Walter "Li'l Wally" Jagiello, (August 1, 1930 – August 17, 2006), was an American polka musician and songwriter from Chicago, Illinois. A self-taught Chemnitzer concertina and drum player, who sang Polish as well as English in many of his songs. His most famous compositions include "Puka Jasiu (Johnny's Knocking)" "No Beer in Heaven" and "I Wish I Was Single Again". His song "Let's Go, Go-Go White Sox", as recorded by Captain Stubby and the Buccaneers underwent a resurgence in 2005.
Originally starting out at the age of 8 singing with the Eddie Zima Orchestra performing up and down "Polish Broadway" in Chicago, Wally soon struck out on his own and formed his own band "The Happy Harmony Boys". He was a pioneer in the concept of the independent record label, starting his own Jay-Jay Records in 1951 after a brief career recording stint on Columbia Records, at the age of twenty. He was renowned for his drumbeat and slower and more danceable tempo, which became a mainstay of "Chicago Style" Polish polka sound. His arrangements of many popular Polish folk tunes, and many originals as well, are those used today by polka bands all over the United States. His nickname was derived from his short stature (5 foot 6 as an adult), especially during his youth, when he would stand on a picnic table to sing.
The highlight of Jagiello's career was performing for Pope John Paul II in 1984, who requested Wally to continue playing after his initial song, "God Bless Our Polish Pope". The pontiff blessed him after his performance, telling him "God will reward you for all your hard work."
He also appeared several times playing his concertina on The Lawrence Welk Show. He was one of the first two inductees into the International Polka Association's Hall of Fame in 1969. All total, he has collected 17 gold and 4 platinum records.
|Title||Hi-Fi Number||Stereo Number|
|America's Favorite Polka and Waltz Band||Jay Jay 1001||Jay Jay 5019|
|Happy Polkas||Jay Jay 1002||Jay Jay 5020|
|New Sound By The Best Around||Jay Jay 1003||Jay Jay 5005|
|Polka Bandstand Favorites||Jay Jay 1004||Jay Jay 5038|
|The Polka Beat For Your Dancing Feet||Jay Jay 1006||Jay Jay 5037|
|Jolly Polkas||Jay Jay 1008||N/A|
|Old Country Polish Polkas||Jay Jay 1010||Jay Jay 5001|
|Polka Party||Jay Jay 1012||Jay Jay 5147|
|I Love To Polka||Jay Jay 1014||Jay Jay 5000|
|All-American Polkas||Jay Jay 1016||Jay Jay 5004|
|Koledy - Polish Christmas Carols Volume 1||Jay Jay 1017||N/A|
|Wesoło Do Tańca||Jay Jay 1018||Jay Jay 5006|
|Thanks For A Wonderful Evening||Jay Jay 1020||Jay Jay 5008|
|Koledy - Polish Christmas Carols Volume 2||Jay Jay 1023||Jay Jay 5011|
|Po Staro Krajsku||Jay Jay 1025||N/A|
|Dance Around The Christmas Tree||Jay Jay 1026||Jay Jay 5012|
|Polkas & Waltzes For Everyone||Jay Jay 1027||Jay Jay 5013|
|Smutku Niema, Gdy Mały Władziu Spiewa||Jay Jay 1031||Jay Jay 5017|
|Hit Parade||Jay Jay 1032||Jay Jay 5018|
|Let's Sing Together||Jay Jay 1034||Jay Jay 5022|
|Beautiful Polka Music||Jay Jay 1035||Jay Jay 5023|
|Songs You've Been Waiting For||Jay Jay 1036||Jay Jay 5036|
|Christmas Time||Jay Jay 1039||Jay Jay 5026|
