Our Mission

"The mission of the Asbury Angels is to honor and memorialize the lives and history of members of the Asbury Park musical community, including but not limited to, musicians, tech support persons, DJs, journalists, club owners, record company personnel, managers and promoters."

Asbury Angels: Class of 2019

Pat DiNizio
Pat DiNizio
Obie Dziedzic
Obie Dziedzic
Gladstone Trott
Gladstone Trott
“Uncle” Mike Lisa
“Uncle” Mike Lisa
Reese Lamarr Dupree
Reese Lamarr Dupree

Reese LaMarr DuPree was born July 18, 1883 on a cotton plantation in Bibb County, Georgia. As a youngster he began singing spirituals in church. Reese left Georgia for a better life at the age of 13 and by 1900 was singing in hotels in New York for a living.

Reese began writing songs, including “Shortnin’ Bread”. He began promoting concerts and is said to have mad eand lost a fortune at it.

Reese arrived in Asbury Park in 1918, where he purchased the building at 1155 Springwood Avenue and turned it into the Roseland Cabaret. Roseland was the largest and grandest venue on the West Side during the 1920s.

It hosted many of the biggest, nationally known, black entertainers of the day including Duke Ellington’s Cotton Club Orchestra in 1930.

While living in Asbury Park/Neptune, Reese Dupree recorded one of the earliest (if not THE earliest) blues record by a black male vocalist accompanied by guitar, in 1924.

Billy Thomson
Billy Thomson

Billy was a fixture in the late 70’s and early 80’s of the Stone Pony.

He was the big loveable bear of a person. But a teddy bear, more of a grizzly Bear.

He enjoyed conversation but did not suffer fools. He worked with the Pony’s house band, Cats on a Smooth Surface during the golden years of the Sunday nights, and then started working on the road with Lou Reed warming up for U2, He always used local guys to take along on the early tours including Tracey Dell and Gordy

but eventually worked for U2. He ended up working for the Bob Dylan band but a new young band starting out wanted someone with experience and Bill left Bob to go with the Counting Crows. Billy started on guitars and became their road manager and then tour manager. He would repair and eventually make his own guitars named “Billy Built. Billy will be missed but once on the road, he never came back except to visit his sister and share the occasional dinner with friends like Gordy

Joan Pikula
Joan Pikula

One of the first female rock critics, Pikula covered rock and roll and wrote features for the Asbury Park Press from 1966 to 1972. During that time, she reviewed everything from local plays to concerts at Convention Hall, including shows by The Doors, Janis Joplin, James Brown and Led Zeppelin (she was cool on Zeppelin’s performance, but loved the opening act, Joe Cocker).

Pikula also was an early supporter and strong advocate for Bruce Springsteen and his early groups, including Steel Mill and the Bruce Springsteen Band.

"Perhaps Steel Mill will be the Shore's Airplane or Band. Perhaps it will be the band to put this coastal playground on the pop music map — a Mecca in its own right,” she wrote.

Pikula left the Press in '72 and became editor of Dance Magazine, where her interview subjects included John Travolta and George Balanchine.

Richard Simonsen
Richard Simonsen

A Bradley Beach councilman who owned the McNeely real estate Agency, Simonsen was co-owner of the Student Prince nightclub on Kingsley Street with his father.

In 1971 and 1972, a young Bruce Springsteen played at the club more than 50 times, with the Sundance Blues Band and then the Bruce Springsteen Band.

“Some nights, they only made $50 or $100,” Simonsen told the Asbury Park Press.

It was at the club, in 1971, where Springsteen first met – and jammed with – Clarence Clemons, who was playing down the street at the Wonder Bar with Norman Seldin and the Joyful Noyze.

The club closed down in 1974.

