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


Georgie Cook spun his banjo magic for over 65 years spanning eight decades beginning in the 1920s. A master of America's only native instrument, Georgie performed as a soloist, Cleveland-Style bandleader, sideman, and teacher. A successful composer, Georgie saw over fifty of his tunes recorded.


In 1926, fascinated with the stylings of banjo great, Eddie Peabody, Georgie worked at a newspaper stand and sold scrap to earn the $50 his family could not afford for a banjo. Unable to finance weekly lessons, Georgie persuaded Peabody to increase the workload between monthly sessions. Georgie played his first professional job, a stage show, in 1928 and became a regular on WHK radio after only one appearance on its weekly variety show.


Georgie served his apprenticeship accompanying polka pioneer Matt Hoyer and Cleveland-Style tavern accordionists Shorty Kalister and Valentine Turk. Georgie was with Frank Yankovic during his heyday from 1946 to 1951, barnstorming the nation and recording the million seller hits, "Just Because" and "Blue Skirt Waltz," for Columbia.


Georgie formed his own orchestra in 1951, the first to incorporate the organ, creating a unique, innovative sound. Enjoying wide popularity, the band recorded with Decca for ten years releasing 45 singles and two LP albums; performed regionally throughout the Midwest, in Pennsylvania and New York; hosted their own television show, "Polka Date', and guested on the "Old Dutch Polka Revue," the Style Crest shows, and "Polka Varieties."


As a soloist, Georgie traveled the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Europe, performing in vaudeville; at night clubs, amusement parks, and festivals; on cruise ships; in dixieland bands; and in ballrooms, sharing the stage with stars such as the INK SPOTS and the FOUR ACES. In 1956, Georgie was a winner on CBS' ''Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts" show.


Georgie enjoyed a prolific career as a featured artist, performing with virtually all of Cleveland's famous orchestras, recording with Kenny Bass, Eddie Habat, Joe Kusar, and other Cleveland-based bands, and with Dennis Tatimor and Walter Ostanek of Canada. Georgie recorded an LP album backed by the Norm Knuth Orchestra on Delta, and was featured prominently on record and in person with Ernie Benedict and the George Staiduhar Orchestra.


Giving generously of himself, Georgie entertained our troops overseas during World War II and has made countless charity and benefit appearances. He has performed with most of Cleveland's button box clubs and became a member of the Holmes Hall Buttonaires. Georgie was honored as "Musician of the Year" by the Collinwood Slovenian Home in 1989.


Georgie's most popular tunes include the "Keystone Polka," "Five Points Polka, " and "Where Did Robinson Crusoe Go with Friday on Saturday Night?''


Inducted in 1991  

National Cleveland Style Polka Hall of Fame


Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient




1909 - 2002  © National Cleveland Style Polka Hall of Fame and Museum, 605 East 222nd Street, Euclid, OH 44123, USA.










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