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 Vadnal is the standard bearer of a Cleveland-Style music tradition that dates back over 50 years. Just as Minnie Marx (mother of the Marx Brothers) was responsible for launching the career of her famous sons, such was the contribution of Anna Vadnal in forming the Vadnal Quartet in 1938. Featuring Johnny on accordion, Tony Vadnal on violin, Frankie Vadnal on banjo, and Valeria Vadnal on piano, the forerunner of the Vadnal Orchestra that would bear Johnny's name as leader for all but a few years during the 1970s was born. And it is still thriving today!

The Johnny Vadnal Orchestra really came into its stride after World War II with a unique, contemporary style that, probably more than any other Cleveland-Style Polka Orchestra, had universal appeal. In its heyday, the Johnny Vadnal Orchestra was a dance and show band teeming with personality. Smiling, singing, swinging, and swaying, Tony and Frankie Vadnal, along with a series of talented sidemen, filled the air with a contagious spirit of fun while Johnny Americanized the polka with jazz licks and the waltz with haunting sentiment.
Johnny's popular weekly television show ran continuously from 1949 through 1961 surpassing by far the longevity of any U.S. polka television show anchored by one orchestra. Likewise, his weekly Bowl Ballroom performances were broadcast over the Mutual Radio Network.

In addition to their impressive broadcast career, the Vadnal Orchestra maintained a long and successful recording relationship with RCA Victor followed by releases on the Imperial and Mlay labels. The "Yes, Dear Waltz," which sold 50,000 copies in its first week, was Vadnal's biggest hit among many others including "Wayside Polka" (his theme), "Two-Timing You," "Slap Happy Polka," "Prairie Polka," "Mountain Climber," "No Beer on Sunday," "Blame It on the Waltz," "Clap Hands Polks," and, more recently, "My Alice Waltz" and "Jazz Time Polka."

With the momentum of fifty years behind him, Johnny Vadnal is now the dean of the Cleveland-Style Polka musicians active in the area. And his award-winning orchestra is the unquestioned band of choice for any organization whose event calls for nostalgia.


Inducted in 1988


National Cleveland Style Polka Hall of Fame


Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient




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