John Shaw
John Shaw

Drummer Shaw was one of the founders of the Jaywalkers, the most popular band on the Jersey Shore in the early to mid-1960s. Mostly playing Top 40 covers, the band also played some original tunes, like Love at First Sight, Can’t Live Without You, Summer’s Coming and Wild Surfer’s Call. They were a mainstay at clubs like the Candy Cane Lounge, Mrs. Jay’s, Steve Brody’s and Big Bill’s on Springwood Avenue, and also played up and down the Shore, at Tony Marts in Somers Point and Groh’s in Belmar.

The band provided a steady income for a large group of musicians who played stints with the Jaywalkers, including Buzzy Lubinsky, Little Steven Van Zandt, Garry Tallent, David Sancious, Leon Trent, Nicky Addeo, Billy Ryan and Ray Dahrouge.

In 1964, the Jaywalkers performed at the Peppermint Lounge in New York City, with members of other bands – including Felix Cavaliere of the Rascals – sitting in.

Guardian Angel: Scott Muni
Guardian Angel: Scott Muni

A pioneer of FM progressive rock radio, Muni spent more than 50 years on the radio in New York City, most famously at the legendary WNEW-FM, where he served as afternoon DJ and sometimes program director for more than 30 years. Known as “Scottso” or “The Professor” for his deep musical knowledge, Muni became friendly with many of the artists he promoted on the air, including Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Bruce Springsteen, Jimmy Page, Mick Jagger, the Grateful Dead, and perhaps most famously, John Lennon.

In the mid- to late 1980s, the station held massive concerts on the beach on Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends, often featuring local acts like Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, John Eddie, the Smithereens and Glen Burtnik, who played alongside national acts like Robert Cray, Joan Jett, the Georgia Satellites and Nick Lowe.

Wilhelminia “Baby” Mack
Wilhelminia “Baby” Mack

Asbury Park’s first black vaudeville star was born in the city in August 1899 to a white mother and black father who were not married. As such unions were not accepted at the time, Wilhelminia’s mother gave her up to an impoverished black woman, a widow named Mrs. Mac.

Often with little to eat,  young Wilhelminia took small jobs washing and cleaning to help out until age 14.  She completed seventh grade in public school but dropped out to look for full time work.  A year later, she was overheard singing by Lawrence Deas, manager the West Side's Royal Theatre.  Deas helped her put together a song act and had her change her name to "Baby" Mac.

 Singing locally, Baby Mac became very popular.  Deas recommended her to S. H. Dudley, one of the biggest names in black vaudeville.  Dudley gave her a contract to perform on the Theater Owners' Booking Association (T.O.B.A.) circuit for $25 weekly.  Of that, $10 was sent back home to her foster mother.

By 1916, Baby Mac was touring and performing with Tolliver's Smart Set.  Baby Mac continued performing through the 1920's, joining the vaudeville troupe of Drake and Walker.  She was one of the West Side's earliest singers to gain national recognition. 

Faye Gade
Faye Gade

Gade was the general manager of Eatontown's WHTG-FM (106.3) when the station made the switch in 1984 from a "beautiful music" format to the then-rare alternative rock format. Station disc jockey Rich Robinson convinced Gade to try the format and Mike Marrone was brought on board to be music director.

Gade was the daughter of station founders Harold and Theo Gade, for whom the acronym of the call letters, "H T G," referred to. The station's studios were in a house on Hope Road were Faye Gade lived.

WHTG-AM was founded by the Gades in 1957 and the FM signal was up by 1961. Faye Gade became owner in '85 as the station's national profile was ascending. At the time, there were less then 10 alt-rock stations in the country when they made the format change. A decade later, the alternative rock format was mainstream and WHTG-FM was cited as an industry leader by Rolling Stone.

Gade was also a pioneer as a female head of a radio station in an era when almost all major radio stations were owned by men.

Sam Siciliano
Sam Siciliano

An Asbury Park native, Sam began entertaining at age 13 as part of the Boys Club of Asbury Park Review at Convention Hall. He continued to sing Doo Wop during his teenage years with the Ebb Chords and Ray and the Darchaes. He and his brothers and sisters formed a band, PS4, in the early seventies and played many popular venues in Monmouth and Ocean County for the rest of his life.

