Preview: Long Island Music & Entertainment Hall of Fame Grand Opening at Stony Brook

The Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame hosted a VIP red carpet preview Tuesday night at its new museum at 97 Main Street — the former site of the Ward Melville Heritage Organization’s Educational and Cultural Center at Stony Brook.

“This is Long Island’s first Hall of Fame! The Long Island Music & Entertainment Hall of Fame!” announced LIMEHOF Chairman Ernie Canadeo at a dedication ceremony for the museum, which will open to the public beginning Friday noon.

The nonprofit, founded in 2004, has hosted seven galas (every two years from 2006 to 2018) and hosted more than 120 artists, but the Stony Brook Museum is its first home.

The seed for the Hall of Fame came from co-founders Jim Faith, Rich L’Hommedieu and Norm Prusslin, who met at Stony Brook University in the fall of 2003 to discuss the idea.

“We were fed up with Long Island being identified as Amy Fisher and Joey Buttafuoco. There are great artists who came from here with tremendous talent. That really got us interested,” Faith said. “After the first gala of 2006 at the Patchogue Theater we were blown away by everyone who was there. That gave us the energy to keep going.”

Celebrity guests at the preview included Twisted Sister guitarist Jay Jay French and Mark Mendoza, guitarist Randy Jackson, Zebra bassist Felix Hanemann and drummer Guy Gelso, Blue Öyster Cult bassist Joe Bouchard and drummer Albert Bouchard, singer/songwriters Jen Chapin and Paula Janis and Carole Demas of The Magic Garden; and singer/songwriter Elliott Murphy.

Brooklyn native Jen Chapin, daughter of singer-songwriter Harry...

Brooklyn’s Jen Chapin, daughter of singer-songwriter Harry Chapin, left, and her mother Sandy Chapin, during the Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame Ribbon Cutting and VIP Red Carpet Preview at Stony Brook, Tuesday, November 22, 2022. Credit: Newsday/Steve Pfost

On the first floor of the museum is the first exhibit, Long Island’s Legendary Club Scene – 1960s-1980s, which highlights Long Island concert venues such as My Father’s Place in Roslyn, The Mad Hatter in Stony Brook, Oak Beach Inn and Malibu in Lido Beach, Speaks in Island Park and Pip’s Comedy Club in Brooklyn.

“People look at everything and remember: You can never go back, but you can get closer,” says creative director Kevin O’Callaghan. “It is both a dream come true and an affair of the heart. I’m watching my heroes walk in tonight, it’s really amazing.”

French recalled the lessons he learned working on the Long Island Club Circuit.

“The Long Island clubs allowed us to do arena-concert-level performances. It taught us so much,” he said. “Today’s young musicians will never see that again. This is a true testament to an era that is now over.”

On the second floor, the museum has its permanent Hall of Fame exhibit with more than 120 inductees. A variety of authentic insider artifacts are on display throughout the building, including Harry Chapin’s Medal of Honor, Joan Jett’s 1983 Jaguar, Billy Joel’s Harley-Davidson motorcycle, Perry Como’s Emmy Award, Twisted Sister’s outfits worn on stage, stage dresses by Debbie Gibson and Taylor Dayne, Tim Bogert of Vanilla Fudge’s bass, Darryl “DMC” McDaniels’ stage-worn sunglasses and Adidas sneakers, Murphy’s first acoustic guitar and more.

“I’m just glad that happened,” Jackson said, looking around the room. “It took a long time but I love this place. I am very happy with it.”

After enjoying cocktails and hors d’oeuvres while browsing the two-story 8,800-square-foot museum, guests were treated to a series of live performances by several LIMEHOF newcomers on a stage at the center of the new first exhibition of vintage Equipment from the club spoiled days in the mid-70s.

John Gatto of The Good Rats, left, and Felix Hanemann...

The Good Rats’ John Gatto (left) and Zebra’s Felix Hanemann speak Tuesday, April 22.
Credit: Newsday/Steve Pfost

Janis and Demas opened the show with “The Hello Song” followed by “The Magic Garden Song” which took the crowd back to when they were 5 years old. Chapin (“Feed Your Baby,” “Lullaby”) and Murphy (“The Last of the Rock Stars,” “On Elvis Presley’s Birthday”) each played mini acoustic sets before Zebra turned up the volume with “As I Said Before.” cranked up. “1001 Nights” and “Lullaby”. The Bouchard brothers, with current BOC drummer Jules Radino, closed the night with a trio of classics, “Burnin’ for You”, “Astronomy” and “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper”.

Former Newsday journalist Wayne Robins became the youngest inductee into the Hall of Fame for his years of reporting on the Long Island music scene from 1975 to 1995.

The LIMEHOF Museum is open all year round from Wednesday to Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit: limusichalloffame.org.

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