Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Lou Reed and his wife, performance artist Laurie Anderson, were chatting with avant-garde composer John Zorn, while renowned rapper Rakim walked past them, in search of "The Magic Garden" stars Carole & Paula.
"We're starting to show how eclectic the Long Island music scene is," said James Faith, the Hall of Fame's chief executive. "It's an amazing night."
Though Reed and hip-hop pioneers Eric B. & Rakim were the big draws at The Long Island Music Hall of Fame's third induction awards ceremony and fundraising gala, this year's induction class spanned the musical genres from Latin big band leader Eddie Palmeri to Grammy-winning gospel singer The Rev. Donnie McClurkin, from New York Philharmonic clarinetist Stanley Drucker to progressive rockers Dream Theater.
That kind of inclusiveness was also the hallmark of My Father's Place in Roslyn, which became the first venue inducted into the Long Island Hall.
It was also the calling card of former WLIR program director Denis McNamara, who was inducted by Long Island Music Hall of Famer Joan Jett, who hailed him as a groundbreaker in radio. "It seems impossible to believe now, but it took a huge amount of courage for Denis to play my punk-rock, girl-led band's songs, especially since the biggest bands for WLIR at the time were the Grateful Dead and the Doors," she said. "But there was change in the air."
East Northport's McNamara recognized his part in building the area's national reputation. "Because of what happened on the air at WLIR, especially in the '80s, Long Island is seen as a gateway for new music and emerging artists," he said. "That same compelling force now lives on in the scholarships of the Long Island Music Hall of Fame."
Proceeds from Tuesday night's gala will be used for scholarships for Long Island musicians, as well as help fund the permanent home of the Long Island Music Hall of Fame in Port Jefferson.
Also inducted into the Hall of Fame last night were jazz vibraphonist Teddy Charles, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Morton Gould, jazz drummer Roy Haynes, rock guitarist Al Kooper, agent Steve Martin and girl group The Shangri-Las.