Music of Long Island

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This article is about the music of Nassau and Suffolk Counties, Long Island. For the music of Kings and Queens Counties, Long Island, see Music of New York City.

The music of Long Island has a long history, as the island has long been part of US history and is near the second most populous city in North America, yet is located in the suburbs and as such is strongly influenced by youth culture. Psychedelic rock was widely popular in the 1960s as flocks of disaffected youth travelled to NYC to participate in protest and the culture of the time. R & B also has a history in Long Island, especially in Nassau County, where population is denser and more closely influenced by New York City (Queens and Brooklyn). Long Island has more recently been known for its association with indie music as well as punk rock.

Musical artists from Long Island[edit]

Notable musicians of the Long Island (Nassau and Suffolk County) music scene include;

Pop[edit]

Famous musical artists have roots on Long Island. For example, superstar diva Mariah Carey was born and raised in Huntington in Suffolk County. R&B singer Ashanti grew up in Glen Cove. Lou Reed grew up in Freeport, Paris-based singer-songwriter Elliott Murphy was raised in Garden City (the song "Garden City" describing his teenage years is included in the album Murph the Surf). Joe Tex lived in Hempstead when he moved from Texas, the group Soul for Real is from Wyndanch and Billy Joel is from Hicksville in Nassau County. The Rascals (initially known as The Young Rascals) were famous for rehearsing on Long Island.

Billy Joel's debut solo album, Cold Spring Harbor, was a reference to the Long Island village of the same name. Many compositions by Billy Joel pertain to life on Long Island, particularly his youth. Examples include the songs "Keepin' The Faith", "Captain Jack", "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me" and most notably "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant", which names local eateries and hangouts. The restaurant itself was Christiano's in Syosset, New York (recently closed). Also, the song "Movin' Out" is a highly identifiable song for Long Islanders. Its commiseration of the increasing cost for living on Long Island has its protagonists working too hard just to "move up", all too familiar to this island's inhabitants. The songs "No Man's Land" and "Downeaster Alexa" lament the increasing development of the island, the latter song specifically referring to the eastern island and its effect on the fishing industry.

Hall Of Fame Songwriter Ellie Greenwich was raised in Levittown, and is responsible for some of the most recognized songs in history (Be My Baby, Chapel Of Love, Doo Wah Diddy, Leader Of the Pack to name a few). Widely regarded as the driving force behind the 'Girl Group' movement of the 1950s and 1960s, Ms. Greenwich's accomplishments and accolades are too numerous to mention, but include: she has received 19 BMI awards, 25 Gold & Platinum albums, her songs have sold over 40 million copies worldwide, and she was inducted into the Songwriter's Hall Of Fame in 1991. Ellie Greenwich Official Website

Heavy metal[edit]

The pioneering heavy metal/psychedelic rock group Blue Öyster Cult came together around Stony Brook University releasing hits such as "(Don't Fear) The Reaper," "Astronomy," and "Godzilla." Pioneering technical death metal band Suffocation come from the Coram area in Suffolk County. In addition, the progressive metal band Dream Theater has most of its members stemming from Long Island, including John Petrucci, John Myung, and Mike Portnoy. Drummer John Miceli who plays with Meat Loaf (and formerly with Blue Öyster Cult), is from Port Jefferson. He currently resides in St. James. Dee Snider, the lead singer of Twisted Sister, hails from Baldwin.

Rock and roll[edit]

Eddie Money was a graduate of Island Trees High School in Levittown. Some of the members of The Good Rats hail from Baldwin. Warner Brothers rock band Gods Child, whose single "Everybody's 1" was a Billboard hit in 1994, includes members Chris Seefried, Gary DeRosa and Craig Ruda, all of whom grew up in Dix Hills. Seefried is currently the songwriter-producer for hit indie-pop band Fitz and the Tantrums. Four-time Grammy Award winner, Pat Benatar grew up in Lindenhurst. Brian Setzer (Stray Cats The Brian Setzer Orchestra), and Lee Rocker (Stray Cats) hail from Massapequa

Rap and hip-hop[edit]

