Novel

  1. 4 out of 5

    Fran

    Seven-Inch Vinyl Author Donald Riggio Reviewed by Fran Lewis Living in the South Bronx and growing up near a record store that carried the top 100 hits is something kids today will never experience. CD’s, DVD’s and IPod’s are the way to go in 2011 but not so long ago we had stereos, our own 45’s and you were able to pick out the ones you wanted and bring them right to your own special jukebox or turntable. Playing these records, inviting your friends over for a party to dance and have some great f Seven-Inch Vinyl Author Donald Riggio Reviewed by Fran Lewis Living in the South Bronx and growing up near a record store that carried the top 100 hits is something kids today will never experience. CD’s, DVD’s and IPod’s are the way to go in 2011 but not so long ago we had stereos, our own 45’s and you were able to pick out the ones you wanted and bring them right to your own special jukebox or turntable. Playing these records, inviting your friends over for a party to dance and have some great fun brought the songs and the artists right into your own home. The greatest things was that good old 45 record never wore out, was right there where you wanted it to be and you never had to play all of the songs on a tape or CD to get to listen and dance to the ones you wanted. Nothing better than taking out those old discs and listening to the artists, looking at the different labels, doo wop sounds, Motown, watching Dick Clark’s American Bandstand and hearing the voices of DJ’s like Cousin Bruce and Alan Freed over the air on the radio to get the fun started. Seven-Inch Vinyl might be fiction but the events in this book definitely bring back a time when the music was truly great, the artists could really sing and growing up was really fun. Joseph Rabinowitz and Danny Cavelli were great friends. Both wound up joining the army for different reasons. Joseph loved music and learning the history of many genres, and Danny fixing cars. Author Donald Riggio describes their army tour, their friendship and their passions. Danny and Joseph both had their own visions of what they wanted for their futures. But, fate steps in and Danny and Joseph are both in a fatal car crash leaving two dead including Danny as the third and Joseph critically injured. As Joseph rebuilds his life he becomes close to Danny’s sister Janet and here is where things begin to change. As he becomes stronger we learn more about his determination to become part of the music industry and start a life with Janet. We also meet Teddy Boyette a young man who finds his way into the music business as one door is slammed in his face another opens. Meeting or trying to get an audition with Artie Franklin proved to be the wrong move or way to go but an accidental encounter at diner with Cap Steward would be the chance of a lifetime. Cap offers him a job and chance to sing and play his guitar that he cannot turn down and one waitress named Dee a different opportunity. As Joseph and Janet get to know each other, Teddy begins his life on the road and his music career. Janet and Joseph made a bold move and Sol and Myra Rabinowitz will now decide how they feel about their relationship. Janet hoping to win them over and Joseph relentless in his hopes for their future. Joseph Rabinowitz was enterprising, smart and knew exactly what he wanted when he walked into Harmony Time Music Store. Playing the piano I have to admit that Harmony was where my teacher bought my music. This book brings back so many great memories. As Joseph meets Leo Klein the owner they form a strong bond, he offers him a job and his entire business soars as they now carry the top 40 hits, 45’s, 78’s, record equipment and a brand new recording studio. As Joseph helps Leo embark on their latest venture, Teddy Boyette comes to mind when he calls his friend Chanty to ask if he would like to record a record in his studio. Meeting Teddy, Chanty’s visit and his agent would forever change their lives. Helping many others get started was Joseph’s goal and the end result is still to come. As their recording studio was built, contracts drawn up and signed and their first record made Billboard Magazine lists Teddy right up there with Fats Domino and Pat Boone. Reading about the how a 45-vinyl record was made, the history behind it and the process really is quite astounding and compelling. The songs that were sung, You Belong to Me and many others of that time period really brought it all back and made this book come alive for those of us that grew up during the 60’s and loved the music of the decade before. But, with everything and in every time period the mob seems to have their hand in things and two friends form a business alliance supposedly selling magazine subscriptions and then become more involved in the music business. How will this affect Joseph and Leo still remains to be seen? How will Janet, his wife feel when he learns he took her poems and turned them into songs? As Teddy becomes more popular and their business booms they move to Manhattan. Added in we learn about Rosa Parks, John Kennedy and the Holocaust, which Joseph’s parents lived through, and will never forget. But, things heat up and do not always go the way you want and successes become too paramount and then the downslide begins. The mob gets into the business and forms Alexis Records. Just as Teddy’s career takes off and he becomes a household word, teens all over are listening to him and he becomes number one on the charts, fate once again sets in, his plane goes down and his life and career ended. More than upset, Joseph, now Joe Rabin, Leo has to find a new singer, deal with the tragedy and create a newer sound with another singer. Four young men who are friends decide to form a group called the Du-Kanes. Practicing in one of the group’s apartments upsets someone and the police ask them to stop practicing so late. But, one officer goes to bat for them, finds them a place to practice and eventually things turn around as Joseph and Leo now have a new group that soars and some that still have not made it. From Elvis Presley, to Buddy Holly, to Pat Boone, Fats Domino and many others the author reminds the reader of the greats from that time period. But, things will change as the times do and the mob sinks its teeth into the business trying to control the singers, their monetary gains, but the record industry too. Hoping to make the DJ’s play their songs, their music and their artists would dramatically change the complexion of the industry. But, when the author writes how these four young men celebrated with an egg cream and malteds it really made me smile and reminded me of on once a month treat of a vanilla malted or chocolate egg cream made just right in the candy store that was directly under our apartment building on Southern Boulevard in the Bronx. Things began to change in the lives of Joseph and Janet as their marriage began to backslide and they drifted apart. He buried himself in his work and she went to England to see the world and the castles. Then the British invasion came along with the Vietnam War, Kennedy’s assassination, the downslide of his business. Losing Janet, several contracts and the Beatles made things difficult not only between Joseph and Leo but others as well. Joseph needed a group that would pull in money, sell records and recoup his loses. Then once again tragedy strikes in an unexpected way when learns of the death of a dear friend and the reason behind it. So many things happened during this time period. Castro comes into power, McCarthy, Kennedy, the Russians and Sputnik and so much more. This was a time period filled with so many changes in the world not only in politic, space but in music too. I remember watching the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show and seeing some of the greatest performers in person on his show when my dad’s friend got us tickets on a Sunday night. This book is filled with so much history, nostalgia and reminders that things really don’t change only the people do. Music is so different today and the groups varied and the sounds definitely not Motown. The characters might be fiction but some of the events are real. From Chubby Checker and the twist, to Bobby Rydell, Bobby Darin and Fabian the music of this time period is timeless and this book brings it all back. But, when the author talks about the Bronx, the many different places he lived and Morris Park and Pelham Parkway, I smile. Because, it is all still here and still beautiful just the people are different. As careers ended and his company was bought out, his life took a different turn and what happens in the world will change not only the complexion of the music industry, government, life for many and Joseph too. How does he revive his business and what brilliant idea does he have? You need to take this outstanding trip back in time when the Du-Kanes reigned, when wearing bobby sox was a definite fashion statement, when Dion and the Belmonts were hot, and the music of the 50’s soared and the emergence of Rock ‘n Roll took over the and performers like Elvis, Dion, Hank Williams, and Jerry Lee Lewis were at the top of the charts. From World War II, to Korea, Vietnam, racial tensions and the first man on the moon, author Donald Riggio brings it all back with a flair that is unique, filled with facts, even a murder, some deceit, treachery and much more before it all comes together in a surprise ending that will bring tears to your eyes and the audience on its feet. There is nothing like listening to the old 45’s and I still have some of mine and wish I could convert them to a CD to listen to the songs that meant something, had meanings and made everyone get up dance my favorite Lindy Hop with my favorite partner my late sister, Marcia. This is one outstanding novel that everyone should read whether you lived through the era or not the music then will always be the music now to me. So, Donald, thanks for the memories, the great story, Joseph Rabinowitz, Leo Klein, the Du-Kanes, Chanty and of course Teddy. This book gets FIVE SEVEN INCH VINYL’s Fran Lewis: Reviewer

