Long Island’s eclectic influence on popular culture was on display Thursday night as The Long Island Music Hall of Fame celebrated its 10th anniversary with a star-studded gala at The Space at Westbury.
Public Enemy’s Chuck D said he has been asked to induct several people into Long Island’s Hall of Fame and could never work out the scheduling. But even though his arena tour with Prophets of Rage is set to graduate to stadiums worldwide next year, the Roosevelt rapper couldn’t resist inducting Brooklyn’s Big Daddy Kane.
“Kane is the most-skilled rapper ever and he’s a great friend,” Chuck D said. “I had to be here.”
It was a sentiment shared by many at the biennial fundraiser for the group’s museum, scheduled to open in Wyandanch in 2018.
Steven Van Zandt, who received the Harry Chapin Humanitarian Award for his Rock and Roll Forever Foundation, said he was honored to be associated with the singer-songwriter and with Long Island and thrilled to be able to speak about his quest to bring a music education curriculum to public schools. “We want to connect students to music and connect music to history,” the E Street Band guitarist said on the red carpet. “We want to be that cool class in schools.”
Carle Place native Steve Vai said he flew in from a tour stop in Ottawa in his current tour specifically to be inducted. Roslyn Harbor’s Charles Koppelman, the legendary music exec who has worked with Barbra Streisand and Eddie Murphy on their hit albums, took a break from working with the estate of Prince to receive his award.
Amagansett’s Carter Burwell, best known for scoring Coen brothers movies, as well as “Twilight,” and Smithtown-raised Vince Giordano, the jazz bandleader also known for his role in “Boardwalk Empire,” were also inducted, along with The NYCB Theatre at Westbury, and a Brooklyn contingent of rocker Garland Jeffreys, rapper Big Daddy Kane and rock instrumentalists Santo & Johnny.
Rock legend Lenny Kaye said that he wanted to induct the late Sandy Pearlman, who spent much of his youth in Stony Brook and helped create Blue Öyster Cult, to talk about how influential Pearlman was on his work and on raising rock to an art form. Hewlett-raised Jim Steinman was unable to accept his award due to illness, but was inducted by his longtime collaborator Meat Loaf.