Long Island is known for producing some of the most popular acts in hip-hop and rap music. Hall of Famers Public Enemy featuring Chuck D, Professor Griff and Flava Flav and Five-O from Roosevelt. Leaders of the New School (Busta Rhymes Charlie Brown and Dinco D) from Uniondale; Method Man, the group UBC and Prodigy from Mobb Deep from Hempstead; underground rapper Aesop Rock from Northport; EPMD (Erick Sermon and Parrish Smith), Brentwood, NY ; Keith MurrayCentral Islip, NY ; Hard 2 Obtain from Roosevelt and Lakeview: Bad Boy-associated acts Black Rob and Craig Mack grew up in Brentwood; producer Prince Paul Goretex from Non Phixion and Supercoven R.A. The Rugged Man, Rakim from the Eric B. & Rakim rap duo hails from Wyandanch. Apademik The Disciple[4] is a Hip-Hop Entertainer and the Producer of the group 7 Profitz[5] with singer Elle Madison.[6] Apademik The Disciple and singer Elle Madison received a positive review in Good Times Magazine, where they are quoted as being, "Long Island Hip-Hop Stars".[7] Template:Diabolic from Huntington Mc. Sappy Queens NY, Wurmy, Port Jefferson Station and lets not forget LL Cool J from Bay Shore

Alternative/Indie[edit]

Modern music in Long Island includes indie music which has rapidly grown in popularity, particularly in Suffolk County where the local emo and hardcore punk scene continues to grow. It has been felt nationally by the moderate success of local bands such as The Dawning, Enraged, Glassjaw, Head Automatica, Silent Majority, Rory Lowe Band, Taking Back Sunday, Brand New, Straylight Run, The Movielife, Nightmare of You, I Am the Avalanche, From Autumn to Ashes, and Edison Glass. Many churches and synagogues, as well as VFW Halls and community centers constantly house underground shows, affording cheap entertainment and an underlying sense of "scene community". Pop punk bands also have an impressive following, with bands like Patent Pending. It is a self-serving "business", so to speak, and most bands that are known on the island spill over into adjoining regions such as New Jersey and Connecticut. Bands Envy On The Coast, Paint the Target, Broadcaster, Tomahawk Chop, Stereo Skyline, Greyscale and Bayside also hail from Long Island. R22, Bela Kiss, The Resurrection, Anterrabae, Stray From The Path, They Fall to Pieces, The Ambition, The World We Knew, This Is Hell, Crime In Stereo, From The Pawn, and the late Skycamefalling are also frequent contributors to the LI hardcore/metalcore scene. Shadow Eden and Ollocs lead Long Island's small instrumental demographic, and J.Rad is the Island's most prominent hard rock band. Moreover, another hardcore band made headway in the late 1990s;Overthrow. They released a full-length CD on Triple Crown Records and disbanded in 2001. Outsider punk-experimentalist bassist/flutist Steve Lieberman The Gangsta Rabbi from Freeport has played many of the largest Long Island venues as the Crazy Donkey [1], the Downtown and the Islip Pavilion, taking advantage of the "pay to play" system by purchasing all the tickets himself and distributing them to fans for free to build his audience. This helped him to be noticed by JDub Records who signed him in December 2009 [2].

However, the Islip Pavilion is no longer in existence, and the Downtown is now the VP.

Ska[edit]