He was also a singer, songwriter, arranger and producer. Sam and his brother, Patsy were honored to have their names included on the plaque outside Convention Hall for S.O.A.P. (the Sounds of Asbury Park) commemorating the contribution to the rock and roll / rhythm and blues music of the era by the artists of Asbury Park.

While completing his undergraduate degree at Monmouth University, Sam participated in a work study program that brought him to the Asbury Park Press to increase his knowledge of advertising and marketing. While there he accepted a position as an account representative in the advertising department. He continued to rise through the ranks and was vice president of advertising when he retired in 2012 after 42 years with the Press.

Tim Hauser
Tim Hauser

He lived in Ocean Township and Asbury Park and attended St. Rose High School in Belmar.

Hauser was 14 years old in 1956, when he went to a Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers concert at Convention  Hall. The show ended abruptly when fighting broke out, and young Hauser helped Frankie and the Teenagers back to the dressing room. There they serenaded him with an a capella version of “I Promise to Remember.” Inspired, Hauser formed his first singing group, the Criterions, the next year, with friends from Belmar and Neptune.

In 1969 he formed the first version of a much more successful group – the Manhattan Transfer. The group would go on to win 10 Grammy awards and scored many gold and platinum records. They achieved their biggest hit in 1981 with their cover of “The Boy from New York City” when to number 7.

In 1998, the group was voted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.

Tommy Tucker
Tommy Tucker

Born Gerland L. Duppler in 1903 in Souris, North Dakota, He officially changed his name to his stage name, Tommy Tucker, in 1968. A music major at the University of North Dakota, Tucker organized his first band in the mid-1920s, and by 1933 the group was recording for Crown Records. The Tommy Tucker Orchestra toured the country, and became known for its “sweet sound.” The group eventually was hired as the house band at the Berkeley-Carteret Hotel in Asbury Park, and Tucker and his family moved to the West Allenhurst section of Ocean Township. The group was working at the Berkeley in 1941 when they recorded “I Don’t Want to Set the World on Fire,” which became a hit, earning them a gold record. In the late 1940s, Tucker and his big band had a radio show called “Sing for Your Supper, with Tommy Tucker.” Tucker owned a record and appliance store in Asbury Park, and when he retired from his career as a traveling musician, he taught briefly at Asbury Park High School, and then at Monmouth College, where he worked as a music professor for 20 years, before retiring in 1979.

Jules Aerts
Jules Aerts

Jule: Aerts, who grew up in Hazlet and attended Raritan High School, was a sound engineer who worked for various national artists, including The Ramones, Blondie, Soul Asylum, Robert Gordon, Blondie, Fine Young Cannibals, Patti Smith and the Blues Brothers Band. For 20 years before his death in 2014, he was Bob Dylan’s sound engineer, and toured all over the world with Dylan and his band. Locally, Aerts worked as a soundman at Big Man’s West in Red Bank and The Stone Pony in Asbury. 

Margaret Hogan
Margaret Hogan

In 1965, Hogan opened Chez-Elle (French for “her house”), a ground-breaking lesbian nightclub at the corner of Summerfield and Cookman avenues. At the time, the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Commission frequently raided gay and lesbian bars, harassing patrons and threatening to revoke a bar’s liquor license for serving a gay clientele. Serving homosexuals was automatically labeled “offensive to common decency and public morals.” In 1967, Hogan joined in, and helped finance, a lawsuit brought by Manny’s Den in New Brunswick and Val’s in Atlantic City, after the Alcoholic Beverage Commission threatened to revoke the licenses of all three bars for serving gay patrons. The case eventually made its way to the New Jersey Supreme Court. In a landmark Nov. 6, 1967 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the ABC was not justified in suspending or revoking liquor licenses because “apparent homosexuals” were allowed to patronize a bar. The lawsuit – and court decision – changed the course of gay history in New Jersey.

