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You Only Rock Once: My Life in Music Hardcover – July 26, 2011

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Running Press (July 26, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0762442158
  • ISBN-13: 978-0762442157
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (102 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #804,646 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Publishers Weekly
“This soulful memoir by a “little cockroach kid from South Philadelphia” offers readers an insider’s view into the golden era of rock and roll and pop music and entertainment.”

Publishers Weekly, 7/15/11
“Writing a narrative that teems with zest and hipness, Blavat invites readers to accompany him on the inside track through the early days of doo wop and R&B to his national stature as an influential figure on the pop scene…This soulful memoir…offers readers an insider’s view into the golden era of rock and roll and pop music and entertainment.”

Philadelphia Daily News
"Trust us, it's a page turner...chock-full of family drama, music, business dirt, celebrity encounters, mob connections an even some juicy sex."

Peter Thornell, Hingham P.L., MA, Library Journal
“Although people always remember the music of their youth, they often forget who introduced them to it. For those who grew up in the Philadelphia area, chances are they heard the hits of the 1960s–70s because of Blavat, "The Geator with the Heator." Disc jockey, television personality, and all around musical entrepreneur, Blavat became a pioneer in the oldies radio format after starting out in the early days of Bandstand in Philadelphia. His experiences as a radio personality, nightclub owner, and friend of the local Mafia make his memoir a treasure trove of anecdotes featuring the likes of Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Frankie Valli, and others. 
Verdict The writing is conversational and engaging if not exceptional…"

Bill Heller,
New York Post
Required Reading….A fascinating look at a fascinating life.”

About the Author

Jerry Blavat was one of the early rock-and-roll deejays who revolutionized the profession and invented the “Oldies” format. He had national success in the ’60s as host of the popular CBS-TV dance show The Discophonic Scene, but is best known as a high-energy oldies deejay on the air and at live events throughout the Middle Atlantic region. With a successful nightclub outside Atlantic City, NJ (Memories); regular radio shows on 88.5 FM WXPN in Philadelphia, 92.1 FM WVLT in South Jersey, and 98.3 FM WTKU in Atlantic City; and scores of sold-out live dance events every year, Blavat is as popular as ever. He lives in Philadelphia, PA. Please visit him at


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Customer Reviews

It reads well and entertains very well.
I thought I knew a lot about his life..after reading this great book I know and admire him so much more..
mary moody
He loves the music and this book helps you share his passion.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
A lot of Philadelphia "traditions" have left the city. Tastykakes, and Goldenberg Peanut Chews are available nearly anywhere in the country now. But, one Philly icon is still here - after 50 years as a disk jockey (though he likes to call himself "an entertainer") - Jerry Blavat, "The Geator with the heater; the boss with the hot sauce". As someone who planned to go into radio in the Philly area in the 1960s, I admired the Geator and his sense of musical tastes. I still listen regularly to him on his weekly show on listener-supported WXPN in Philly, and often see him around town (he lives in the neighborhood). So when I heard he was writing his autobiography, and it was being published this summer, "answering the questions (he's) always asked", I was psyched. Now that I've read the book, I'm glad he wrote it. But this isn't exactly the book I hoped for. Still, it's a "must read" for anyone over 55 who grew up in Philly.

The pacing in the book is a bit odd. As expected, the early chapters deal with his earliest years - growing up in South Philly, the child of an Italian mother and a Jewish father (who was a small time bookie and was rarely around the house). Like other parts of the book, we learn things about the Geator that very few folks know, such as his infatuation with Native American (Indian) culture and his love for classic movies. We learn how he ended up appearing on the original Bandstand TV show (before it went national) and the "back story" on original host Bob Horn's dismissal (and subsequent replacement by Dick Clark). This is fascinating stuff, and the way the Geator relates it, is great. THIS is the material I wanted to hear about! I also wanted to learn how he started his legendary "record hops" at his club, Memories, in Margate, NJ - about 70 minutes from Philly.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By johnny drake on August 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I had greatly anticipated this book since the Geator first mentioned his plans to write one years ago.The beginning of the book was great and I was able to feel I was growing up with him is South Philly. He really does a nice job portraying his family and his neighborhood. Everything about Bandstand and his radio show was very informative . I also was glad to see him finally connect all the dots regarding his experiences with the law and the roadblocks other DJs tried to put up to hurt his career.
That said, my biggest problem was the numerous sexual adventures he goes out of his way to mention giving names , details etc. Seemed to be a lot about ego and it doesnt do him justice . He also seems to hero worship some big celebrities maybe a little too much.Towards the end of the book it seemed to lose my attention since it rambled a little too much about some personal issues.
In summary this is a tell it like it is and no holds barred tale of this mans journey that he makes no apologies for and is rather remarkable considering all the things that were against him as he grew up. It is what it is.If you like South Philly, rock n roll, The Geator, the Rat Pack you wont be disappointed but there is a little too much bedroom conquests for some .
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Diane B. Wilkes VINE VOICE on September 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The audience for this book is, I suspect, rather narrow--but for every member of that audience, YOU ONLY ROCK ONCE: MY LIFE IN MUSIC by Jerry Blavat will be a thrill a minute, much like the Geator himself. I can't imagine anyone who is not a Philadelphian of a certain age enjoying the autobiography, but even though I am not really a Blavat contemporary, I thoroughly enjoyed a trip down his "Memories" lane.

Blavat, known as the Geator with the Heator, the Boss with the Hot Sauce, was on the original American Bandstand, the one hosted by Bob Horn. The teenaged Blavat was a dancer and he also was influential in picking the hits--he had an ear for music. When Horn was unceremoniously dumped by the station so they could put the younger Dick Clark in his place, Blavat organized a protest. (So you know the kind of charming schmoozer Blavat is, Dick Clark wrote a complimentary blurb for the book.)

A wheeler-dealer with boundless energy, Blavat graduated from Bob Horn to other mentors, businessmen in the entertainment field who gave him experience
and valuable advice, which led to his having his first radio show at the age of 21. And when I say "his"--I mean "his"--he owned the show, was responsible for the advertising and costs, and had a remote to offset costs further. Over the years, he made many close friends, many of whom were show business legends (Don Rickles, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr.) and one man who was like family to him: Angelo Bruno, a Philadelphia mob boss. The last relationship drenched the Geator in a lot of hot sauce over the years, as he was investigated heavily because of his relationship with the Brunos.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jaylia3 TOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
For someone who grew up in Philadelphia listening to the Geator on the radio this book is fascinating, but anyone interested in the radio or music scene, especially of the 1950-60's, should find a lot of interest in Jerry Blavat's straight-talking memoir. He's still on the radio and his shows are great, especially his Saturday night show on Philadelphia's WXPN which you can catch on line if you live somewhere else. Blavat considers the Beatles too bubblegum, so the records he chooses to spin have a gritty, rhythmic, soulful quality, and since it's not the music that has been overplayed on traditional Oldies stations it still sounds fantastic.

You Only Rock Once has a lot of behind the scenes Philadelphia politics and celebrity stories, Blavat was friends with a host of the rich, powerful and famous including Frank Rizzo, Walter Annenberg, Sammy Davis, Jr., Frank Sinatra, Dick Clark, and mobster Angelo Bruno. What gave me a bigger thrill though was his offhand mentions of Sally Starr, Gene London and Pixanne who were big stars of local children's TV shows when I was young.
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