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America’s Polka King - Frankie Yankovic

Article - #8 (08, 22, 2007)

 

 

 

 

 

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CLEVELAND SQUARE NAMED FOR POLKA KING.
CLEVELAND, Aug. 22. About three dozen polka musicians braved the rain to see a little patch of Cleveland named for Polka King Frankie Yankovic. Frankie Yankovic Square, a small grassy lot at the intersection of East 152nd Street and Waterloo Road in Collinwood, is not far from where the man who made Cleveland a polka capitol grew up and learned his music. Cecilia Dolgan, president of the National Cleveland-Style Polka Hall of Fame with radio host and Hall of Fame Chairman Tony Petkovsek and Cleveland City Councilman Michael Polensek initiated the process of naming Frank Yankovic Square. Bob Yankovic (Frank's son), accordionist Bob Kravos (Frank's grand-nephew), radio host Tony Petkovsek and Cecilia Dolgan lead a singalong of "Just Because" at the dedication. Bob Kravos, Cecilia Dolgan, Bob Yankovic and Paul Yanchar lead a singalong at the reception at Raddell's Sausage Shop on Yankovic Square. Yankovic was dubbed America's Polka King after he produced the only two polka songs ever to go platinum "Just Because" in 1948 and "Blue Skirt Waltz" in 1949. At his peak, Yankovic was performing on the road in 325 shows a year. Before he died in 1998 at age 83, Yankovic had sold 30 million records and won the first Grammy awarded for a polka album in 1986. "He wasn't the world's greatest musician, but he came across the only way he could," said Dave Wolnik, who is 71 and played drums in Yankovic's band for 36 years. "He had an unusual voice, not like Sinatra, but when he sang, you knew it was him."

 

 

 

 

 

Frankie Yankovic Square

E. 152 Street, Cleveland.

 

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