Herbert 'Tony' Maples
Herbert 'Tony' Maples

Born in Florida in 1934, Herbert “Tony” Maples moved with his family to Asbury Park around 1950. As a young man he enlisted in the Air Force and, while stationed at Charleston, South Carolina, he formed an R&B singing group called the “Five Hearts.” He later performed with a group that would become recording stars “The Del Vikings” while stationed in Pittsburgh. After he left the service, Maples returned to Asbury Park and started a new singing group he called the “Ray Dots.” The Ray Dots became the first group to record for Gervis Tillman’s Vibro label. Their recording of “I Need Someone” was the first R&B record ever made for an Asbury Park record label. The group eventually evolved into the “V-Eights,” and went on to record three records for Vibro, including the local hit, “Papa’s Yellow Tie.” When the V-Eights broke up in 1964, Maples went solo, and joined a group of artists being managed by Stormin’ Norman Seldin. He was often backed by the Soul Set and recorded “Pretty Girls Everywhere” for Seldin’s Selsom record label in 1965.

G. Howard Scott
G. Howard Scott

A piano, organ and voice student at the New York Institute of Musical Art (which eventually merged with the Juilliard School), Scott also studied at the Guilmant Organ School In New York, becoming a professor of music in 1915. In 1931, he accepted the newly created position as municipal organist for the city of Asbury Park, and was hired to play the Kilgen pipe organ that had been installed in the brand-new Convention Hall on the boardwalk. Scott served as municipal organist until 1958, performing more than 5,000 concerts. Radio station WCAP would broadcast his concerts live from their Convention Hall studios. Scott also performed at the lakefront Mayfair Theatre during silent films. He was the first organist in the country to use synchronized lighting effects along with his recitals, believing that different keys and moods in music could be suggested by certain colors.

Guardian Angel, Ed Sciaky
Guardian Angel, Ed Sciaky

Born in New York City, Ed Sciaky, where he graduated from Central High School and then Temple University. Sciaky volunteered with folk DJ Gene Shay at WHAT-FM in 1965, and then got his own show on the Temple radio station the next year. By 1970 he had moved to Philadelphia’s WMMR, where he built a reputation as one of the nation’s most powerful FM disc jockeys. At a time when DJs had control over what they played, he championed up-and-coming singer-songwriters like Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen, along with English rockers David Bowie, Yes and Peter Gabriel. His passion for his favorites help shape the listening habits of a generation of Philadelphia music fans, and, in the case of Springsteen, create a hotbed of fan support for his music long before he was embraced in other areas of the country. Sciaky also did a stint at Philadelphia station WIOQ; at the time of his death at age 55 in 2004, he was working part-time at classic-rock station WMGK-FM, where he had been spinning his “Sunday With Springsteen” program for two years. 

Ahna Loehr Tesche Parker Reimers
Ahna Loehr Tesche Parker Reimers

Pianist and member of the Stardusters

As a child, Ahna she was a piano prodigy and became the classically trained personal protege of a Juilliard School professor. When she married her love Carl Tesche she joined his band, "The Stardusters", and added her unique and beautiful musical stylings to the band's pop music and standards repertoire. In the "glory days" of Asbury Park, Ahna (Ann) and Carl ran the 75-room Lake Park Hotel and built its nightclub, the Anchor Room, featuring "The Stardusters", with Ann also playing the Hammond Organ during the band's breaks. "The Stardusters" were broadcast live from the Anchor Room every Saturday evening on WJLK radio.

Ann and Carl established and built Asbury Park's Wonder Bar, where they jammed with their musician friends in Dixieland jazz music and Gay-90's sing-a-longs. They traveled the world with their music under contract with the Greek Cruise Lines.

Joe 'Bop' Tomek
Joe 'Bop' Tomek

Drummer with Mushroom and other bands

A drummer and percussionist, Joe Bop played in many bands that performed in and around Asbury Park, including LipMan and the Lips and Rogues on the Run. His most famous band, Mushroom, toured around the country and played at Madison Square Garden. A Queens native, Tomek’s career began at the 1964 World’s Fair in that borough. He eventually moved to Asbury Park, where he lived for 20 years before settling in Wall. He met his wife, Kiki, while his band was opening a Robin Trower show at Convention Hall in Asbury in 1972. Tomek’s daughter, Sarah, is a drummer with the band Maggie Rose, and carries on her father’s legacy.

