Johnny Prill

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Johnny Prill
Johnny Prill Photo.jpg
Born Age 48 in September 2004[1]
Hometown Bad Axe, Michigan[2]
Occupation singer-songwriter

Johnny Prill (hometown Bad Axe, Michigan[2]) is a singer-songwriter, accordionist, and the author of “A Song for Grandma and Grandpa,” the official song of the U.S. National Grandparents Day holiday.[3] In a career that dates back to 1978, he has recorded 45-rpm records, four albums, and four compact discs; including polka, country, big band, and easy listening formats.[1]

Volunteer work[edit]

Johnny Prill, with band members John Prill Sr. and Christopher Prill, at the Health Care Association of Michigan award ceremony. Prill received their “Volunteer Of The Year Award."

Prill began his volunteer work at age 12 performing with his accordion at local nursing homes. In 2008, he received an award for entertaining elderly residents over the past 22 years.[4]

In 2008, Prill hosted his first free outdoor concert to celebrate Grandparents Day, which is celebrated each year on the U.S. National Grandparents Day holiday.[5] American actress, comedian, and author, Betty White wished Prill good luck stating, "Johnny, Have a wonderful concert - be sure and sing A Song for Grandma and Grandpa."[6] Also, American actress and comedian Phyllis Diller thanked Prill for honoring grandparents with music.[7]

In 2010, American folk singer Pete Seeger congratulated Prill on volunteering his musical talents, once a month, for 24 years.[8]

Also, in 2010, American country music singer Barbara Mandrell congratulated Prill on his volunteer work stating “Your service through songs and volunteering is so remarkable!” [9]

In 2011, the Health Care Association of Michigan presented Prill with their “Volunteer Of The Year Award.” The award was given in recognition of Prill's 25 years of volunteering musical entertainment monthly for the residents of Courtney Manor Nursing Home.[10]

Career highlights[edit]

Sample of "A Song for Grandma and Grandpa", the official song of the U.S. National Grandparents Day holiday.

Problems playing this file? See media help.

In 1983, America's Polka King Frankie Yankovic presented Prill with an autographed copy of his 1977 autobiography "The Polka King: The Life Of Frankie Yankovic." Prill wrote a song based on the book titled “A Tribute To Frankie Yankovic - America's Polka King” and honored Yankovic with his song at September's Club in Warren, Michigan.[11]

In 1987, Prill recorded two original songs on a 45 RPM. Side A featured “Polka Radio” and side B “A Birthday Wish.” That same year, American pop music singer Bobby Vinton released a 45 RPM containing the same two songs. In 1991, Vinton included “Polka Radio” on his "Greatest Polka Hits Of All Time" CD. Vinton also recorded Prill's “Proud To Be An American” in 1988 and included it on his self-titled Bobby Vinton (1988 album). Vinton credits Prill as being “one of the most creative song writers of our time.”[12]

In 1991, Prill wrote “America, This Song's For You.” The song featured vocals by top polka artists including America's Polka King Frankie Yankovic, Li'l Wally, Eddie Blazonczyk, Jimmy Sturr and Bobby Vinton. Proceeds from the album were used to promote polka music in America.[13]

By 1993, Prill had written more than 100 songs.[14] In that year he released "My Sweet Rose", which was an audio cassette with ten songs.[14]

Official song of U.S. Grandparents Day - A Song for Grandma and Grandpa - CD cover

In 2004, Prill received the National Songwriter's Award from the National Grandparents Day Council in honor of his composition “A Song for Grandma and Grandpa.”[3][15][16] The song was chosen because "Grandparents Day gives grandchildren across the nation the opportunity to show love and appreciation for their grandparents. Johnny Prill's A Song for Grandma and Grandpa is exemplary of such appreciation."[3] "A Song for Grandma and Grandpa" is the official song of the U.S. National Grandparents Day holiday.[3][17]

Also in 2004, Prill released "The Polka Beat" CD with eleven polkas.[18] In August, the "Las Vegas" polka received a 5-star review in the Las Vegas Weekly. Martin Stein stated, "Truly the best polka song about our town ever recorded."[19][1] In October, the Las Vegas Mercury identified the same polka as "Standout".[20] In 2005 "The Polka Beat" CD was featured in the Detroit Free Press as their Detroit Disc of the week.[21]

In 2006, Prill presented American singer and entertainer Wayne Newton with “The King of Las Vegas” song at the Flamingo Las Vegas Casino and Resort in Paradise, Nevada. Prill's song was written and based on the book “Once Before I Go” the 1989 autobiography on Newton's life.[22]

In 2011, Prill's “Polish Prince” song was recorded by Grammy Award winner Jimmy Sturr and His Orchestra. Prill's song, based on the 1978 autobiography “The Polish Prince – Bobby Vinton,” was included on Sturr's Grammy-nominated “Not Just Another Polka” CD.[23][24][25]

Personal life[edit]

Prill and his wife Patricia currently reside in Bad Axe, Michigan. They have four children: Misty, Sarah, Jennifer and Johnny.[10] Prill began his nursing-home volunteering when his grandmother, Vera Will, was a resident.[10] As of 2011, Prill is himself now a grandparent.[10]