  2. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    I made the same mistake as a few others when I purchased this book. I thought it was non fiction, but as it turns out it's not. Seven-Inch Vinyl: A Rock and Roll Novel ( The word "novel" in the title should have been a clue- LOL- I just wasn't paying attention), is a story set in the golden age of rock and roll. We start off in the late 40's in the Korean War era, and follow several stories of people who were in the right place at the right time to make in the early days of rock, and we ride alo I made the same mistake as a few others when I purchased this book. I thought it was non fiction, but as it turns out it's not. Seven-Inch Vinyl: A Rock and Roll Novel ( The word "novel" in the title should have been a clue- LOL- I just wasn't paying attention), is a story set in the golden age of rock and roll. We start off in the late 40's in the Korean War era, and follow several stories of people who were in the right place at the right time to make in the early days of rock, and we ride along as they ride the wave of rockabilly, girl groups, etc. The author combines fact in with the fiction. There were times though when the book reminded me of some true life record labels. (Watch Cadillac Records and you'll see what I mean) There were tragedies mirroring real life tragedies in the fifties of rock stars. People got famous and began to demand more of the spotlight, careers peaked and waned, marriages came and went and so on. The British Invasion signaled the end for most of the characters in the book, but they still carried on their music with reunion shows. The book ends on a happy note that most of us hoped would happen eventually. Not a bad effort. I think if I had been aware of the non fiction status of the book before starting it I would have enjoyed it more, but that wasn't the fault of the author. It was a departure from what I usually read so was nice for a change of pace.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Fred Rayworth

