Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients

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Pugliano, Sam

Sam Pugliano proves that you don't have to be Slovenian to be an outstanding Cleveland-Style bandleader. When Sam was crowned the Polka King of Western Pennsylvania in 1962, it was written that 'only in America' can an Italian win a Slovenian polka contest. Sam's accordion style combines the best of his idols: Pecon, Yankovic and Vadnal. He has lived his entire life in and around Universal, a Pennsylvania town that once resounded with the melodies of the Slovenians who settled there.

When young Sam showed musical promise, his brother Frank bought an accordion for him. Brother Joe played tenor saxophone with the Lou Potochnik band. Sam liked what he heard, and learned Cleveland-style polka music from Potochnik. By 1950, Sam led his own band and became a popular presence in the Pittsburgh area. His Polka King honor led to a recording contract with the Jay-Jay label and national popularity. He has recorded eight albums.

Sam's Polka Party radio show will celebrate 40 years, first on WPSL and now WKHB, Irwin/Pittsburgh. The United Musicians Polka Association of Pennsylvania (UMPAPA) named him 1994 Man of the Year. He was inducted into the Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 1995.

Inducted in 2003

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