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Frankie Yankovic


America’s undisputed Polka Ruler, Frankie Yankovic did more to popularize polka music than some other solitary performer, and remains to be the yardstick where all the polka performers are measured. Yankovic was the 1st polka designer to rating a million-selling solitary (1948’s “BECAUSE”), the first ever to perform on tv, and the first ever to earn a Grammy for Greatest Polka Album once the category was made in 1985. Performing mostly in British, Yankovic modernized the folk-dance music of Central and Eastern European countries for American viewers, providing it an charm that prolonged beyond the immigrant areas who held it alive. His make of polka got a bouncier defeat compared to the traditional, brass-heavy “oom-pah” design, partially because he preferred lighter, leaner preparations that frequently included banjo, electrical body organ, and two accordions. Where most accordion players continued to be sitting on-stage, burdened by way of a heavy and relatively cumbersome device, the enthusiastic Yankovic played all night on end taking a stand and jumping along towards the music. His cheerful stage existence was an ideal match for the genial informality and liveliness of polka music, and viewers connected easily with him. Yankovic’s best-known tracks are standards from the genre, and his name continues to be more connected with polka than some other musician. No, he isn’t linked to Strange Al. Yankovic was created July 28, 1915, in the tiny logging arrangement of Davis, WV, house to many latest Slovenian immigrants (included in this his parents). When regional authorities found that Yankovic’s dad was bootlegging liquor, the family members abruptly relocated to Cleveland. Mr. Yankovic worked well like a crane operator and later on opened a equipment store, in addition to owning a boarding home for fellow Slovenians. One of is own boarders was an accordion participant named Maximum Zelodec, who significantly impressed youthful Frankie. At age group nine, he started acquiring lessons from Zelodec around the switch accordion, and turned to the more difficult piano accordion at 16. He quickly formed his personal polka music group, and in 1932 began making regular looks on an area Slovenian radio display, which greatly elevated his profile in the region. In 1938, having been declined by both Columbia and RCA, Yankovic released a 78 rpm record by himself Yankee label, billed towards the Slovene Folk Orchestra (in the event it flopped). It had been a local strike, nevertheless, prompting another self-released and self-distributed follow-up in 1939. Yankovic’s group is at high demand around Ohio, Pa, and Michigan, playing at night clubs, weddings, as well as other cultural occasions. In 1941, he opened up his own club, which allowed his music group to try out near house and spend additional time with their households; in addition, it became a haven for region polka music artists. Yankovic enlisted in 1943, and lower some information while on keep, ahead of his departure for European countries. He fought within the Battle from the Bulge, in which a serious case of frostbite almost led to the amputation of his hands and foot; fortunately, he could defeat the gangrene before that became required, and was honored a Purple Center. Upon arriving house, he came back to his club and his music group; Johnny Pecon became a significant person in the group, performing tranquility with Yankovic and playing tranquility accordion aswell. Columbia reconsidered its previously rejection and agreed upon Yankovic to some agreement in 1946. In 1948, he was initially crowned America’s Polka Ruler at a competition in Milwaukee. That 12 months, he scored a significant national strike with “BECAUSE,” a gold-selling cover of a comparatively obscure country track recorded within the mid-’30s from the Shelton Brothers. The follow-up, “Blue Skirt Waltz,” was another big vendor in 1949, modified from a Bohemian folk melody with British lyrics by Mitchell Parish. Yankovic brought his music group to Hollywood in the first ’50s, where they documented with Doris Day time and made many short movies for Common showcasing their stage take action. Yankovic continuing to record for Columbia with the ’50s & most from the ’60s, waxing lots of the genre’s best-known tunes: “Ale Barrel Polka,” “Who Stole the Keeshka?,” “As well Body fat Polka,” “Hoop De Doo,” “Champagne Flavor along with a Beverage Bankroll,” “In Heaven THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO Beverage,” and many more. His music group, the Yanks, became a revolving-door affair, as lifestyle on the highway — vacationing by car to as much as 300 gigs per year — generally wore down the music artists over time, not forgetting keeping them from their own families. During his heyday, Yankovic gained a battle from the rings against Duke Ellington in Milwaukee, and hosted polka range shows that shown in Cleveland, Chicago, and Buffalo through the early ’60s. He struck precious metal in 1962 when he employed 13-year-old Chicago accordion prodigy Joey Miskulin, who quickly became a cornerstone from the music group; Miskulin afterwards relocated into songwriting, organizing, and producing to them aswell, and continued to be with Yankovic for the others of his profession. After 2 decades with Columbia, Yankovic relocated to RCA in 1968, and later on continued to record for any succession of smaller sized labels. He released his autobiography in 1977, and his 1985 recording 70 Many years of Strikes received the first-ever Grammy within the polka category; he was also the very first artist inducted in to the Polka Music Hall of Popularity. Reluctantly pressured by his age group to sit back when he performed, Yankovic announced his pension in 1994, but backtracked and held carrying out for three even more years, including a tour with acclaimed polka newcomer Walter Ostanek. He also continuing to record for the Cleveland International label, which in 1996 released the well-publicized record Songs from the Polka Ruler, Vol. 1. It highlighted several particular guests, from Strange Al Yankovic and Cleveland comedian Drew Carey to nation stalwarts Chet Atkins, Cowboy Jack port Clement, and Riders in the Sky, on a couple of Yankovic criteria. 1997’s Vol. 2 follow-up highlighted Clement, David Allan Coe, and Don Everly, amongst others; both amounts had been nominated for Grammys. However, Yankovic’s wellness was declining, and in 1998 he experienced a fall at his house in New Interface Richey, FL, near Tampa; many days afterwards, on Oct 14, he passed on.