    I’ve had Seven-Inch Vinyl for quite a few years but have been hesitant to read it. Since I know Donald, the author, and know his writing style, I was afraid I might not like it. What a silly notion. Donald has been one of my best friends and a steadfast supporter of my writing at the Henderson Writer’s Group. Our writing philosophies may differ slightly when it comes to point of view, but as I read the pages of this novel, I come to realize that my worries were for naught. While the differences I’ve had Seven-Inch Vinyl for quite a few years but have been hesitant to read it. Since I know Donald, the author, and know his writing style, I was afraid I might not like it. What a silly notion. Donald has been one of my best friends and a steadfast supporter of my writing at the Henderson Writer’s Group. Our writing philosophies may differ slightly when it comes to point of view, but as I read the pages of this novel, I come to realize that my worries were for naught. While the differences were there, the way he handled them were far better than the snippets of the story I first heard when he read them many years ago at our club meetings. Let me explain. We both write third-person, past-tense, but while I write in controlled point of view, where one character controls each scene, he writes omniscient and no character controls any scene. This can lead to head-hopping and a lack of emotional connection with the characters. However, as it turns out, the way he handled things, that was not necessarily the case. I was able to follow along just fine, and though there were mild spots of head-hopping, especially toward the end, it was neither jarring nor particularly annoying. Plus I had an emotional investment in the characters. There are other omniscient writers out there that don’t do near as good a job, and they’re published by the big six! Outside of a few glaring typos, which others critiques have made note of, this was an outstanding and wonderful chronicle of the early days of rock and roll. I found myself lost in the story, almost from the first page. All of my worries went out the window, and I soon had no fear that I would have to either do no review or give a bad one. I loved this book! Donald took me on a fascinating journey from the very early days in the 50’s when the first 78’s gave way to the 45’s and then albums took over. This first book ends in the late 60’s. Along the way, he sprinkles in non-music historical events to add grounding to the story. There’s also the people involved, interesting characters and sub-plots to keep things interesting. Another feature I liked was the short chapters and scenes. This made the brisk narrative move at a fast pace and being a historical fiction piece, it never dragged. The book has a nice intro by Mary Wilson, former Supreme, which she graciously signed for me back in 2011 when she attended one of our writer’s group meetings. That was a nice bonus! I can be confident in saying that though I had minor quibbles with point of view and typos, overall, this was an absorbing and engaging read. Solid four stars. Highly recommended.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jay Fromkin

