This Day in Death

5.21.12: Polka Icon Eddie Blazonczyk, Sr. – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 9:30 am May 28, 2012

Weird Al could not be reached for comment, presumably because he was busy writing a song about eating a lot. That’s gonna be a good one.


If you’re a big fan of polka music you’re most likely just a hipster doing it ironically and I hate you for that. But I kinda have to pretend I don’t, because you’re the only ones who would know who Eddie Blazonczyk, Sr. is, and this whole post really hinges on that. So, I dunno, man, maybe let’s go have a couple PBRs down at the Empty Bottle some time.

Anyway, now that we’re cool, it’s time to report that Blazoncyzk died last week of natural causes. The Chicago Tribune actually has a surprisingly interesting write-up, which opens with a line that made me laugh for reasons I can’t quite explain:

To anyone who followed polka music in Chicago and across America…

…I’m listening…

…Eddie Blazonczyk Sr. was the king.

As a Grammy-winning recording artist, radio broadcaster, record-label owner and perpetually traveling performer, Blazonczyk served as self-made nexus for all things polka.

That’s right: He was the Nexus of Polka. You know, like how Friar Ludvik Wenceslas of Olomouc is known as the Black Hole of Gregorian Chanting. And if that joke holds together under scrutiny it’s officially more cohesive than anything I wrote in my 400 level East European Studies course.

“He had his own publishing company, started his label, he had a music school and he was constantly touring with the Versatones,” added Blazonczyk Jr., referencing a band that flourished from the early 1960s until last December.

“He was a one-man enterprise for this music.”

In addition to the 1986 Grammy Blazonczyk won for “Another Polka Celebration,” he received more than a dozen Grammy nominations as well as one of this country’s most prestigious cultural honors, a National Heritage Fellowship, presented by then First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton in 1998.

“Polka was his life,” said Sturr. “People look down on our music … because they don’t know one thing about it. The only think they know is that their parents and their grandparents liked it, so they don’t like it.”

That’s true. I also don’t like tuxedo cats. If an animal without opposable thumbs can dress nicer than me without even trying I take it as a threat. But this isn’t about what animals do or do not make me uncomfortable. This is about finally showing some respect for a genre of music that’s been unfairly maligned for years, which is totally something I would take the time to do if it weren’t for Kohl’s Memorial Day Outerwear Sale, going on RIGHT NOW! Hey, you want me to post on a holiday, this is what happens.

Source: The Chicago Tribune

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