|Polka Twist||Jay Jay 1041||Jay Jay 5028|
|Polish Polka Twist||Jay Jay 1044||Jay Jay 5031|
|Polish Sing-A-Long #2||Jay Jay 1047||Jay Jay 5034|
|50/50 Polkas & Waltzes||Jay Jay 1050||Jay Jay 5050|
|Something Different||Jay Jay 1052||Jay Jay 5052|
|Golden Waltzes||Jay Jay 1053||Jay Jay 5053|
|Dancing Fingers featuring Nervous Freddie||Jay Jay 1055||Jay Jay 5055|
|Sing with Me #3||Jay Jay 1056||Jay Jay 5056|
|Nowe Wesołe Piosenik Ludowe||Jay Jay 1057||Jay Jay 5057|
|Here Comes Li'l Wally||Jay Jay 1058||Jay Jay 5058|
|Polka Stars on Parade||Jay Jay 1059||Jay Jay 5059|
|My Vacation||Jay Jay 1064||Jay Jay 5064|
|Jeszcze Nasza!||Jay Jay 1065||Jay Jay 5065|
|Hot Chicken||Jay Jay 1069||Jay Jay 5069|
|One Man Band||Jay Jay 1073||Jay Jay 5073|
|Polish Party - Adults Only||Jay Jay 1077||Jay Jay 5077|
|Li'l Wally's Greatest!||Jay Jay 1078||Jay Jay 5078|
|Oh Boy, Polka Joy||Jay Jay 1079||Jay Jay 5079|
|A Polka Christmas||Jay Jay 1080||Jay Jay 5080|
|Pieknie Gra Poleczki Od Ucha||Jay Jay 1081||Jay Jay 5081|
|Bartender Song||Jay Jay 1086||Jay Jay 5086|
|Polish Wedding Album||Jay Jay 1089||Jay Jay 5089|
|Spiew I Głos||Jay Jay 1091||Jay Jay 5091|
|Do The Li'l Wally Twirl||Jay Jay 1094||Jay Jay 5094|
|Li'l Wally In Miami Beach||Jay Jay 1097||Jay Jay 5097|
|Nice With Polish Spice||Jay Jay 1098||Jay Jay 5098|
|Live It Up - Zyj Bracie! Po Polsku!||Jay Jay 1103||Jay Jay 5103|
|Sincerely Yours||Jay Jay 1104||Jay Jay 5104|
|Mr. Happy Music||Jay Jay 1107||Jay Jay 5107|
|Polka A Go-Go||Jay Jay 1110||Jay Jay 5110|
|A Tribute To Zima||Jay Jay 1112||Jay Jay 5112|
|Polish Adults Hit Parade||Jay Jay 1113||Jay Jay 5113|
|International Golden Hits||N/A||Jay Jay 5019|
|Li'l Wally Sings Po Polsku with Eddie Zima and His Band||N/A||Jay Jay 5099|
|Poland Tour||N/A||Jay Jay 5101|
|Kolędy Swiąteczne||N/A||Jay Jay 5105|
|Kochana Mama||Jay Jay 1114||Jay Jay 5114|
|Li'l Wally Salutes Lawrence Welk||N/A||Jay Jay 5117|
|Sing Along No. 4||N/A||Jay Jay 5118|
|There's More To A Wedding||N/A||Jay Jay 5119|
|Nowe Piosenki O Weselu (New Polish Wedding Songs)||Jay Jay 1120||Jay Jay 5120|
|Witamy Prezydenta||Jay Jay 1121||Jay Jay 5121|
|Polish Songs For You||N/A||Jay Jay 5121|
|Polish Sex||N/A||Jay Jay 5122|
|More New Polish Favorites||N/A||Jay Jay 5123|
|Polish Sing Along No. 5||N/A||Jay Jay 5124|
|Thank You - Polka Hall of Fame||N/A||Jay Jay 5127|
|Polish Carnival Time||N/A||Jay Jay 5132|
|Bombs||N/A||Jay Jay 5133|
|Unforgettable Hits||N/A||Jay Jay 5134|
|Suggestive and Hot||N/A||Jay Jay 5135|
|Around The World||N/A||Jay Jay 5136|
|Cieple Portki||N/A||Jay Jay 5137|
|Stary Kaziu Gra||N/A||Jay Jay 5138|
|Polish Hits of the 50's||N/A||Jay Jay 5141|
|Polkarama||N/A||Jay Jay 5142|
|Li'l Wally in Action||N/A||Jay Jay 5145|
|Polka Party With Li'l Wally||N/A||Jay Jay 5147|
|Proud To Be An American||N/A||Jay Jay 5148|
|America's Greatest Polka Band||N/A||Jay Jay 5151|
|Polskie Czucie - Polish Feelings||N/A||Jay Jay 5153|
|Nowe Wesołe Piosenki||N/A||Jay Jay 5158|
|Li'l Wally Brings Happiness To You||N/A||Jay Jay 5162-3|
|All Night with Li'l Wally||N/A||Jay Jay 5163|
|Fantasztyczne||N/A||Jay Jay 5165|