Buzzy Lubinsky
Buzzy Lubinsky

DJ, drummer and instructor

A drummer, disc jockey and record producer, Buzzy Lubinsky, of Bradley Beach was also a mentor from a young kid from Neptune who he encouraged to play the drums – Vini Lopez. Lubinsky’s father, Herman, owned Newark-based Savoy Records. Lopez has said he fell in love with the drums while watching Lubinsky play along to records at clubs in and around Asbury Park. Lubinsky also recorded Ray and the Darchaes, featuring Ray Dahrouge, in the early 1960s and issued their record on the Savoy label. His nephew, T.J. Lubinsky, is a Pittsburgh DJ who hosts oldies shows that air on PBS stations.

John Oeser
John Oeser

Singer, Harmonica player

Born in Lakewood, Johnny O grew up in Toms River, where he began performing in high school, at gym dances and battles of the bands. Legend has it that his powerful vocal skills were discovered while he was working at a fried chicken joint. An integral part of the Asbury Park sound, Oeser lent his vocal skills and his blues harmonica playing to such seminal bands as Cahoots and Cold, Blast and Steel. In recent years, Oeser could be seen playing with both Boccigalupe and the Bad Boys and Timepiece.

Walter Cichon
Walter Cichon

Lead Singer and Percussionist in The Motifs

Cichon, from Howell, was the lead singer and percussionist in The Motifs, the leading band on the Jersey Shore from the mid- to late 1960s. Their single, “Molly,” was a regional hit and sold more than 2,000 copies. The Motifs opened for bands like The Young Rascals and The Duprees at the Keyport-Matawan Rollerdome, and drew more than 800 kids to a gig at the West End Casino. Walter also served as an influence on a young guitar player and aspiring frontman from Freehold, Bruce Springsteen, who dubbed Cichon the “best front man in New Jersey at the time” in a 1999 interview with Mojo magazine. Drafted into the Army in 1967, Cichon went missing in action in Vietnam in March 1968, leaving behind a wife and two young sons. Springsteen’s song “The Wall,” about finding Cichon’s name on the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, memorializes his old friend. “The man who by his attitude, his walk said 'you can defy all this, all of what's here, all of what you've been taught, taught to fear, to love and you'll still be alright,” Springsteen wrote. “His was a terrible loss to us, his loved ones and the local music scene. I still miss him."

Vivian Eley
Vivian Eley

Singer, dancer and Broadway star

Asbury Park born Vivian Eley was one of the West Side’s first Broadway stars. A singer, dancer and all around entertainer, Vivian toured Europe with Teddy Hill’s Orchestra, appearing with the Cotton Club Review at Paris’ Moulin Rouge in 1937. She was in the Hot Mikado on Broadway with Bill Robinson and Born to Swing in Philadelphia. She sang at the Apollo Theatre and recorded with Bill Campbell’s Blue Notes.

Sammy Pugh
Sammy Pugh

Blind classically trained pianist

Born in South Carolina in 1927, Samuel M. Pugh became blind at the age of 9 from glaucoma. He trained in classical piano and moved to Asbury Park when he was 19. As an organist, Sammy Pugh led and played with Al Hibbler’s band and Dan Brown & the Dynamics during the 1950’s and 1960’s, opening for acts like Ray Charles and Count Basie. Sammy Pugh and his combo frequently played West Side venues including Cuba’s, the Capitol, the Orchid Lounge, the Carver Hotel, Madonna’s and the Hampton Inn. In 1959, his combo became the house band at Big Bill’s.

