Weird Al’s Fave Accordion Players

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“Weird Al” Yankovic (Photo by Kristine Slipson)

Accordions may not possess the sexy élan of an electric guitar, but they’ve nonetheless come to occupy an important and overlooked part of the musical canon that’s found its influence in a number of genres including folk, polka, Cajun, zydeco, jazz, rock and even pop music. “Weird Al” Yankovic has become one of the most successful proponents of this instrument that’s usually referred to with lame “Lady of Spain” jokes. But given that Yankovic has earned four gold records, six platinum records, nabbed 11 Grammy nominations and won four, there must be something to the accordion being his instrument of choice.

The following are some of the California native’s favorite fellow squeezebox players (with a special shout-out going to the late Frank Yankovic [no relation], who was considered “America’s Polka King.”

Myron Floren

A young “Weird Al” Yankovic in the foreground getting an autograph from his hero Myron Florem (seated)

“He was the accordion player on The Lawrence Welk Show. And even though The Lawrence Welk Show didn’t do any favors for the image of accordion players, I have to say that Myron Floren was a GOAT {Greatest Of All Time]. He was the man, played a mean accordion and he was the very first person I ever got an autograph from and there’s a even picture of me getting an autograph from him floating around.”

Dick Contino

“Dick Contino brought sexy back to the accordion. Back in the 1950s, accordion players were like sex symbols. There’s a picture of one of Dick Contino’s albums where he has this accordion on and he’s looking really bad. He’s got beautiful women hanging around him with a look that says, ‘Ooh, an accordion player.’”

Walter Ostanek

Walter Ostanek (Photo by Mike F. Campbell)

“He’s a famous Canadian accordion player and he’s done some great stuff.”

Weird Al Yankovic will be playing March 17 at The Paramount, 370 New York Ave., Huntington. For information, visit www.theparamountny.com or call 631-673-7300. Yankovic will also be playing on March 22 and 23 at the Apollo Theater, 253 W. 125th St., NYC. For more information, visit www.apollotheater.com or call 212-531-5305.

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