National Cleveland Style Polka Hall of Fame and Museum
605 East 222nd Street Euclid, OH 44123
Toll Free: 1-800-66POLKA
A self-taught accordionist, pianist and organist, Chuck Smith teamed up with musician
Jim Kozel in the 1940s to lead a popular Cleveland-Style band with its own weekly
radio shows. Chuck joined Ernie Benedict’s Polkateers in 1953, and made significant
contributions in the recording studio, on radio and television and in live performances.
Throughout Cleveland’s competitive heyday, Chuck also led his own orchestra, jobbed
with the town’s biggest names and worked as a soloist. In the prime of his career,
Chuck died on the bandstand on New Year’s Eve, 1963. He was a gifted composer, counting
among his musical creations, "Walking Hand in Hand," "Disc Jockey Polka," "One for
the Road," "Red Barn Polka," "So Long, Darling," "Marlene Waltz," "Beautiful Eyes,"
and the pop favorite, "It’s You." Chuck died on the bandstand on New Year's Eve 1963.