On November eighth, the Long Island Music Hall of Fame welcomed eleven new inductees in the 2018 class. Inductees included a variety of different talents- from musicians to talk show personalities, to label executives- each accomplished in their respective fields. The Long Island Music Hall of Fame serves to celebrate talented artists that have either been born on Long Island or have spent a majority of their career on Long Island. Additionally, the Long Island Music Hall of Fame also offers scholarships and education to Long Island music students.
This year’s inductee class included Taking Back Sunday, Melanie, Seymour Stein, Good Times Magazine, ‘Cousin’ Brucie Morrow, EPMD, Elliot Murphy, Jon ‘Bowzer’ Bauman, Jimmy Webb, Artie Kornfeld, and Michael Lang. Each inductee has had varying experiences in each of their respective industries, but despite these differences, their connection to Long Island serves as a unifying force
For renowned songwriter Jimmy Webb, his location- which has fluctuated quite a bit over the years- has had a heavy impact on his songwriting.
“It’s location, and it’s also age. The east coast and Long Island is a particularly straightforward place- there’s more reality right in front of you here, and dealing with a lot of subject matter, not just love songs, I’m doing a solo album next year, and all the songs will be inspired by New York and Long Island. It’s made a big difference,” said Webb.
For Parrish Smith of rap group EPMD, his Long Island background has impacted his music as well. “That’s where we drew a lot of our inspiration from,” said Smith, speaking of his hometown of Brentwood, Long Island.
Billy Joel, who attended the Long Island Music Hall of Fame Induction to induct Tommy Byrnes and Elliot Murphy, shared that his Long Island heritage has had an impact on his music as well. “It has everything to do with my music. They say write what you know, and this is what I know,” Said Joel, about his Long Island background.
In addition to the overwhelmingly strong connection to their hometown, some of the inductees and inductors also shared the belief that their industry is changing- and it’s not for the better.
DJ Diamond, of EPMD, shared that in his opinion, the genre of rap music has taken a turn for the worse in recent years. “Rap music is horrible now. The new rap music, there’s no intelligence to it- it’s all talking about doing drugs and committing suicide, it’s not what we used to do,” said Diamond.
As for Melanie, who was one of only three women to perform at the Woodstock festival, and one of out of two women to perform solo, spoke about the progress female representation in the music industry since then. “It’s a man’s world- you can’t get away from it- it’s the palette that we work with. But it wasn’t about that, it was about expressing ourselves. The canvas is what it is, and you work with it,” Said Melanie.
For Lynette Carr- Hicks, who was awarded the Music Educator of Note Award- which is given to music teachers on Long Island who have excelled in music education and is exceptionally versed in music- there has been a shift in teaching music recently.
“Now with technology, and all different types of music it [music education] has changed a lot, so you have to make sure that the kids love and enjoy what you love to do, so you have to bring a lot of energy into it and make the kids love music,” Said Carr-Hicks.
To keep her students interested, Carr-Hicks shared that she “Has fun with it- I smile all the time, I’m energetic, and I have fun.” However, for inductees Bruce Morrow and Jon Bauman, change has been beneficial to them and their profession.
Bruce Morrow, better known professionally as Cousin Brucie, one of the eleven inductees, played a pivotal role in bringing British music to America. Morrow was one of the first radio hosts to give airtime to Beatles music in the states. To him, British music will always have an impact on American music. Speaking about British music and its influence on America, Morrow said, “But they took it, and they gave it a new energy. So did it affect what we were doing? Absolutely. It gave us a new energy, and a new spirit, so we owe the Brits a lot.”
For inductee Jon ‘Bowzer’ Bauman, he has been the source of a lot of change in his industry. Feeling motivated by his industry and passion for music, Bauman has worked to have legislation passed in thirty-four states that helps protect musicians, specifically their band names. The Truth in Music Act ensures that the name of a preexisting band or group cannot be utilized by a different band or group unless one or more of the original band members are part of the new band or group.
“Generally people who are in the arts are a bit more humanistic and tend to lead towards a certain political direction because of that and I’m no exception,” Said Bauman, “I believe in diversity, I loathe bias, I’ve lived in a multicultural universe for my entire life and I’m proud of that, and I fight for that.”
Featured Image By Meredith Bushman