Meisner legacy: 37-year-old polka to be inducted in hall of fame

Comments Comments Print Print
Staff | November 20, 2014

One of the songs to be inducted as an All-Time Polka hit at this year's National Cleveland-Style Polka Hall of Fame and Museum awards show on Saturday, Nov. 29 will have a local connection—to the late Verne Meisner, noted musician and father of Whitewater musician Steve Meisner.

“El Rio Drive,” created in 1977 and named for the street in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, where Verne Meisner lived at the time, quickly turned into a hit at local performances in and around Milwaukee—even before it was recorded and released for the eponymous album that came out a year later.

Steve Meisner said although the song's popularity spread, few people knew its composer was his dad.

“El Rio Drive” still is performed live and recorded today by artists in styles ranging from “Dutchmen and Czech to Polish, Slovenian and Tex-Mex,” Meisner said on his website.

Both Meisners are already listed as “Lifetime Achievers” at the National Cleveland Style Polka Hall of Fame, and original compositions by both father and son can be found many best-selling polka records, Grammy-nominated recordings and even the Library of Congress, according to www.stevemeisner.com.

Two long-time musician friends of Verne Meisner, who died in 2005, will be part of the ceremony on Nov. 29. Eddie Klacnik will present the award and Hank Thunander will perform “El Rio Drive.”

Catch the song when Verne and Steve Meisner played it at a polka festival in Saginaw, Michigan in 1988:

Comments Comments Print Print