Accordions popular again in all of USA since 1950.
#61
I have heard it said that the accordion was once the most popular instrument in North America. I'm not convinced this was ever literally true. I think piano may have been taught more. Guitars were cheaper, etc.  It was really, really popular though.

I'm not sure I've seen numbers on the proportion of accordion students. There may have been a time when it was the most popular instrument as far as how many people were taking lessons. The adaptability of the required massive number of teachers may have been an issue when new music came along that wasn't covered in the printed instruction books a lot of teachers were using. If the kid wants to learn the latest Bo Diddley tune and you don't have it annotated in AAA (American Accordionists' Association) sheet music, what do you do? Easier to just hate rock and roll.

From my book (in progress, etc):
As late as 1960 there were still one hundred thousand accordions sold every year in the United States. By 1976 sales were down to thirteen thousand. The following year the industry journal Music USA stopped reporting on accordion sales at all, simply folding them into “miscellaneous other instruments.” There were still a million accordion players in the U.S., but by the mid-1970s they were older, with an average age of thirty. Meanwhile there were ten million guitarists and rising, with a median age of twenty-one.

Department of Commerce statistics had piano accordion imports swinging between 40,000 in 1947, and 132,000 at their peak in 1952, then falling to 57,000 in 1962.

Oh, here we go: Music USA (industry journal, 1966):

"Number of People Playing Each Type of Instrument:
Comparing: 1956 & 1966 (195-something would have been peak-accordion.)

Piano: 19,700,000   .....   23,300,000
Guitar: 2,600,000   .....   10,000,000
Accordion: 1,500,000   .....   1,000,000

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In the 1966 "Music USA" compared available sales numbers over time:
In 1950 (listed as the accordion's best sales year):
172,000 pianos were sold,
220,000 Guitars
123,000 Accordions

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Bruce Triggs
Accordion Noir Radio
Vancouver, BC, Canada
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#62
Everybody should have one. Or two. Or a few. They are delightful to have around.
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