June 28 in Slovenian History: Cleveland-Style Polka King Frankie Yankovic is Born

By , 28 Jun 2018, 18:21 PM Lifestyle
Postcard photo of musician Frankie Yankovic Postcard photo of musician Frankie Yankovic Wikimedia Commons. Public Domain.

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June 28, 2018

In 1915 Frank John “Frankie” Yankovic was born in Davis, West Virginia, USA, to Slovene immigrant parents.

When Frankie was young his father moved to Cleveland, Ohio, to escape the authorities who had learnt of his bootlegging activities, and the rest of the family followed. There Frankie became enthralled with the brass bands which played at Slovenian social gatherings and started playing polka himself.

From the 1930s on, Frankie developed his own style, known as the Cleveland polka, and, more importantly, managed to popularise his polka music across the whole of the USA.

At the peak of his career, in the 1950s and 1960s, Yankovic played over 300 performances a year and sold over 30 million records. In 1986 his “70 years of Hits” was awarded the first ever Grammy in the Best Polka Recording Category.

In 1993 his cover of The Andrews Sisters “Pennsylvanian Polka” ended up on the soundtrack of the classic movie Groundhog Day, starring famed lover of Slovenia, Bill Murray. Do you remember it?

 

 

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