Polka Powerhouse, Legend Dies
Back when I was doing the polka circuit back in the 1980s, there was a song entitled  "I Wish that I Could Sing Like Eddie B."  It paid homage to Ed Blaczonczyk Sr. and went on to say that no one could sing a song “quite as good as he.” On Monday the Grammy-Award winning bandleader died at age 70.

In 1963 Eddie Blazonczyk’s Versatones recorded their first album titled “Polka Parade” on the Bel-Aire record label. During more than 40 years and approximately 160 dates per year, this Grammy award-winning group became known for its modern blend of polka originals, covers and standards that have pleased people in more than 6000 appearances, touring the USA, Canada, France, Austria, Mexico, and Poland.  They have recorded 60+ albums and received over 125 miscellaneous awards from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences , the International Polka Association, the United States Polka Association, the United Polka Boosters and the United Polka Association. In 1998 his efforts to preserve this unique music was recognized when he was granted a National Endowment for the Arts Heritage Fellowship.

I’ve mentioned before that I learned to dance the polka while listening to Happy Polkaland and dancing on my Daddy’s shoes on Sunday in the kitchen.  I learned to really enjoy it attending polka dances in the Idora Park ballroom. This is where my friends and I took college road trips! There was nothing more powerful than Eddie B and Marion Lush on the same stage.

Then we took it to the next level and went to Seven Springs on 4th of July. Holy Cow it was great…every band of any worth had to make an appearance there. Think of it as the Woodstock or Lalapalooza of polkas.

Eddie, your albums will always be my favorite. His talent and passion for polkas educated and entertained so many of us. Thank you for all of it, Eddie.  St. Peter better get his dancing shoes on cause his feet will no doubt be taping with you there. RIP

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