Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients


  Go Back to Recipient List



1935 - 2008


Art Perko was a leading talent of the new wave of young polka musicians who followed the Cleveland-Style legends of the 1950s. His most popular band line-up, featuring Billy Tomsick, Mike Dragas, Ray Sterle, and Roger DeBenedict, performed for 32 years. 


Cleveland's largely Slovenian St. Clair-Superior neighborhood was home to Art. He was considered one of the best boy sopranos in the St. Vitus school choir. He began accordion lessons at age six and led his first band at 13.


Art and his band were frequent guests on the popular syndicated Polka Varieties television show in the 1960s and 1970s. The group was one of the first to record with the Delta International polka label. Art's four albums included many fan favorites, such as “Quick Stop Polka” and “Magic Trumpets.”


He scored a pop hit with his bouncy “Peanuts Polka” in 1965. On Cleveland radio charts, "Peanuts" peaked at No. 9 the same week the Beatles’ “Ticket to Ride” was No. 1. 


              After a ten-year break from music, Art formed a new band in 1998 and recorded an album, “Reunited.” In the 2000s, Art hosted Sunday night jam sessions in the Collinwood neighborhood at the 4-Rs Tavern.


  Go Back to Recipient List