15 July 1915, Davis, West Virginia, USA, d. 14 October 1998, New Port Richey, Florida, USA. Yankovics parents were immigrants from Slovenia. Raised in Cleveland, Ohio, he took up the button accordion at the age of nine, then in his early teens switched to piano accordion. He gained a local reputation with his band, the Slovenian Folk Orchestra. Deliberately opting for a cheerful stage persona to match the vivacity of the music, Yankovic was also heard on radio from 1932 and in 1938 he made a few records that were sold locally. He opened a bar, playing there regularly. During military service in World War II, Yankovic suffered frostbite from which gangrene set in and for a while there were fears that he would lose hands and feet. He refused surgery, recovered, and eventually was assigned to lead a band to entertain frontline troops. The war over, he formed a new band to play at his bar but was not yet committed to a full-time career in music. Yankovic added an...
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