    Let me start by saying I enjoyed Donald Riggio's "Seven-Inch Vinyl, A Rock and Roll Novel." Though the setting begins about a decade before I discovered rock, and it took place largely in New York rather than my home state of New Jersey, I easily identified with the vibe. Many of the characters were types, but they were types familiar to me. I listened to some of the radio stations and music personalities he mentions. I felt the genuineness of the ethnic neighborhoods that mirrored those I knew Let me start by saying I enjoyed Donald Riggio's "Seven-Inch Vinyl, A Rock and Roll Novel." Though the setting begins about a decade before I discovered rock, and it took place largely in New York rather than my home state of New Jersey, I easily identified with the vibe. Many of the characters were types, but they were types familiar to me. I listened to some of the radio stations and music personalities he mentions. I felt the genuineness of the ethnic neighborhoods that mirrored those I knew in my youth. I enjoyed the literary conceit of inventing characters like Teddy Boyette, whose background, musical growth, and demise echoed both Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly, while including both of these legends within the book; and, apparently, the black girl-group, the Pixies, was an analogue to the Supremes, even while including the Supremes themselves within the groups that occupy Riggio's musical universe. And, I enjoyed the story of Joe Rabinowitz, who saw the future of rock and roll, built his future on the early sounds of doo-wop, R&B, and country, but lost it when he failed to realize the significance of the British invasion of the '60s. But the book has more than its share of problems. Chief among them is sloppy editing and, apparently, an over-reliance on a computer spell checker. Riggio confuses the word "past" and "passed"; commas are used when they should not be, and not used when they should; words are capitalized willy-nilly; and I nearly fell out of my chair when he describes Tom Jones as a "torch singer from the country of Whales." That's Wales, Don. Studies have shown that American students have only modest awareness of their country's history. When I was in high school, we didn't get past World War II. While Riggio's characters are naturally subject to the history and technology of their times (dealing with the Payola scandal; discussing the 1960 presidential election; suffering through the Kennedy assassinations; trying to avoid the draft for Vietnam and dealing with the aftermath of military service), there is too much historical and technical exposition. Was it necessary to talk about the technology, invention, and social implications of the eight-track tape? Do we need the historical backgrounds of the Cuban missile crisis, America's involvement in Vietnam, and the 1968 Chicago riots? These passages, which go on for several pages each, seem like padding. But, it's a nice story, and the characters have the appropriate human strengths and frailties. Some simple fixes could make it a better book and garner another star in the ratings.

  5. 4 out of 5

    P. Christopher Colter

    As a lover of history, rock music, and fiction, Seven Inch Vinyl was right in my wheelhouse. Donald Riggio weaves together the stories of performers and record company execs as they follow their dreams and blaze trails into the heretofore unknown territory that would become rock n'roll. While his characters are fictionalized, they and the situations they face are based on reality. Seven-Inch Vinyl manages to develop the characters just enough for the reader to care for them, while never losing si As a lover of history, rock music, and fiction, Seven Inch Vinyl was right in my wheelhouse. Donald Riggio weaves together the stories of performers and record company execs as they follow their dreams and blaze trails into the heretofore unknown territory that would become rock n'roll. While his characters are fictionalized, they and the situations they face are based on reality. Seven-Inch Vinyl manages to develop the characters just enough for the reader to care for them, while never losing sight of the real star of the novel: the music itself. It opened my eyes to several aspects of the music industry that I had never thought about before, in particular the negative impact the British Invasion of the 60s had on American acts. A great book both entertains you and makes you think. Donald Riggio's Seven Inch-Vinyl succeeds at this on both points. I would give Seven-Inch Vinyl 4.5 stars if I could, but not five. The only fault I found in it was a consistent editing error, misusing "past" and "passed". If it had only been once or twice, I could have overlooked it, but the error persisted throughout the novel. Nonetheless, this was one of my favorite reads in a long time, and I highly recommend it.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Cindy

    A really good read with the history of the late 1940's through the early 1970's as viewed from the lives of fictious people in the early development of music from early radio through the onslaught of tv. How music changed the world and changed the lives of people. From the Korean War, to the Viet Nam Conflict... Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson & Nixon. Segregation, integration & civil rights. Beatniks, hippies, flower power. Tune in, turn on, dropout...psychedelic trips with college professors. The A really good read with the history of the late 1940's through the early 1970's as viewed from the lives of fictious people in the early development of music from early radio through the onslaught of tv. How music changed the world and changed the lives of people. From the Korean War, to the Viet Nam Conflict... Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson & Nixon. Segregation, integration & civil rights. Beatniks, hippies, flower power. Tune in, turn on, dropout...psychedelic trips with college professors. The cold war...the space program. It's all here in a way that those of us who lived through it remember it and those who didn't can see what it really was. The story of music as it changed through the progression of world history

  7. 5 out of 5

    T.