Long Island's ska scene has also garnered an impressive following. Many local venues, such as the now-defunct Crazy Donkey, Da Funky Phish (defunct), Old First Church in Huntington, The Broadway Bar (The Village Pub South), and the late Downtown often hold ska-oriented concerts. The long-disbanded Edna's Goldfish whose trombonist Ian McKenzie has gone on to join famed ska punk band Catch 22 were one of the dominant bands in the late nineties music scene on Long Island. Other defunct bands from the Long Island Ska Scene in the late 1990s included the likes of Step Lively, Channel 59 and Freaks from the Apocalypse. The late High School Football Heroes formed in the year 2000, also hailed from LI. Other ska punk bands such as Premarital Sax, 32 Degrees In Hell and Forced Laughter also formed in the early 00's. The experimental jazz and skacore band The Vagabonds as well as The Watergate Brigade from East Islip also calls Long Island home. The Arrogant Sons of Bitches came out of Baldwin in the mid-nineties. Though the group has since disbanded, several members continue to participate in frontman Jeff Rosenstock's current project, Bomb the Music Industry!. Groove rock band Stealing Jane is frequently found in ska lineups to their ska influences and their origins in the scene. Huntington based band Young Rebel Goombas with their ska influenced trop-rock sound, has also found an international audience.The Scofflaws a 1980s ska band out of Huntington, still play shows together. Spider Nick and the Maddogs, (lead singer/saxophonist, Nick Martielli, was once a physics teacher at Holy Trinity High School in Hicksville) formed in 1996, also were based in Huntington, NY.

Classical[edit]

The classical music scene on Long Island, as elsewhere, is struggling to find its audience among the more popular movements of music. Despite this, several groups operate on Long Island, to varying degrees of success. Among them are the Long Island Philharmonic.

Venues and music education[edit]

The Nassau Coliseum has been the indoor arena used by national touring acts to stage concerts. Jones Beach State Park is a popular place to view summer concerts, with new as well as classic artists performing there during the summer months at its outdoor venue. It hosts a large Fourth of July fireworks show every year, and the stands are filled. People park cars along the highway leading to the show, and others watch from the nearby beaches.

In 2003, a group of local business people/music lovers began meeting to create a Long Island Music Hall of Fame. The organization was incorporated as a not for profit corporation in July 2005. It held its first inauguration ceremony in October 2006, inducting prominent musical Long Islanders from various genres and eras. Plans for the future include the creation of a physical space for a museum of Long Island music history that will also serve as a multimedia resource center, an educational facility and outreach program, and a venue for musical performance.

Long Island is also known for its schools' music programs. Many schools in Suffolk County have distinguished music programs, with high numbers of students who are accepted into the state-wide All-State music groups, or even the National All-Eastern Coast music groups. Both the Suffolk County and Nassau County Music Educator's Associations are both recognized by MENC, and host numerous events, competitions, and other music-related activities. Many schools are also well-recognized for their rich music programs, such as Stony Brook University and Long Island High School for the Arts.[8]

Online, the nonprofit Long Island Musicians Network [3] enables area musicians to easily find other players to jam with and perform. The heart of the free online venue is its members domain, where musicians can post detailed info about themselves, a photo, their musical tastes and preferences, and info about the kind of musicians they're looking to get together with. Members communicate via the Web site's free email service.

With the rise of DIY and Noise related tape culture, Long Island too saw the rise of underground noise & diy scenes which included bands such as Insect, Jazz Became Elevator Music, United States, Megerk, amongst others. The DIY co-operative also booked shows around the NYC and surrounding areas showcasing Long Island's underground.

Another DIY faction, The Long Island Alternative Music Association, interviewed various artists bringing attention to the lack of venues opening their doors to independent Long Island artists. LIAMA, as they are commonly referred to, often book shows at the Plainview Old-Bethpage Public Library, to help to alleviate the problems created in local scenes form the shortage of underground supportive venues and booking agencies. Employment for musicians has always been a challenging pursuit on Long Island, which is largely considered to be an overly saturated competition pool. The Advent of talent directories has helped stream line the relationships between venue owners and the bands that seek to play them. The days of mailing unwanted and unsolicited demos and flyers to venue owners are fast becoming a thing of the past. The reason is simple to understand when you consider the range of choices a single internet search can bring. Entire musical programs can be created and booked in less time than it takes to open and discard an unsolicited and often innapropriate demo mailing. There are many talent search engines that operate on a national platform and feature searches by region. The problem with these search engines is that they often return results based on a geographic net-throw. This usually means that a search for something local, especially on Long Island, can return results for band located in Connecticut and New England if it happens to be placed within 50 – 100 miles. There are some quality local search engines like Local Band For Hire.com [4] who specialize in entertainment local only to Long Island and Metro NY.

See also[edit]

References[edit]