|National Hits||N/A||Jay Jay 5164|
|Fantasztyczne||N/A||Jay Jay 5165|
|Jolly Times "Wesole Czasy"||N/A||Jay Jay 5166|
|The Best! Co Jest!||N/A||Jay Jay 5167|
|Jagiello Sound Vol. 1||N/A||Jay Jay 8000|
|Jagiello Production Vol. 2||N/A||Jay Jay 8001|
|Jagiello Sound Vol. 3||N/A||Jay Jay 8002|
|Christmas Favorites From Poland||N/A||Jay Jay 8003|
|Lil Wally in France, Vol. I||N/A||Jay Jay 8004|
|Polish Religious Hymns by Li'l Wally and the St. Stanislaus Choral Group||N/A||Jay Jay S100|
|Year||Titles (A-side, B-side)||Label & Catalogue #||Album|
b/w "New Circus Polka" (from New Sound By The Best Around)
|Jay Jay 133|
|"Wish I Was Single Again"
b/w "Ooh-La-La-La Polka"
|Jay Jay 145||America's Favorite Polka and Waltz Band|
|"We Left Our Wives At Home"
b/w "I'm In Love With You Polka" (from America's Favorite Polka and Waltz Band)
|Jay Jay 148||New Sound By The Best Around|
|"Sleigh Bells Waltz"
b/w "Jingle Bells Polka"
|Jay Jay 150||Non-album tracks|
|1956||"Who'd Ya Like To Love Ya"
b/w "Blue Skirt Waltz" (from New Sound By The Best Around)
|Jay Jay 154||America's Favorite Polka and Waltz Band|
|"I'll Never Do It Again"
b/w "Jolly Polly Polka"
|Jay Jay 160|
|"Juz Tego Nie Uczynie (I'll Never Do It Again)"
b/w "Zosia Polka (Sophie Polka)"
|Jay Jay 162||Najweselsze Poleczki I Walce W Ameryce|
|"Jay Jay Hop"
b/w "Bedtime Polka"
|Jay Jay 165||Polka Band Stand Favorites|
|"Just Because Polka"
b/w "Milwaukee's Favorite Waltz"
|Jay Jay 166||America's Favorite Polka and Waltz Band|
|"Lover Give Me A Chance"
b/w "Tick Tock Polka"
|Jay Jay 167|
|1957||"Take Me Baby Polka"
b/w "Barbara Polka"
|Jay Jay 168||New Sound By The Best Around|
|"'You" Waltz" (with The Lucky Harmony Boys Orchestra)
b/w "Play Me A Polka" (from New Sound By The Best Around)
|Jay Jay 171||The Polka Beat For Your Dancing Feet|
b/w "Rain Rain"
|Jay Jay 173||New Sound By The Best Around|
|"I Need You Waltz"
b/w "Clarinet Polka" (from New Sound By The Best Around)
|Jay Jay 175||The Polka Beat For Your Dancing Feet|
|"Live It Up Polka"
b/w "Brown Eyes Polka" (from Polka Band Stand Favorites)
|Jay Jay 177|
|1958||"Oh Mary Ann" (with Ed Lash)
|Jay Jay 186|
|"Whatcha Got Polka"
b/w "I Dream Of Irene" (from The Polka Beat For Your Dancing Feet)
|Jay Jay 191|
|1959||"Seven Days Without You Polka"
b/w "Tu Lu Lu Waltz"
|Jay Jay 197||Polka Party|
|"Dark Eyes Waltz"
b/w "Chicago Is A Polka Town Polka" (from The Polka Beat For Your Dancing Feet)
Both sides with the Lucky Harmony Boys
|Jay Jay 198||I Love To Polka|
|"What Is It Polka"
b/w "Squeeze Box Polka"
|Jay Jay 201|
|"She's Too Fat For Me Polka"
b/w "Out With The Boys" (from All American Polkas)
Both sides with The Lucky Harmony Boys
|Jay Jay 199||I Love To Polka|
|"Doodle Doo Doo Polka"
b/w "Love Me Forever Polka" (from The Polka Beat For Your Dancing Feet)
|Jay Jay 203||Non-album track|
|"My Wife Got Drunk Polka"
b/w "To Be In Love With Someone"
|Jay Jay 205||All American Polkas|
b/w "Dreaming Of You Waltz" (from All American Polkas)
|Jay Jay 208||Non-album tracks|
|"Happy New Year (Wesolego Nowego Roku)
b/w "Jesus Was Born (Narodzil Sie Jezus)"