John & Ida Jacobs and Jeanette Jacobs Weiner
John & Ida Jacobs and Jeanette Jacobs Weiner

Creators/operators of Mrs Jay’s Restaurant (Stone Pony) & the Beer Garden

The Jacobs and their daughter, Jeanette Jacobs Weiner, created and operated Mrs. Jay’s Restaurant and Beer Garden for many years. Mrs. Jay's was founded by John and Ida Jacobs and was located on Ocean and Second Ave., the current location of The Stone Pony. John and Ida started by selling hot dogs to tourists in 1922 at the Second Avenue location, but with the help of their daughter Jeanette and son-in-law Murray Weiner, eventually purchased the seasonal snack bar along with the property and established a family restaurant naming it Mrs. Jay's.

John and Ida also opened Mrs. Jay's Beer Garden located on Ocean Avenue to the left of the restaurant serving 2% beer until the end of prohibition in 1933. Starting in 1965, Mrs. Jay's Beer Garden briefly offered Go-Go dancing as entertainment, but a dancers see through blouse resulted in a police raid and the quick demise of Go-Go at Mrs. Jay's.

The Weiner's sold off the restaurant in the '70's keeping only the beer garden, which by this time had become a popular music scene and bikers hangout.

Walter Reade Sr., Guardian Angel
Walter Reade Sr., Guardian Angel

Theater mogul/developer of the St. James & Paramount Theatres

A movie mogul, Reade, who lived in Deal, built his cinema empire around Asbury Park, which was his base of operations. Reade operated six movie palaces in Asbury: the Paramount, Savoy, Mayfair, St. James, Lyric and Ocean theatres. Reade’s empire eventually included a chain of 40 theaters in New Jersey, New York and neighboring states. His crown jewel was the lakefront Mayfair Theatre, an ornate 1,800-seat gem which opened with a showing of “Blood Ship” in 1927 and closed down in 1974. It was demolished later that year. Reade, known as the “Showman of the Shore,” briefly operated a newspaper called the Asbury Park Sun in the 1940s, which attacked the ruling class and entrenched interests in and around Asbury Park and was twice sued for libel.

Donnie Bertelson
Donnie Bertelson

Donnie “Birdman” Bertelson

In the mid 1970’s Bertelson was the charismatic and legendary front man for local rhythm and blues band, The Shots. The eight piece band played a mix of Memphis Soul, New Orleans Funk, Motown, up-tempo Big Band Blues and Rock n Roll in the most popular nightclubs along the Jersey Shore from Atlantic Highlands to Atlantic City. Donnie’s feet took flight to a rhythm that shook the stage with dancing delight, captivating the audiences who could not stand still. He was a cross between Peter Wolf and James Brown with a whole lot greasy Neptune, New Jersey soul thrown into the mix. The band’s loyal fan base was established by regular appearances at the Stone Pony. Original members: Donnie “Birdman” Bertelson – frontman singer, Mel Taylor – saxophone, Billy Hector– Guitar, founders Carlo Novi – saxophone and Tony Pallagrosi– trumpet, Dave Nunez – piano, Steve Rava – bass guitar and Michael McCabe – drums.

Jim Giantonio
Jim Giantonio

Jim Giantonio

As booking agent and promoter for the Fast Lane nightclub in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, Giantonio presented historic live music performances that would bolster Asbury Park’s place in music history. Under Giantonio’s guidance, some of the best local and international touring acts were performing a wide assortment of original music on the Fast Lane stage. The venue quickly became the Shore’s only all original music nightclub, with bands like U2, Joe Jackson, The Runaways, The Stray Cats, Ian Hunter, The Police, Allan Holdsworth, Willie Nile, The Hooters, The Psychedelic Furs, The Ramones, Joan Jett, Rockpile, Iggy Pop, Garland Jeffreys, Generation X, Billy Idol, Mountain, Squeeze, Ronnie Spector and Robert Gordon gracing its stage. It was also the home to the earliest punk and hardcore scenes in the city featuring bands such as The Dead Kennedys and Black Flag.  He “discovered” local and regional artists like John Bongiovi (AKA Bon Jovi, with Atlantic City Expressway and The Rest which also included Jack Ponti), Robert Hazzard, The Beaver Brown Band, Norman Nardini and the Tigers, The Iron City Houserockers featuring a very young Joe Grushecky and John Eddie and the Front Street Runners. He also promoted show in venues as diverse as the Oritani Theater in Hackensack, the Fountain Casino in Aberdeen and Hitsville in Passaic. He had an instinctive eye for emerging talent and at one point posed a threat to legendary NJ promoter John Scher’s dominance. Grammy Museum Executive Director Robert Santelli said this about Giantonio in a piece he wrote about Jersey Shore rock history in the book “Backstreets: Springsteen – The Man and His Music”: “Giantonio actively encouraged area bands to focus on original music. He was, for example, responsible for pushing a band called The Rest, which included a lead singer named John Bongiovi, to deal seriously with its image and stage presence as well as its original songs. The result? The Rest became the best on the Shore in the early eighties.”

