Known as "America's Polka King," Yankovic was considered the premier artist to play in the Slovenian style during his long career. He is not related to fellow accordionist "Weird Al" Yankovicalthough the two have collaborated.
In he was awarded the first ever Grammy in the Best Polka Recording category. Yankovic's father, a blacksmith, and his mother, a cook, met in a lumber camp in West Virginia where they both worked. When Yankovic was young, his father moved to Cleveland to escape authorities who learned of his bootleggingand the rest of the family followed shortly thereafter. While living in Cleveland, he became enthralled by the brass bands that played at Slovenian social functions.
His mother took on boarders to help with the family finances, including a man named Max Zelodec who performed Big City - The Astronauts - The Astronauts tunes on a button box. Yankovic acquired an accordion at age 9, and received a few lessons from Zelodec. By the late s, in his early teenage years, he was a working musician, playing for community events.
As his reputation spread, he sought opportunities to make records, but the major labels turned him down. His first records were made for the Yankee and Joliet labels operated by Fred Wolf,  and the expenses were paid for by Yankovic himself. Inhe married his first wife June, and they began to raise a family. However, the expenses of family life quickly overcame the incoming money from his music career, so he opened a tavern, calling it the Yankovic Bar. It became a popular hangout for local musicians, and he continued to run it until he sold it indedicating himself to the accordion.
Yankovic enlisted in Waukegan Polka - Frankie Yankovic And His Yanks - Dancing With Frankie Yankovic armed forces inand cut numerous records while on leave, prior to his departure for Europe. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge where a severe case of frostbite nearly required the amputation of his hands and feet. Fortunately, he was able to beat the resulting gangrene before that became necessary, and was awarded a Purple Heart.
The doctors urged him to have Whisper In A Crowd - Golden Earring - Paradise In Distress fingers amputated, but he refused, as that would have ended his music career.
After getting out of the hospital, he and four other musicians were assigned to special services to entertain the troops, including General George Patton and his Third United States Army. Yankovic hit the national scene when he Waukegan Polka - Frankie Yankovic And His Yanks - Dancing With Frankie Yankovic two platinum singles for " Just Because " and " Blue Skirt Waltz " Whats Your Name - Robin Trower - Living Out Of Time: Live Parrish changed "red" to "blue".
Yankovic sold over 2. It was the second Cleveland-style song to sell over one million recordings. Columbia Records initially refused to record "Just Because", because other versions of the song had been around for years without much success; only allowing it when Yankovic said that he would buy the first 10, records.
He commuted from Cleveland to host each episode, which aired live. He won a Grammy Award in for his album 70 Years of Hits. He was the first winner in the Polka category. He performed with musical comedian and fellow accordionist "Weird Al" Yankovicalthough the two are not related.
Yankovic died on October 14,in New Port RicheyFlorida, from heart failure, at the age of He is buried in Cleveland's Calvary Cemetery. At his peak, Yankovic traveled extensively and performed shows a year. He sold 30 million records during his lifetime. In Bob Dolgan's biography of Yankovic, Frankie's longtime drummer Dave Wolnik observed that "Yankovic didn't have a street named for him in his own hometown". From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Slovenian-American musician. Biography portal. Archived from the original on 8 March Retrieved 21 July The New York Times Company. Retrieved 20 May A Passion for Polka. Berkeley: University of California Press. Mental Floss, Inc.
Archived from the original on 8 June Waukegan Polka - Frankie Yankovic And His Yanks - Dancing With Frankie Yankovic 24 August The Plain Dealer. Retrieved 3 March Namespaces Article Talk.
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