National Cleveland Style Polka Hall of Fame and Museum
605 East 222nd Street Euclid, OH 44123
Toll Free: 1-800-66POLKA
Frank Yankovic, "America's Polka King," is personally responsible for catapulting
Slovenian Cleveland-Style Polkas from an obscure ethnic artform into national prominence
as a mainstay of American muscial culture.
Beginning his professional music career nearly sixty years ago, Frank began promoting
Cleveland-Style Polkas nationally after World War II and, in the process of dedicating
his life to this endeavor, has literally been "on the road" ever since.
Of course, Frank's greatest triumphs were his 2 million-seller hits, "Just Because"
in 1948 followed shortly by the even-bigger "Blue Skirt Waltz." At that time, gold
records were a rarity for any artist, let alone a purveyor of polkas. In recognition
of the long and successful career that ensued, Frank received the first Grammy Award
in the polka category in 1986.
In a lifetime of barnstorming and whistle-stops, Frank has appeared in major ballrooms
throughout the United States performing side-by-side with the likes of Duke Ellington,
Spike Jones, and Bob Hope. His travels have taken him from regular engagements on
the West Coast/Nevada Circuit including Las Vegas, Reno, and Lake Tahoe, to remote
auditoriums in the far reaches of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania.
Frank's prolific recording career began on his own "Yankee" label before his rise
to prominence. Later, in 1946, Frank signed with Columbia Records to commence what
would turn out to be a twenty-seven year relationship followed by contracts with
RCA and Polygram Records. Likewise, Frank has established a proud record of promoting
Cleveland-Style Polkas on national television appearing with David Frost, Fay Emerson,
Patti Page, Kate Smith, Arthur Godfrey, Jackie Gleason, Doris Day, Phil Donahue,
Johnny Carson, and Lawrence Welk.
Frank's very successful approach has been to make everyone comfortable with Cleveland-Style
music by translating the original Slovenian lyrics to English and applying the traditional
Anglo-European polka beat while retaining the beautiful Slovenian melodies as a base.
In deference to his Slovenian heritage and constituency, however, Frank always performs
at least one polka in his native tongue. Over the years, the result has been to share
our beautiful ethnic heritage with literally millions of happy folks who might otherwise
have never had the opportunity.
In Frank's own words, "Polkas make you forget your troubles.. . it's the happiest
music this side of heaven." What else needs to be said?