National Cleveland Style Polka Hall of Fame and Museum

605 East 222nd Street
Euclid, OH 44123




Phone: 216-261-3263

Toll Free: 1-800-66POLKA

Fax: 216-261-4134


Frankie Spetich staked out the Magic City of Barberton, Ohio, as the province over which he would shine as a beacon of Cleveland-Style Polkas. Over sixty years, "Barberton's Polka King" assumed the roles of musician, bandleader, songwriter, radio personality, teacher, and promoter of the Slovenian culture he nearly shunned as a young child assimilating American society.


Mastering clarinet and trumpet and singing with the Slovenian Godba group as a youth, Frank started his first polka band in 1941. Returning from the service in 1946 seasoned by a big band regimen, Frank formed the Melody Makers with brother John and Frank Zupec, his drummer until his passing in 1991. The band became the Frankie Spetich Orchestra in 1949 when Frank became its accordionist.


Beginning in 1953, Frank cut twenty-two singles and sixteen albums on the Q-Cue, Spotlight, and Peppermint labels, incorporating the "Ding Dong Polka," "Pony Tail Polka," and over 35 additional Spetich compositions. Apart from his own groups, Frank cut with Ted Zalac, Al Barker, and Walter Ostanek.


The Spetich Orchestra appeared regularly throughout the Midwest and Pennsylvania with a heavy dose of bookings at Cleveland's polka hotspots during the 1960's. Later excursions took Frank to Europe five times, California, Arizona and the Caribbean. The band was a frequent guest on Johnny Vadnal's "Polka Parade," and appeared on the "Polka Varieties" and "Stylecrest" TV shows.


Barberton's premiere Cleveland-Style Polka promoter, Frank sold out jam sessions featuring Cleveland's top orchestras from 1957 through 1982 at Barbeton's Slovene Ballroom where he served as President from 1989 to 1991 and manager from 1969 to 1982. As important, Frank made music visits to old age homes and many other charitable appearances.


Frank began his broadcast career in 1953 with a live band show on WCUE in Akron and continued with his "Slovenian Melodies" program on stations WUAP, WZIP, and WAPS in Akron beginning in 1982.


Frank's impact has been multiplied many times over through the students he has tutored on accordion, button box, trumpet, trombone, saxophone, clarinet, flute, guitar and bass since 1949. A music teacher at St. John's Grade School in Akron, St. Mary's Grade School in Wooster, and Akron St. Vincent School, Frank opened his Magic City Music Store in 1957 where he took on as many as 100 students at a time.


Cultivating the fruits of his labor and utilizing his considerable talents as a button box artist, Frank founded and led the Magic City Button Box Showcase. Frank also developed an innovative tutorial for button box published by Keyboard Cue Corporation in 1997.


Among his many awards, Frank was honored for his fifty years of musical service by the Medina Area Chamber of Commerce in 1987 at the 10th Annual Medina Oktoberfest.


Inducted in 1999  

National Cleveland Style Polka Hall of Fame


Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient




1924 - 2012  © National Cleveland Style Polka Hall of Fame and Museum, 605 East 222nd Street, Euclid, OH 44123, USA.










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