  1. ^ a b c Matt Treadwell (September 10, 2004). "Prill's song chosen as official 2004 Grandparents Day anthem. Bad Axe – Johnny Prill might be 48, but he lives his life in 2-4 time.". Huron Daily Tribune (Bad Axe, Michigan: Huron Publishing Company, LLC. (Hearst Corporation)). Retrieved 2012-08-17. Although Johnny Prill has now shared the national spotlight with McQuade's dream, you can be sure to find him right at home in Bad Axe - marching to the beat of a 2-4 drummer. 
  2. ^ a b "National Grandparents Day Song. Media. History". Johnny Prill Music. Retrieved 2012-08-18. From his hometown in Bad Axe, Michigan... 
  3. ^ a b c d "Johnny Prill Wins National Songwriter's Award". National Grandparents Council. August 14, 2004. Retrieved 2012-08-01. 
  4. ^ "Johnny Prill entertains crowd on Grandparents Day at Courtney Manor". Huron Daily Tribune (Bad Axe, Michigan: Huron Publishing Company, LLC. (Hearst Corporation)). September 10, 2008. Retrieved 2012-08-16. State Rep. Terry Brown, opened the concert by giving a brief history of National Grandparents Day, and noted that this holiday was celebrating 30 years of honoring our nation’s grandparents. 
  5. ^ "Johnny Prill to Host Grandparent’s Day Concert on Sept. 7." Huron Daily Tribune 21 Aug. 2008. Huron Daily Tribune. Web.
  6. ^ White, Betty. Letter to Johnny Prill. National Grandparents Day. Web. <>.
  7. ^ Diller, Phyllis. Letter to Johnny Prill. 2010. National Grandparents Day. Web. <>.
  8. ^ Seeger, Pete. Letter to Johnny Prill. Mar. 2010. National Grandparents Day. Web. <>.
  9. ^ Mandrell, Barbara. Letter to Johnny Prill. 2010. National Grandparents Day. Web. <>.
  10. ^ a b c d Traci L. Weisenbach, Tribune Staff Writer (August 26, 2011). "Prill Wins Statewide Volunteer Award". Huron Daily Tribune (Bad Axe, Michigan: Huron Publishing Company, LLC. (Hearst Corporation)). Retrieved 2012-08-18. Kay Peruski, Courtney Manor administrator, nominated Prill for the Health Care Association of Michigan Volunteer of the Year Award, and the association chose Prill to receive the distinction...'If you can entertain and bring smiles to people’s faces, that’s what it’s all about,' [Prill] said. 
  11. ^ Johnny Prill Honors Frankie Yankovic. 1983. Photograph. National Grandparents Day. Web. <>.
  12. ^ Vinton, Bobby. Letter to Johnny Prill. 28 May 1993. National Grandparents Day. Web. <>.
  13. ^ National Grandparents Day Song. America, This Song's for You. National Grandparents Day. Web. <>.
  14. ^ a b Debbie Oglenski. Huron Daily Tribune (September 25, 1993). "Google news archive. The family that plays together". The Argus-Press (Owosso, Michigan). Retrieved 2012-08-18. Family has a high priority in Johnny Prill's life, and that's apparent in his latest audio cassette, 'My Sweet Rose'...'For this last album we cut 14 tunes and we picked 10,' Prill said. 
  15. ^ Rev. Martin N. Añorga (12 September 2009). "Google Translate. Not me forget". Diario Las Américas. Retrieved 2012-08-11. The National Council of Grandparents Day (National Grandparents Day Council) is a nonprofit corporation established by descendants of Marian M. McQuade, founder of National Grandparents Day. 
  16. ^ Debbie Stabenow (United States Senator) (October 20, 2004). "National Grandparents Day Song. Debbie Stabenow". Retrieved 2012-08-11. You have put into words the unique relationship between grandparents and their grandchildren. 
  17. ^ "Editorial. Happy Grandparents Day!.". The Manila Bulletin Newspaper Online (Manila, Philippines). September 13, 2009. Retrieved 2012-08-18. ...and 'A Song for Grandma and Grandpa,' by Johnny Prill, is the official song of this event. 
  18. ^ "Johnny Prill. The Polka Beat.". CD Baby Music Store. Retrieved 2012-08-18. 11 high-energy Polkas...Release Date: 2004 
  19. ^ Stein, Martin. "A&E. All the Arts + Entertainment You Can Eat." Las Vegas Weekly 12 Aug. 2004. Las Vegas Weekly. Web. <>.
  20. ^ "Las Vegas Mercury: Sound Bites". Las Vegas Mercury. October 21, 2004. Retrieved 2012-08-18. ...a polka album jaunting with such...happy energy that you want to promise to never cuss again and drink eight glasses of milk daily and tell your mom how much you love her... 
  21. ^ Smyntek, John. "Bad Axe Polka King Keeps It Fresh." Detroit Free Press [Detroit, Mich] 02 Jan. 2005, Entertainment sec.: F.3. Print.
  22. ^ Smyntek, John. "Briefly." Detroit Free Press [Detroit, MI] 19 June 2006, Features sec.: C6. Print.
  23. ^ Prill, Johnny. "Polish Prince." Not Just Another Polka. Jimmy Sturr and His Orchestra. 2011. CD.
  24. ^ "Prill song on Sturr CD". Huron County View. September 8, 2011. Retrieved 2012-08-18. Local songwriter Johnny Prill has a song on a new CD...'Not Just Another Polka,' by...'Jimmy Sturr and his Orchestra.'  
  25. ^ "Prill song on Grammy nominated CD". Huron County View. January 19, 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-18. Prill's song was written about 'The Polish Prince–Bobby Vinton' and based on his 1978 autobiography. 

External links[edit]