Jack M. Tady's Biography
Composer, Musician, Promoter & DJ
National Cleveland Style Polka Hall of Famer
Western Pennsylvania's Polka King
Jack Tady, is the son of John and the late Anna (Sailock) Tady, who instilled in him, their love and knowledge of Slovenian-Croatian Polka Music through recordings of Cleveland greats, America's Polka King Frank Yankovic, Kenny Bass, Eddie Habat, & Johnny Vadnal.
Jack was born on July 9, 1938 of Croatian descent, in Russellton, a suberb of Pittsburgh. He attended West Deer schools in Russellton, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Music Education & English and a Master's Equivilency in Music from Duquesne and Penn State Universities. Jack's first teaching position was as a Vocal & Instrumental Music Teacher at Penn-Trafford School District from 1964-1968 and then he `transferred to the Deer Lakes School District, were he spent the next 31 years, as a music teacher and band director. He retired from his teaching position at Deer Lakes School District in 1999 with a final music program called Mr. Tady's Opus, which featured many of his alumni students.
Jack started his first band,the Russ-Slovenes, in 1954 at the early age of 14 and with the assistance of his parents, played all the little clubs in the Russellton and surrounding areas. In 1958 Jack, renamed his band The Jack Lads, and recorded his very first (45rpm) recording which featured his brother Dick Tady on the Saxophone. The two selection were Millie's Polka,and Jaken Waltz , which received a four star rating in Billboards Magazine.
In 1959, when his brother went off to college, Jack started his third group. The Swingn' Laddies as they were called consisted of John LaBorda on accordion, Clare Taylor on sax, Ralph Jenets on banjo & guitar, James Gaspari on bass & of course Jack Tady on drums and vocals. The group attained great popularity and traveled & performed throughout the United States including places such as Ohio, New York, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota and California. The Laddies hosted tours to Bermuda, the Caribbean, Hawaii & the Mediterranean on cruise ships. In fact, the Tady Bears had the great distinction of performing the first Slovenian Polka Mass on the high seas.
With the Swingn' Laddies behind him, Jack Tady won, by majority vote, a Polka King Contest, sponsored by DJ Bill Seles of WKPA Radio in New Kensington, Pa. That same year, 1968, America's Polka King, Frank Yankovic crowned Jack Western Pennsylvania Polka King.
In 1973, due to a job transfer of John LaBorda, the band added an exceptional young accordionist named Benzy Rathbone. The band's name was changed again to Jack Tady & his Tady Bears. The Tady Bears continued to thrive, performing on TV Polka Shows such as: Polka Varieties in Cleveland, KDKA, WTAE & George Almasi's Polka Revue (WPGH) in Pittsburgh, and an appearance on Canadian TV, with Canada's Polka King , Walter Ostanek.
During the years from 1973 and 1987, the Bears recorded several recordings such as , It's Terrific It's Tady, Vantastic, Polka Cruise, Good & Plenty, Putting It All Together and Tady Brothers Back To Back with his brother Dick Tady.
On occasion, Jack was invited to travel and perform with Polka King Frank Yankovic, and record several recordings with him .One of Jack's greatest memories was traveling with Frank to record in Nashville Tennessee. Upon hearing Jack play, Frank said: " He plays from the heart, that's why the people love him so much."
In an effort to encourage & inspire the younger generation, Jack organized his own Polka Radio Show in 1983 called Jack Tady's Polka Place. The show on WEDO 810am dial is a family oriented radio show featuring Jack's wife Peggy and his daughters, Jackie and Maggie T. The show is in it's 26th year and the purpose of the show is to retain and preserve the Cleveland-Style Polka Heritage.
That same year, 1983, Jack & the Bears were voted Best Band in the nation by the SNPJ Voice of Youth Magazine. As the band became more popular, in 1990, they were voted the Best Band in the Alle-Kiski area of Pittsburgh by the readers of the Valley Daily News.
Jack has been very proud to be a lifetime member of the Cleveland - Style Polka Hall of Fame. In 1990, he was an announcer/presenter, in 1992 he was nominated for support and promotion, in 1991 he was asked to perform with Hall of Fame All-Star Band, and in 1992, he was nominated for support & promotion.
