Born in Milwaukee, Bruce Yeko was fascinated by theatre from an early age. Later, he travelled to theaters in Chicago to see shows before they came to Milwaukee, and then moved on to New York. Yeko made his first pilgrimage to the city in 1962, when, after asking a policeman directions to Broadway, he saw a matinee of I Can Get It for You Wholesale and then an evening performance of Subways Are For Sleeping. After their marriage, Bruce and his wife Doris would travel from their home in Connecticut to New York (and beyond) to see four or five new musicals each week; by 1977, the couple could modestly claim that, over the previous twelve years, they had seen more musicals that anyone else in the world.
Bruce Yeko not only acquired Broadway cast albums but was, from the age of eight years, a keen collector of trading cards. He began selling them at age sixteen and then, after graduating from the University of Milwaukee and working as an accountant, he commenced full-time business as a trading card dealer at the age of 22 years. By the mid-1970s, Yeko claimed to have the largest collection of trading cards in the world, with twenty million items. His wife Doris became involved in the business, specialising in current trading cards while Bruce concentrated on the vintage ones. Their mail-order service, based in their home in Georgetown, also dealt in out-of-print recordings of stage musicals and film scores.
In 1975, the Yekos turned their attention to producing their own theatre recordings, concentrating on little-known or short-lived Broadway and off-Broadway productions that had little hope of gaining a mainstream record contract to produce an original cast album. Within only five years, it could be said of the couple that "their dedication to preserving musicals is so complete that Ben Bagley aptly calls them 'the musical theatre experts'."
In 1978, the Yekos established the Original Cast Record Company.