TOWN OF HUNTINGTON, New York, August 21
BY: Andrew Wroblewski (With additional reporting by Luann Dallojacono)
Dust off the red carpet at The Paramount because the Long Island Music Hall of Fame (LIMHoF) is coming to town.
The Hall of Fame will once again take over Huntington village as they induct their annual “Class of Honorees” during an Oct. 23 ceremony, which will cap off a night of performances, tributes and special guests.
“The Paramount is honored to once again host the fifth annual Long Island Music Hall of Fame inductions,” said Stephen Ubertini, a co-owner of The Paramount. “We always wanted The Paramount to be a home for Long Island music, and from these Hall of Fame legends to the up-and-comers we book as opening acts, the history of music on the island is strong.”
Among the honorees are the original members of the Billy Joel Band, including Liberty DeVitto (drums, percussion), the late Doug Stegmeyer (bass guitar, backing vocals), Russell Javors (rhythm and lead guitar) and Richie Cannata (keyboards, saxophones). They will join Joel, a 2006 inductee, in the hall.
“It is a true honor, it really is,” Cannata, who played the sax solo on one of Joel’s biggest hits, “It’s Still Rock and Roll To Me,” said Wednesday. “I’m very grateful for those that have recognized it. I’m on cloud nine.”
Cannata, 65, who as of late has been playing with John Stamos at The Bitter End in New York City and hosts frequent jam sessions at the venue, plans to take the stage with DeVitto and Javors for the first time in nearly 30 years and play a song.
“We’re really excited that The Billy Joel Band will be playing and they’re excited too,” Jim Faith, original founding member and current vice chairman of the LIMHoF, said. “They were the original players on some of Joel’s most important albums.”
As far as what song will be played, though, Cannata kept quiet.
“Oh, I know what song, but I’m not telling,” said Cannata, who has also been working as the music director for former Yankee Bernie Williams. “You’ll just have to come see.”
The Hall of Fame will also mark the anniversary of Joel’s historic 1987 trip to Russia – which made him one of the first western rock stars to tour the former Soviet Union – with a special award.
A 501(c)(3) organization, the Long Island Music Hall of Fame selects its inductees from a list of musicians that were born, raised, or have resided on geographic Long Island for a significant portion of their career. This year’s class will consist of 11 new inductees, a few of whom have ties to Huntington.
Along with the Billy Joel band, singer-songwriter Debbie Gibson, a former Lloyd Neck resident, and Northport native Patti LuPone will also be enshrined.
“So honored to be in such amazing company,” Gibson posted on her Facebook page.
Born in Brooklyn, Gibson, 43, came to fame with her chart-topping 1988 single, “Foolish Beat,” which she wrote, produced and sung at just 17 years old. Gibson recently made waves with her latest album, “Ms. Vocalist,” and her appearance on the fifth season of NBC’s reality television series, “The Celebrity Apprentice.”
LuPone, a two-time Grammy and Tony Award winner, was born and raised in Northport. The 65-year old singer has held prominent roles in some of the world’s biggest musicals – such as Fantine in the original London cast of “Les Misérables” and her portrayal of Eva Perón in Broadway’s 1979 original production, “Evita.”
“What makes this year’s class so special is that we’re leaning a little bit toward the business side of things even though there are some pretty heavy performing artists,” said Faith who also detailed plans to enshrine inductees in the upcoming LIMHoF museum – the location of which will be announced in the coming months. “Our criteria is for whoever created the music fabric of Long Island and the business side and promoters are a big part of making it all happen… We’re really excited to shine a light on these people.”
Filling out the remainder of the class is record producer and music industry executive, Clive Davis; concert promoter Ron Delsener; lyricist Gerry Goffin; record producer and remixer, Steve Thompson; and rapper and record producer, Kurtis Blow. Darryl “D.M.C.” Matthews McDaniels – of hip-hop group Run-D.M.C. – was a previous inductee, but will be this year’s Harry Chapin Award recipient.
“On behalf of the entire LIMHoF Board, we are very excited to honor our fifth round of inductees,” LIMHoF chairman Jeff James said in a press release. “We are humbled to have such support from these industry giants who have contributed so much to the music history of Long Island.”
General seating tickets for the gala are $75-$150. Tickets are available at The Paramount box office or online at http://www.paramountny.com/. Premium VIP seating, which includes a full dinner along with the show, is also available through the LIMHoF at 631-331-0808 or email@example.com.
Originally published: Long Islander News: The Long Islander (Thursday, August 21, 2014; Front page)