Singer Peter Lemongello is still known as the King of Mood Rock. But did you know the Long Island native used to build homes on Long Island?
“I really enjoyed that portion of my life, and I thought it was very creative,” says Lemongello, 63, now a Florida resident who will be performing a comeback show May 7 at the Theatre at Westbury. “I thought it was a really good business and something that brought a lot of joy to people.”
But sometimes it didn’t, says Lemongello, who became famous selling record albums on TV commercials in the 1970s.
“The people were very happy when I met them and almost divorced by the time the house was done,” he says, adding, “and sometimes people hate their builders because they blame them for their money troubles.”
Lemongello says some of the houses he built on Long Island turned out to be worth millions of dollars. “I should never have sold them,” says Lemongello, who grew up in North Babylon and lived in Islip and Hauppauge for a time. “That’s OK. That’s just part of the game.”
He says that he once sold a house in Sagaponack to Truman Capote’s friend. When Capote came with him to see it, he “said the funniest thing I ever heard,” Lemongello says.
“I was married with two kids and we had moved into the house until we sold it,” Lemongello says. “He came with a friend and he said, ‘So what will you do with the children?’
“We said, ‘We’re going to keep them.’ What the hell do you mean? They’re not part of the deal here?”
Lemongello has visited Long Island over the years, but plans to stay put down South. “I love going back … I just love Florida more,” he says. “I’ve been living here so long I can’t take the cold weather as well as I used to, if I ever did.”
Peter Lemongello photo