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Description - Don't Stop Believin' by Brian Raftery

This is a scintillating social, cultural and personal history of the worldwide phenomenon of karaoke.In this first extensive history, Brian Raftery explores the liberating and potentially life-transforming effect of karaoke. Taking us back to its roots in the early '70s, he introduces us to such figures as Daisouke Inoue, the Japanese musician who first had the idea of selling pre-recorded backing cassettes, and Sal Ferraro, the globe-hopping LA businessman who opened the first US karaoke bar in 1982.We also hit the competition circuit, encountering unique would-be stars, from a Michigan judge who loves early '80s pop to an Elvis-obsessed medical consultant from Alabama. Speaking with karaoke's many devotees and tracing its presence in clubs nationwide, Raftery takes us on a fascinating journey through both a vibrant subculture and one of the last forms of entertainment to have a truly mass appeal.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780306815836
ISBN-10: 0306815834
Format: Paperback
(210mm x 140mm x 18mm)
Pages: 232
Imprint: Da Capo Press Inc
Publisher: The Perseus Books Group
Publish Date: 5-Feb-2009
Country of Publication: United States

Book Reviews - Don't Stop Believin' by Brian Raftery

US Kirkus Review » Freelance writer Raftery chronicles his obsession with karaoke.Though he frequently sang to himself as a child, the author didn't get his first taste of proper karaoke until 1988, when his family moved to Honolulu. One night, his father belted a drunken version of Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York" in one of the city's many karaoke bars. Raftery may not have witnessed it firsthand, but his mother's recounting left an indelible image in his mind. It wasn't until years later that his obsession was born. "As was the case with so many other ludicrous pursuits I picked up in my twenties - malt liquor, ska, polyester suits - I was finally talked into karaoke by my friend Mike," he writes. Raftery got his start at Village Karaoke in the Bowery neighborhood of New York City, where he and his friends eventually became regulars. In 2000, he and Mike created a short-lived public-access show, Karaoke! Adventure!, which featured drunken puppets singing such classics as H-Town's "Knockin' Da Boots." The author's obsession, delineated in colorful, mostly engaging prose, would eventually lead him to countless karaoke bars in NYC and Japan, where he sought the origins of the phenomenon and endeavored to visit as may karaoke bars as possible. Interspersed with his personal story is a loose-limbed, entertaining history: the invention of the first karaoke machine, the Juke-8, created in 1971 by Daisake Inoue; the story of Sal Ferraro, who, he claims, founded the first karaoke bar in the United States in 1982; the germination of the "Original Punk Rock/Heavy Metal Karaoke Band" at Arlene's Grocery in NYC; and the 1985 founding of Sound Choice, "one of the largest karaoke-track providers in the world." This last chapter is the most intriguing, as Raftery provides insight into the talented studio musicians who spend hours charting and recording pop hits note for note, exactly as heard on the original albums. The book ends with the author's trip to the 2007 Karaoke World Championship in Bangkok.Lively, amusing, irreverent and often scattershot - in other words, perfect bathroom reading material. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - Brian Raftery

Brian Raftery's features, profiles and criticism have appeared in numerous publications, including GQ, Entertainment Weekly, Vanity Fair and the New York Times.