Sun 11/28 @ 2PM
This show has been postponed to a later date.
Anyone who knew the late Cleveland music mogul Steve Popovich, founder of Cleveland International Records and the force behind Meat Loaf’s multi-multi-multi-etc-platinum 1977 album Bat Out of Hell, knew that one of his foundational enthusiasms was for polka music. When he left Cleveland to head up Nashville Polygram in the mid 80s, his first act was to reissue four albums by the Cleveland-based Polka King Frankie Yankovich, the biggest star the genre produced.
When he returned to Cleveland to re-launch Cleveland International, Popovich released Songs of the Polka King in 1995, followed by Songs of the Polka King, Vol. 2 in 1997, paying tribute to the Slovenian polka star who had two platinum singles in the late 1940s and continued to play into his late 70s. On these albums, Popovich paired Yankovic with musicians from his enormous rolodex (remember those?) including Don Everly of the Everly Brothers, David Allan Coe, Cowboy Jack Clement, Kinky Friedman, Wierd All Yankovic (no relation), and polka stars Eddie Blazonczyk and Lenny Gomulka.
Yankovic died in 1998 at the age of 83, and is buried at Calvary Cemetery in Cleveland, the city where he spent most of his life. His funeral service, at St Mary’s in South Collinwood near where he grew up, ended with a huge polka jam on the sidewalk outside the church.
Recently Popovich’s son, Steve Popovich Jr., has reactivated Cleveland International and he’s now reissued Songs of the Polka King: The Ultimate Package. The 23-track release, which features both of Yankovic’s million-selling hits “Just Because” and “Blue Skirt Waltz,” along with such rousing favorites as “The Beer Barrel Polka,” “Who Stole the Kishka” and “In Heaven There Is No Beer,” is available on CD and, for the first time, vinyl.
The release will be celebrated at the Beachland Ballroom (appropriately, in Collinwood albeit the north end) on Sunday November 28, in a concert featuring, again appropriately, accordion player Joey Miskulin, who joined Yankovic’s band at the tender age of 13, and has since then enjoyed a career as a producer and sideman, as well as a member of the Western music/comedy ensemble Riders in the Sky. Popovich brought in Miskulin to coproduce both volumes of Songs of the Polka King. Get tickets here.