Support Local Journalism. Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club.

Polka Hero 

Local writer uncovers the true story of Frankie Yankovic.

1391105.t.jpg
Forget what you know about polka. It's not just riff-repeating dance music played by accordion-wielding drunks, argues Bob Dolgan, author of America's Polka King: The Real Story of Frankie Yankovic. It was an integral part of post-war culture. In a way, polka was the hip-hop of its era: It celebrated hedonistic good times, its stars were blinged-out egomaniacs, and the whole scene copped a carpe diem attitude. And nobody embodied that ethos more than Cleveland's Yankovic. Says Dolgan: "He was a grade-A character."

Dolgan, who helped pen Yankovic's autobiography in 1977, says that America's Polka King came out of his desire to tell the truth. "Like all autobiographies, Frank sugarcoated things," he says. "I wanted to tell the honest story." Yankovic became a millionaire after scoring nationwide best-sellers with songs like "Just Because." He'd stuff his pockets with cash, flaunting his riches like Diddy on a Saturday night. He burned through two wives before settling down with the third. And one of his sons killed himself, while another spent time in prison. "Frank came from humble beginnings," says Dolgan. "He would've ended up a factory worker if it wasn't for polka."
Sat., Nov. 25, noon

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at news@clevescene.com.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club


Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.


Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.


Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Speaking of Highlights

More by Michael Gallucci

Read the Digital Print Issue

December 1, 2021

View more issues

Most Popular

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Calendar

© 2021 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 505-8199
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.


Website powered by Foundation