|Jay Jay 209|
|1960||"You Are My Sweetheart Now"
b/w "St. Paul Waltz"
|Jay Jay 211||All American Polkas|
|"Joe and Josey Polka"
b/w "Stevens Point Oberek" (from Polka Party)
|Jay Jay 213|
|"When Irish Eyes Are Smiling"
b/w "Rosey From Jersey" (from I Love To Polka)
|Jay Jay 214|
|"Nasze Rozlaczenie (Our Break Up Polka)"
b/w "U Mego Tatusia (Daddy's Polka)"
|Jay Jay 216||Li'l Wally's Greatest 15 Hits Vol. 1|
|"Thanks For A Wonderful Evening"
b/w "Helena Polka" (from All American Polkas)
|Jay Jay 218|
|"Old Grey Mare"
b/w "Baby Doll" (from I Love To Polka)
|Jay Jay 219||Songs You've Been Waiting For|
|"I Feel Blue Because Of You (Opowiesc Kochanka)"
b/w "Polonia Grove Polka"
Both sides with The Harmony Boys
|Jay Jay 220||Polka Party|
|"He'll Have To Go"
b/w "Brighton Park Polka"
|Jay Jay 221|
|"My Shoes Keep Walking Back To You"
b/w "Julianna Polka" (from Polka Party)
|Jay Jay 225||Polkas & Waltzes For Everyone|
|"Lovely Girl Polka (Ladna Dziewczyna)"
b/w "Only A Girl" (Non-album track)
|Jay Jay 226||Live It Up!|
|"Santa Claus Is Coming To Town"
b/w "How Lovely Is Christmas"
|Jay Jay 228||Dance Around The Christmas Tree|
|"Auld Lang Syna"
b/w "Dance Around The Christmas Tree"
|Jay Jay 229|
|"Merry Christmas Mom and Dad"
b/w "Oh Christmas Tree"
|Jay Jay 230|
b/w "Red Wing" (from All American Polkas)
Both sides with The Lucky Harmony Boys Orchestra
|Jay Jay 233|
|"Kalina W Lesie (Wilted Bush and Angry Love)"
b/w "Siwe Golabisie (Grey Pigeons)" (from Sincerely Yours)
|Jay Jay 238||Li'l Wally's Greatest 15 Hits Vol. 1|
|"Whatever Will Be, Will Be"
b/w "Wedding Bells Are Breaking Up That Old Gang Of Mine"
|Jay Jay 239||Hit Parade By Li'l Wally|
|"Green Meadow Polka"
b/w "Sad Without You"
|Jay Jay 241|
|"San Antonio Rose"
|Jay Jay 245||Hit Parade By Li'l Wally|
b/w "I Have The Blues"
|Jay Jay 246||Beautiful Polka Music|
|"Gleboka Studzienka (Wishing Well)"
b/w "Pragna Oczka Pragna (Naughty Eyes)"
|Jay Jay 247||Let's Sing Together With Li'l Wally In Polish!|
b/w "Ej Marie" (from Beautiful Polka Music)
|Jay Jay 250|
|"Li'l Wally Polka Twist"
b/w "Twistin' and Turnin' Polka"
|Jay Jay 254||Polka Twist|
|1962||"Jakem Do Dziew Chodzil"
b/w "Zenil Sie Nie Bede" (from Polish Songs For You)
|Jay Jay 267|
b/w "Something New"
|Jay Jay 269|
|"How Can I Forget"
b/w "Happy Cousins Polka"
|Jay Jay 279||Something Different|
b/w "Here Comes My Lover"
|Jay Jay 283||Nowe Wesole Piosenik Ludowe|
|"Return To Me" (Przydz Do Mnie)"
b/w "Hay Hay Polka (Siano, Siano)"
|Jay Jay 286|
|"Mosquito Polka (Komara)"
b/w "I Want A Sweetheart (Chce Miec Dziewczyne)"
|Jay Jay 287||Nowe Wesole Piosenik Ludowe|
|"Boy, Oh Boy Polka"
b/w "Night After Night" (Non-album track)
|Jay Jay 292||Something Different|
b/w "Night After Night"
|Jay Jay 294|
|1964||"Welcome Beatles" (with The Venturas)
B-side by The Venturas: "My Happiness"
|Drum Boy 108|
|1965||"She Likes Kiolbasa"
b/w "Drunk In The Garden"
|Jay Jay 304||One Man Band|
b/w "No Beer In Heaven"
|Jay Jay 306||Oh Boy, Polka Joy!|
|"One Has My Heart, The Other Has My Name"
b/w "Ee-I-Oh Polka" (from Oh Boy, Polka Joy!)
