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


Johnny Pecon's extraordinary musicianship set a standard of excellence to which virtually all Cleveland-Style Polka artists have aspired. Over 29 years, the Johnny Pecon Orchestra featuring Lou Trebar (an outstanding musician in his own right) was renowned for its quality, sophistication, and class. As the first polka band to venture seriously beyond the realm of polkas, the Pecon Orchestra easily transcended the constraints of instrumentation in executing classical, pop, jazz, and show music with endemic proficiency


Johnny began playing the chromatic accordion at age five and formed his first band as a teen. Johnny recorded on Continental Records in 1942 with Cleveland's Dr. William "Doc" Lausche, an extremely talented composer, arranger, ragtime pianist, and dentist (by trade). After serving in the Navy, Johnny began his association with Lou Trebar in 1946, followed by two years with the Frankie Yankovic Orchestra during which "Just Because" and "Blue Skirt Waltz" were recorded.


Opting for a more family-oriented life, Johnny teamed up with Trebar for good in 1949 and went on to establish an impressive Cleveland-based career. In 1951, while playing as often as 20 times per week, the Pecon-Trebar Orchestra decimated 24 contenders in a Cleveland polka band popularity contest, amassing over one-third of the 40,000 votes cast. John and Lou's famous Janez and Lojze routine, which delighted audiences everywhere, was ultimately responsible for the Button Box revolution that later stormed the Cleveland-Style Polka scene.


Johnny's television credits include his own "Perme Polka Time," "Trimor Furniture," and "TV Auction Party" series as well as guest appearances on the "Old Dutch Polka Revue" and "Polka Varieties. " Ratings for the "Perme" show sometimes rivaled those of "I Love Lucy. The Pecon Orchestra appeared on CBS prime time in 1956 on Arthur Godfrey's "Talent Scouts" show and, winning decisively, guested for an additional week on Godfrey's morning radio and TV shows. The Pecon Orchestra's recording career included five years with Capital Records, ten with Dana Records, and five with Delta International Records.


Johnny Pecon had a unique ability to charge even the simplest tunes with electricity. A musician's musician, Johnny treated every song with the utmost care and respect. It was not unusual for crowds to form around the Pecon bandstand and stare as Johnnv effortlessly played with breathtaking skill and dexterity. All the while, subtleties bordering on genius were lost on all but the most discerning observers.


The essence of Johnny's talent is captured in a compliment once paid by the great jazz saxaphonist, Bud Freeman, to a guitarist while he was improvising an unusually intricate and difficult solo. Bud leaned over and whispered, "That can't be done."


Inducted in 1988



National Cleveland Style Polka Hall of Fame


Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient




1915 - 1975









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