America’s Mr Accordion has died, at 87

America’s Mr Accordion has died, at 87


norman lebrecht

April 21, 2017

Dick Contino held the alltime record of appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show – 48 times.

He was jailed for draft dodging, served in in the Korea War and eventually received a presidential pardon, events that are reacts in a James Ellroy novella, Dick Contino’s Blues.

Contino’s signature song was ‘Lady of Spain’.

He made his debut in December 1947 and died on April 19, 2017, after almost 70 years on stage.


  • Jon Teske says:

    Contino first came to fame on the Horace Heidt show of the late 1940s. That show toured and I saw Contino ca. 1948-49 when the show toured small towns, in my case Sheboygan, WI. I was in first or second grade (age 6 or 7) when I saw him. A real showman. I was too young to understand the controversy of not being drafted in the Korean war era, but I remembered my parents (my father being a veteran) souring on him because of it.

  • Dorothy Razniewski says:

    DIck Contino was not only the best of the best accordianist of all times but the sweetest most sensitive and loving man I have ever met in my life and to be part of his fan group was an incredible experience I have ever had! Goodbye Dick we will miss you prayers go out to your family….your songs and your messages will live on in my heart forever……You are the king of the accordian!!!

  • Steve Weiss says:

    Imet Dick in 1950 at the town casino in buffalo ny also played with him on that stage ,remained friends all these years, had Dick and Tanja at our house for dinner. Not only the Weissgreatest accordionist ever but surely a great friend who will be missed. My sincerest regards to his family.. From Mr.cordovox Steve
    Weiss and Carol now living and entertaining in Largo Florida

  • Barbara Volino says:

    I used to go to Milwaukee Fest and see him all the time I have some beautiful pictures of him if his family would like me to mail them I will I will miss him

    • Judy Campbell-Contino says:

      Dear Barbara —

      We would love it if you could share some of Dick’s pictures that you have. Thank you so much for offering —It was very kind of you.

      Judy Contino
      (Mrs. Dick Contino)