Delores Holmes
Delores Holmes

Delores Holmes, July 18, 1946-April 16, 2010

Soul singer Holmes grew up in Matawan in a home steeped in gospel music. She performed in choirs, with girl groups and then joined fellow back-up singer Barbara Dinkins in a number of rock bands, including Hot Ice. In the early ‘70s, Holmes saw a newspaper advertisement seeking singers with a gospel sound. She and Dinkins auditioned for Bruce Springsteen,  became part of the Bruce Springsteen Band, and they spent several years touring the east coast. Throughout her career, Holmes was a staple of the Jersey Shore music scene as a vocalist and voice teacher and part of several musical groups. She contributed background vocals to recordings made by numerous artists and producers, including Bill Chinnock, Danny Federici, Garry Tallent and Neal Coty. In September 2001, Holmes reunited with Springsteen to perform as a background singer on the song “My City of Ruins” during the Tribute to Heroes 9/11 telethon. Holmes and her daughter, Layonne, formed Rain, a soul music group and were both original and active member of Holiday Express, the Jersey Shore charity founded by Tim McLoone that brings music and good cheer to those in need during the holiday season.

Jim MacDonald
Jim MacDonald

Jim MacDonald, 1963-2004

A talented lighting director and stage manager at various venues in Asbury Park and beyond, Jim was artistically driven to create visual and special effects whenever possible.  Jim MacDonald also helped organize his fellow crew members and form Local 534 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. A graduate of Holmdel High School, he was a founding member of the Holmdel Theater Festival in 1984. He later toured the globe with The British Rock Symphony, C.O.C. and Monster Magnet before returning to the Shore to live in Bradley Beach. He worked as a lighting technician and stage manager at Convention Hall, the Paramount Theatre, Fast Lane, the Stone Pony, the Saint and other venues in the Shore area, and also helped assemble local crews for festivals including the Warped Tour, Light of Day and the Skate and Surf Festival. In 2005, The James M. MacDonald “Behind the Scenes” Lifetime Achievement Award was created in his honor and presented as part of the annual Asbury Park Music Awards.

Odyssey Moore
Odyssey Moore

Odyssey Moore, 1923-1994

A former Asbury Park police officer, Moore owned the Orchid Lounge, a jazz and blues club at the corner of Springwood Avenue and Memorial Drive that drew top tier jazz and blues talent to the city in the 1950s and 1960s. Performers like George Benson, Al Green and Rhonda Scott played at the Orchid Lounge, whose predominantly African-American clientele dressed up when they went out for a night on the town. The Orchid Lounge also drew young white performers who were fascinated by the sounds emanating from the club’s front door. Southside Johnny Lyon has mentioned standing outside the Orchid Lounge listening to B.B. King, while Vini “Mad Dog” Lopez, first drummer in Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band has also mentioned going to the Orchid several times. Moore and two business partners also owned a menswear shop called Kings on Springwood Avenue.

