Long Island has always been a fertile musical breeding ground, and after almost 20 years of seeking a home, the Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame (LIMEHoF) has finally found a location in a beautiful, spacious building in Stony Brook, New York. The Hall was inaugurated with a grand opening event on November 22, 2022.
Founded in 2004, the LIMEHoF is dedicated to honoring and supporting Long Island’s remarkably varied musical heritage. LIMEHoF has been seeking a permanent facility since their inception, and has had a mobile exhibit for some years, but now Long Island finally has a fitting permanent showcase for a dazzling roster of talent: among LIMEHoF’s 122 inductees are Billy Joel, John Coltrane, Al Kooper, Barbra Streisand, Twisted Sister, Carole King, Clive Davis, Cyndi Lauper, Dream Theater, EPMD, George Gershwin, Harry Chapin, Kurtis Blow, Morton Gould, Perry Como, “Cousin” Brucie Morrow, Simon and Garfunkel, Tony Bennett, Whodini, and Mariah Carey – to name a few. I was personally very happy to see the Hall usher in their newest inductee: music and pop culture journalist Wayne Robins.
Yes, Wayne Robins, Copper writer, who was Newsday’s pop music journalist for around 20 years. Newsday is Long Island’s major newspaper and everyone on the Long Island music scene read him. Wayne has authored several books, was editor of gonzo-rock magazine Creem, and has contributed to The Village Voice, Rolling Stone, Melody Maker and others. He is an adjunct professor of journalism at St. John’s University and writes the “Critical Conditions” column on Substack. He is also a friend.
The opening of the Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame has special meaning to me, and to many of the LI rockers and honorees who attended the opening ceremony. I’ve lived on Long Island almost all of my life, and have been involved with (and perhaps have made a fractional contribution to) the LI music scene since the late 1960s. I’ll admit – I was really excited to be able to attend the opening. And I’m sure it was particularly special for Ernie Canadeo, LIMEHoF chairman, co-founder Norm Prusslin, and other LIMEHoF people at the event.
The museum comprises two floors. The upper floor hosts a semi-permanent exhibit space with a variety of memorabilia, musical instruments, stage wear, concert posters, and other items. The lower floor will feature a changing roster of exhibits. Among the items on display are a pair of autographed sneakers from Run DMC, a Billy Joel 1978 tour jacket and one of his motorcycles, a couple of Morton Gould’s notebooks, some of Twisted Sister’s stage outfits (including the one Dee Snider wore on the cover of the Stay Hungry album, complete with the original bone he held for the photo shoot), Elliot Murphy’s guitar, hundreds of album covers, and much more, including – how could it not? – a signed cowbell from Blue Öyster Cult.
The current first-floor exhibit is “Long Island’s Legendary Club Scene – 1960s – 1980s.” It brought knowing smiles to many of the attendees who lived that scene – including me. In the late 1970s and early 1980s I played in a new wave band called the Lines, and Wayne Robins happened to have been in the audience at an early gig. He wrote a favorable review for Newsday. It helped to break the band. We went on to achieve local notoriety – once opening for Duran Duran on their first-ever US gig at Spit in Levittown (those really were the days) – but never went beyond triple-A into the majors. Wayne and I lost touch for decades, reconnecting thanks to social media and Copper, and it was wonderful to see him again after all that time, and see him get the honor he deserved for being such a big part of chronicling and even helping to shape Long Island’s music scene.
The Club Scene exhibit, created by renowned designer Kevin O’Callaghan (a Long Islander who created the MTV Movie Awards trophy), takes attendees through a club crawl of LI’s music venues at the time, with replicas of some key (it not all that glamorous) clubs like My Father’s Place, Malibu, Tuey’s, Hammerheads, Rumrunners, Speaks, and others, where many a Long Islander misspent their youth listening to bands like the Good Rats, Mazarin, Swift Kick, the Stanton Anderson Band, the Bonnie Parker Band and legions of rockers. As Jay Jay French notes in his book Twisted Business, the club scene was huge in those days and bands could make a lot of money. Raising the drinking age to 21 and the advent of disco killed it all. The exhibit is beautifully designed with a dash of good-natured humor – to name one example, the “what to wear to a club” wall is very funny, especially since it’s right on.
There’s a stage for live performances, and it’s also special: a replica of a period-era stage setup, complete with PA with immense bass bins and high-frequency horns, part of Zebra’s 1980s rig and donated by the band. (It’s really loud, adding yet another element of period-correct clubland authenticity.) There are also red Marshall stacks, a Hammond B3 organ that Mark Stein played in Vanilla Fudge, and a backdrop of advertisements from the era, among other accoutrements.
Speaking of live performances…the word was that there would be live music to close out the event. I’d heard they couldn’t announce the performers in advance, in case there were any last-minute schedule changes. Well…Elliot Murphy played a short but wonderful acoustic solo set, followed by all three members of Zebra rocking out, having lost nothing to the passing of time. I’m glad I followed my rock and roll instincts and stuck around past the event’s official closing time, because the evening ended with Albert and Joe Bouchard, founding members of Blue Öyster Cult, and current BÖC drummer Jules Radino playing a three-song set that included the spellbinding “Astronomy,” which the band dedicated to Stony Brook’s Sandy Pearlman, one of BÖC’s early managers (and a vital contributor to the band’s oeuvre during their formative days), and professor, producer, and entrepreneur. As it’s no secret that I’m a very big BÖC fan, my visit to LIMEHoF ended on an unexpected high note. You can bring back the good old days.
I did manage to take some photos.
The Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame is located at 97 Main Street, Stony Brook, New York and is open Wednesdays through Sundays. Admission ranges from $15.00 – $19.50 and children under 12 get in free.
Header image courtesy of Ed Shin/LIMEHoF. All other images courtesy of the author except where noted.