|Jay Jay 313||Bartender Song|
b/w "Balloon" (from Oh Boy, Polka Joy!)
|Jay Jay 314|
b/w "Goin' To The Fields"
|Jay Jay 315|
|"Don't Be Afraid (Nie Boj sie)"
b/w "Leaving Warsaw (Ide Z Warszawy)" (Non-album track)
|Jay Jay 319||Bartender Song|
|"Christmas In Your Heart"
b/w "Hawaiian Christmas"
|Drum Boy 115|
|"Don't Want To Be Alone (Nieche Byc Sam)"
b/w "Loving Girl (Kochana Dziewczyna)"
|Jay Jay 328||Spiew I Glos|
|1966||"Flowers For Mother"
b/w "Time For Love"
|Jay Jay 330|
b/w "Li'l Wally Twirl"
|Jay Jay 331||Do The Li'l Wally Twirl|
|"All For Nothing (Wszystko Nadaremnie)"
b/w "Give Her To Me (Dajcie Mi Ja)"
|Jay Jay 333||Li'l Wally Sings Po Polsku with Eddie Zima and His Band|
|"Live Happy (Zyi Wesolo)"
b/w "Vietnam Polka (Do Vietnam)"
|Jay Jay 334|
|"One, Two, Three Happy Melody"
b/w "Drinking Beer" (from My Vacation)
|Jay Jay 335|
b/w "My Dear One" (Non-album track)
|Jay Jay 336||Sincerely Yours|
|"Oj Nie Nie Nie"
b/w "Dziewczyna Jak Malina"
|Jay Jay 340||Mr. Happy Music|
b/w "Loving Mom"
|Jay Jay 343||Non-album tracks|
b/w "Lawrence Welk Polka"
|Jay Jay 344||Li'l Wally Salutes Lawrence Welk|
|"There's More To A Wedding"
b/w "Goodbye, Goodbye, Goodbye"
|Jay Jay 348||There's More To A Wedding|
b/w "Your Cheatin' Heart Is Showin'" (Non-album track)
|Drum Boy 117||The Polka Beat For Your Dancing Feet|
|1971||"Hej Ha Um Pa Pa"
b/w "You Get Married, Not Me"
Both tracks with Casey Siewierski
|Jay Jay 354|
|"You Have My Heart"
b/w "Jukebox Cheer"
|Jay Jay 356|
|"Wish I Was Single Again"
b/w "Happy Carnival"
|Jay Jay 357|
|"I Stopped For A Beer"
b/w "Thank You" (from Thank You -- Polka Hall Of Fame)
|Jay Jay 360|
|1972||"Some Of These Days"
b/w "I Thought I'd Never Love Again" (from Bombs)
|Jay Jay 362||Unforgettable Hits|
|"Someday You'll Want Me"
b/w "Italian Song" (Non-album track)
|Jay Jay 363|
|"Everybody Loves Somebody"
|Jay Jay 364|
|"Laughing On The Outside"
b/w "You Have It" (Non-album track)
|Jay Jay 365|
|"Ta Ra Ra Boom Tiay"
b/w "Blue Skirt" (Non-album track)
|Jay Jay 369||Bombs|
|"Now That I'm Single Again"
b/w "Play Play Play" (Non-album track)
|Jay Jay 371|
|"It's So Exciting"
b/w "Polish Spirits"
Both sides with the Lucky Harmony Boys
|Jay Jay 377||Non-album tracks|
|1973||"I Love Jelly Beans"
b/w "Happy Times Polka"
|Jay Jay 392|
- King of Chicago-style polka dies; co-wrote Sox fight song by Dave Hoekstra, The Chicago Sun-Times, August 22, 2006.
- Walter "Li'l Wally" Jagiello: 1930 - 2006, by Trevor Jensen, The Chicago Tribune, August 23, 2006, Accessed August 24, 2006.
- Heise, Kenan (1998). Chaos, Creativity and Culture: A Sampling of Chicago in the Twentieth Century. First Edition. Salt Lake City: Gibbs Smith. p. 93. ISBN 0-87905-054-3.