In 1996, Jack was voted and elected "Man of the Year," by the United Musicians Polka Association of Pa. That same year, he contributed as a participant for a Grammy in the Polka Category with Walter Ostanek on the recording "Putting It All Together," of which Jack wrote the title track and also played with the Tady Bears.on a tune called Lefty's Polka. That same year, he was featured with the Polka All-Star Singers with "America's Polka King," Frank Yankovic,on the Grammy nominated recording,"Cleveland the Polka Town." In 2005, Jack was proud to accept the Trustee's Award from the Penn-Ohio Polka Pals, and the DJ Award from the United Musicians Polka Association of Pa.
Jack's greatest thrill came in 2000, after being nominated in 1996, he was voted by a majority of votes for the "LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD," and was inducted into the Cleveland-Style Polka Hall of Fame. This is the highest award to be given to an individual musician in the polka industry.
In march of 2006, Jack Tady was honored by the Penn-Ohio Polka Pals as their "Man of the Year" for 2006, the highest degree of Ackowledgement to be bestowed by the POPP Organization In the year 2007, the Cleveland-Style Polka Hall of Fame invited Jack to perfrom with the All-Star Band at the Annual Hall of Fame Show at Euclid High School. Participants included a majority of Lifetime Achievers as Joey Miskulin, George Staiduhar & Fred Gregorich on accordions, Dick Tady. Paul Yanchar & Duke Marsik on Saxophones, Ronnie Sluga on Guitar & Banjo, Jack Tady on drums & Phil Srnik on bass.
With the intent of preserving Slovenian-Style Polka Music, Jack has founded polka booster organizations as: Western Penna. Polka Pals & Gals, United Musicians Polka Association of Pa. and his radio show booster club called (P.E.P. Boosters) People Encouraging Polkas.
Throughout his prolific career, Jack has always been unselfish in his willingness to help other young musicians. Many young musicians have been inspired & tutored into becoming mature & experienced professional, musicians with Jack's competent guidance. Jack is very proud of the musicians that have performed with him over the past 57 years. Known for his excellent & versatile accordion players, Jack remembers some of the greats as John Laborda, Benzy Rathbone, Jack Slagel, John Kusmeriek, Carl Stocker, Tony Zupanchick, Larry Placek, Rob DeBlander, Fred Gregorich & Brian Oboyle. Hall of Famers, Dick Tady, Norm Kobal & Ron Sluga are just a few of the super musicians that have perform & recorded with Jack..
At the present time, Jack and his J.T.B have been recording various fight songs for the Pittsburgh Steelers , in an effort to help to stimulate them to win the Super Bowl. The Bears have appeared on the Today Show , ( KDKA TV) in Pittsburgh, with show host Jennifer Ankowiak featuring Steeler Fight songs composed by friend & musician Darlene Fejka and Jack Tady.These songs are: The Pride of Pittsburgh, We Love Our Steelers & A Tribute to Big Ben.
The present day band of Jack Tady includes: Garrett Tatano, and Bill Bevec, Joe Alsppi on sax, Jerry Zagar on bass guitar & vocals, Larry Divis and Jeff Thompson
on banjo, guitar, and vocals, and Jack Tady on drums & vocals.
In addition to Jack's ( Jack Tady Bears) band, he has organized his own Button Box group which he calls, Jack's Guys & Dolls, which has be nominated to the Polka Hall of Fame in the Button Box Category for 5 consecutive years. The groups consists of daughter Jackie Tady Gutowski, Carol Zagar, Garrett Tatano, Sam Manno, Liz Bzorek, and Sara Geyer.
Jack's love for children has inspired him to raise thousands of dollars for children's charities such as: Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh & Youngstown, Make a Wish, Muscular Distrophy and the Cancer Fund.
In his spare time, Jack enjoys doing his Radio Show WKHB 620 on the am dial with co-hosts Peggy "Cupcake" Tady, and sidekick Larry Divis. Jack Tady Polka Place is in it's 36th year. Tune in every Saturday 1-2:30pm as Jack and Peggy play the best in Cleveland-Style Polkas and Waltzes.
Join the fun and party to celebrate with Jack Tady.
For bus information contact:
Peggy @ Tady Bear Tours, 1001 Spruce Street, Cheswick, Pa. 15024
or call - (724) 715-7317
Article by Peggy Tady
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