Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients

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Mullec, Frankie

According to Billboard Magazine in the late 1940s, Frankie Mullec was one of the acknowledged masters in the polka field.  Frankie had one of the most popular polka bands from 1947 to 1952, and a recording contract with Continental Records.

Frankie was born in Cleveland and lived in the Collinwood neighborhood.  His Slovenian immigrant parents owned a grocery store on Waterloo Road, which later became the site of Mullec’s Lounge Bar.  As a teenager, Frankie played the accordion in taverns and halls, and later in the U.S. Navy in World War II.

Frankie formed his own band in 1947, and immediately had a nationwide hit with his song, “Tell Me a Story.” The record sold more than a quarter million copies. His next hit, “The Cleveland Polka,” had the whole country singing “the best location in the nation.”  Frankie’s appearances throughout the midwest at the Aragon Ballroom and Canton’s Meyers Lake were in cooperation with Music Corporation of America, which asked Frankie to hire a female vocalist.  He auditioned the singers, and hired Terri, who became his wife, 58 years ago. 

Frankie gave up the road jobs to play the organ with a trio at his Lounge Bar, starting in 1952, for 15 years.  Frankie resumed his music career in 1975 as an entertainer at Yankovic’s Steakhouse. He played the organ six nights a week, for seven years.  In the 1990s, Frankie played for benefit events in the Youngstown area for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.  He played weekly at the Slovene Home for the Aged in Cleveland, until 2004.

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