Quick Facts

Full Name Frankie Yankovic
Died October 14, 1998, New Port Richey, Florida, United States
Profession Musician
Nationality American
Awards Grammy Award for Best Polka Album
Music Songs Blue Skirt Waltz, Too Fat Polka, Pennsylvania Polka, Who Stole the Keeshka?, Just Because Polka, I've Got a Wife At Home, Bar Room Polka, In Heaven There Is No Beer, Hoop-Dee-Doo, Milwaukee Polka, Ei Ei Ei O Polka, Tic Toc Polka, Charlie Was a Boxer, Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie, Cafe Polka, Julida Polka, My Favorite Polka, Baby Doll Polka, Yankovic's Polka, Hokey Pokey Polka, Liechtensteiner Polka, Jolly Fellows Polka, Happy Hour Waltz, The Beer Barrel Polka, Three Yanks, You Are My One True Love, Happy Wanderer, Town Tap Polka, Secretary Polka, Carol Ann Polka, Mary Jo Waltz, Baskovic Polka
Albums And His Yanks, Polka King, Songs of the Polka King, Volume 1, King of Polka, Plays Polka Hits, Live in Nashville, Hits I Almost Missed, Button Box Favorites, Poland - 20 Great Polkas, Plays the Hits, Plays Everyones Favorites, More Polka's & Waltzes, The Early Years, Christmas Memories, Frankie Yankovic's TV Polkas, Greatest Polkas and Waltzes, Volume One, I Stopped for a Beer, Songs of Polka King 2, Toe Tappin' Happy Polkas, Greatest Polka Hits, Polka Party, Plays In Person The All Time Great Polkas, 70 Years of Hits, America's Favorites, The Best of Frankie Yankovic, Frankie Yankovic with the Great Johnny Pecon, Greatest Hits, Volume 2, Greatest Hits, Volume 1, Frankie Yankovic And His Yanks' Greatest Hits, Greatest Hits, Greatest Polkas and Waltzes, Volume 2, Dance, Dance, Dance, Polka Polka (Mono Version), The Two of Us, Christmas Party, Chicken Dance!: The Original Party Music Classic by Polka King Frankie Yankovic

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1 Grandfather of Buck Smodic.
2 He served in World War II and fought in the Battle of the Bulge. After the war, he recorded a country song, "Just Because", in polka style, and sold a million copies. He invited other, more skilled accordionists to join his band, "Frankie Yankovic and the Yanks". In 1948, the Yanks played for an audience of 8,000 people in Milwaukee, and Frankie became known as America's Polka King.
3 His family moved to Cleveland, Ohio, when he was 5 years old. His family ran a boarding house, and Slovenian boarders taught Frankie how to play the accordion. When he was a teenager, he played at dances for five dollars a night.
4 By the 1990s, polka music had plummeted in popularity, yet Yankovic was still playing up to 200 shows a year. He was very charismatic, and his personality connected well with his audiences.
5 Yankovic took his band on the road, playing a relentless schedule, as many as 325 nights annually. The constant touring and hectic lifestyle led many band members to quit.
6 Even though they aren't related, he and 'Weird Al' Yankovic were close friends. Both were known for playing the accordion.



Jerry Gray and the Band of Today 1950 Short performer: "Acapulco Polka"
Atop the Fourth Wall 2014-2015 TV Series 2 episodes
Six Feet Under 2005 TV Series 1 episode
Happy Accidents 2000 performer: "I Wanna Call You Sweetheart" - as Frank Yankovic
Grumpy Old Men 1993 writer: "Cafe Polka"
Super Mario Bros. 1993 performer: "SOMEWHERE MY LOVE"
Groundhog Day 1993 performer: "Pennsylvania Polka"
Men Don't Leave 1990 writer: "CAFE POLKA" - as Frank Yankovic



The David Frost Show 1969 TV Series Himself
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson 1964 TV Series Himself - Guest
The Big Record 1957 TV Series Himself
The Kate Smith Evening Hour 1951 TV Series Himself
Wonderful Town, U.S.A. 1951 TV Series Himself
Jerry Gray and the Band of Today 1950 Short Himself (as Frank Yankovic and His Yanks)

Archive Footage

Archive Footage

Frank Yankovic: America's Polka King 2010 Video documentary Himself

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