Long Island Music Hall of Fame to pay tribute to late Forest Hills musician at awards gala

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Photo courtesy of LIMHOF

The Long Island Music Hall of Fame (LIMOHF) is paying tribute to the late Forest Hills musician Leslie West in its New Year’s Eve “Best of the Awards Galas” TV special on Thursday, Dec. 31. 

The 90-minute show is being presented by Jovia Financial Credit Union and will air Thursday night at 9 p.m. simultaneously on News 12 Long Island plus (Optimum channel 61) and Fios (Verizon channel 530), and will be livestreamed on Facebook

West, a towering guitarist who created the hard-rock milestone “Mississippi Queen” with his band Mountain, died at the age of 75 on Dec. 23 after suffering cardiac arrest at his home near Daytona, Florida.

Norman Prusslin, co-founder of LIMOHF, said West was an obvious choice to be among the first inductees into the LI Music Hall of Fame. 

Inaugural Induction Ceremony for the 2006 Long Island Music Hall of Fame held at The Patchogue Theater, Patchogue, New York.

“At our inaugural ceremony in 2006, it was Leslie and Mountain who kicked off the festivities with a rockin’ rendition of ‘Mississippi Queen.’ Les remained a great friend to LIMHOF … he offered supporting comments to our May ’20 ‘United Way Health Care Heroes’ telecast. Leslie was Long Island’s rock and roll,’” Prusslin said. 

LIMOHF will also celebrate other musicians from Queens and Brooklyn. The show will be hosted by Zebra Guitarist and Vocalist Randy Jackson and will feature a mix of the best speeches, performances and special moments from past LIMHOF Induction Galas from 2006 through 2018.

Special guests will include Billy Joel, Debbie Gibson, Joan Jett, Mountain, Johnny Maestro & the Brooklyn Bridge, Little Anthony, Lou Reed, LL Cool J, Taking Back Sunday, Chuck D, Twisted Sister, Clive Davis, Little Steven, Good Rats, BOC, Steve Vai and many more. 

“I was very surprised and flattered to be asked to host the 2020 LIMHOF ‘Best of the Award Galas,’” Jackson said. “The talent highlighted in this show far exceeds any other ‘regional’ Hall of Fame, in both diversity and worldwide appeal. Back in 2006 I was asked to induct one of my idols, George Gershwin, into the first class of the LIMHOF, it is an honor to be back again to help present this retrospective!’” 

The special will also raise money for the LIMHOF music scholarship program and other educational initiatives such as the mobile museum through an auction of various items as well as accepting donations during the program.

Ernie Canadeo, chairman of LIMHOF, said they’re thrilled to present many highlights from their past induction ceremonies in the 90-minute presentation. 

“It is a testament to Long Island’s diverse musical heritage with appearances and performances by so many world-renowned rock, folk, jazz, blues, hip-hop and classical artists,” Canadeo said. “This New Year’s Eve presentation represents a finale to 2020 and a new beginning to live events in the new year.”

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