    I am not particularly interested in music or the history of music, I picked up this book after starting a conversation with the author, so I thought I'd look the book up on Amazon. After reading the "Closer Look" to check out the first chapters, I found myself engaged by the writing style and the opening of the book, so I bought it (which is outside my normal preference of paranormal/urban fantasy genre). This is a book that I read in between others, enjoying each sitting and becoming invested i I am not particularly interested in music or the history of music, I picked up this book after starting a conversation with the author, so I thought I'd look the book up on Amazon. After reading the "Closer Look" to check out the first chapters, I found myself engaged by the writing style and the opening of the book, so I bought it (which is outside my normal preference of paranormal/urban fantasy genre). This is a book that I read in between others, enjoying each sitting and becoming invested in the writer's characterizations. This was a very well written story. Great character development, and a wonderful build up of the story.

  8. 4 out of 5

    GIZMO

    I really enjoyed the first 2/3 of this book...it truly captured the flavor of these years as I remember them...in my mind's ear I could hear each of the featured artists and their distinctive contributions to rock & roll sadly the final third disappointed...random bits of history and an abrupt ending left me feeling unfulfilled I really enjoyed the first 2/3 of this book...it truly captured the flavor of these years as I remember them...in my mind's ear I could hear each of the featured artists and their distinctive contributions to rock & roll sadly the final third disappointed...random bits of history and an abrupt ending left me feeling unfulfilled

  9. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    The story was ok with quite a bit of interesting information for someone like myself who lived during the years covered in the book. I found myself wishing that the main characters real names were used instead of fictional names, if they were actual people.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Donald Riggio

    I want to thank Fran for this wonderful review of my novel. It means a lot to know I've touched people with my work. Donald Riggio I want to thank Fran for this wonderful review of my novel. It means a lot to know I've touched people with my work. Donald Riggio

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ingrid Holm-Garibay

    This is a book I am looking forward to enjoy, as a Rock and Roll fan. A review will come as soon as I'm done reading it. This is a book I am looking forward to enjoy, as a Rock and Roll fan. A review will come as soon as I'm done reading it.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Adam Gott

    I got this one as a Kindle freebie so I didn't investigate it enough to learn that it was fiction. I was hoping for more of a non-fiction story but I am enjoying it so far (barely!). I got this one as a Kindle freebie so I didn't investigate it enough to learn that it was fiction. I was hoping for more of a non-fiction story but I am enjoying it so far (barely!).

  13. 5 out of 5

    Rune

    Very good! Great characterbuilding, interesting read to learn of the record business in the 50s through the lives of regular people who "was part of it" Very good! Great characterbuilding, interesting read to learn of the record business in the 50s through the lives of regular people who "was part of it"

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kathi

    loved the book.... small insight on the record business. Character had some similarities to Elvis. Very fast, fun read

  15. 5 out of 5

    Trish Bodine

    Excellent novel. Enough fact mixed with fiction for me to visit the days of early rock and roll with all the global and national unrest and growth.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Alisa T

  17. 4 out of 5

    Woody Karchner

  18. 5 out of 5

    Cathy Sanfilippo flynn

  19. 4 out of 5

    Gail Leone

  20. 4 out of 5

    Laura

  21. 5 out of 5

    Dave Whitaker

  22. 5 out of 5

    Autumn Duncan

  23. 5 out of 5

    Aurora

  24. 5 out of 5

    Andi

  25. 4 out of 5

    Martha

  26. 5 out of 5

    Meredith Kleeger Oppenheim

  27. 4 out of 5

    Melanie Blocher

  28. 4 out of 5

    shaun oneil

  29. 5 out of 5

    J. Michael

  30. 4 out of 5

    John

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