Carlo Novi
Carlo Novi

Carlo Novi: August 7, 1949-March 12, 2010

Artist, songwriter and tenor saxophone player “Saxy” Carlo Novi grew up in Mexico City, where he became an accomplished musician.  Most notably, at the age of 15, Novi played with Javier Batiz, a legendary guitarist credited with the birth of rock music in Mexico, was mentor to Carlos Santana and nicknamed “El Brujo (the Wizard).” The drummer in Batiz’s band was Adolfo “Fito” de la Para, who went on to become drummer with the blues/rock band Canned Heat. After moving to the Jersey Shore, Novi became the original tenor saxophone player with Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes. Novi played with the Jukes from 1975 through 1977, appearing on the band’s first two albums, “I Don’t Want to Go Home” and “This Time It’s For Real”, which included collaborations with Lee Dorsey, Ronnie Spector, the Coasters, the Drifters and Five Satins.  He designed and created leather clothing for many performers, including members of the E Street Band. He was also a painter, a sculptor, a poet, spoke 3 languages and was very much a modern day renaissance man.  After leaving the Jukes, Novi played with a series of bands. He was the co-founder and tenor saxophonist in The Shots, as well as playing with The Charlottesville All-Stars, an original project called Dada Jungle, which was the musical precursor to the band Morphine and the Intentions and continued his career as a contemporary artist. His daughter, Aria, is also an accomplished musician.

Joseph, William and Albert Rediker
Joseph, William and Albert Rediker

Albert, Joseph and William Rediker

Born in Brooklyn, the Rediker brothers moved to the Jersey Shore in the late 1930s or early 1940s. Jewelers by trade, the brothers were the proprietors of Reeds Jewelers, which had stores in Asbury Park, Long Branch, Red Bank and Freehold, along with several other Monmouth County towns. Reeds was then the largest chain of jewelry stores in the state. The Rediker Brothers were also extraordinary entrepreneurs who owned or operated numerous venues in Asbury Park and surrounding areas, most notably Convention Hall, which they leased from the city from 1946 to 1956. They brought the most famous “Big Bands” to the Hall, including Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, Harry James, Vaughn Monroe, Ray McKinley and Les Elgart. The Hall was dubbed by Billboard magazine, “the lush summer band stop on the East Coast.” When the Big Band era began to fade, the Redikers brought top singers of the era to Convention Hall, including Tony Bennett, Frankie Laine, Joni James, The Four Aces, The Crew Cuts and The Platters. On June 30, 1956, they booked the first rock n’roll show at the Hall, a performance by Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers that ended prematurely when a riot broke out. After the riot, the mayor and city council banned rock n’roll shows from Asbury Park for nearly a decade. In addition to Convention Hall, the Redikers either owned or leased from the city numerous other properties, including the Casino, the Monte Carlo Pool, the Cavalier Motel and the Third, Fourth and Seventh avenue pavilions and beaches. They also owned Storyland Village in Neptune.

Vinnie Roslin
Vinnie Roslin

Vinnie Roslin, 1947-2012

A Monmouth County native who grew up in the Howell and Freehold areas, bass player Roslin was only 17 when he and George Theiss, Bart Haynes and Mark DeLuise formed a band called The Sierras. Roslin left the band in 1965 and joined The Motifs, who with dynamic lead singer Walter Cichon were on their way to becoming the top band at the Jersey Shore. Managed by teenager Norman Seldin, The Motifs released two songs, “Molly” and “If I Gave You Love,” that became regional hits. The Motifs opened for bands like The Young Rascals and The Duprees, but broke up when Cichon was drafted into the Army (he was killed in Vietnam in 1968). In February 1969, Roslin joined Bruce Springsteen, Vini “Mad Dog” Lopez and Danny Federici to form Child, which later changed its name to Steel Mill. Roslin played with Steel Mill during its famous gigs in San Francisco at The Matrix and the Fillmore West. He left the band in 1970 and was replaced by Steve Van Zandt. After leaving Steel Mill, Roslin played bass in many other Jersey Shore bands, including Maddog & The Shakes, The George Theiss Band, J.P. Gotrock, Big Danny & The Lost Leader Band and Blue Plate Special.

Bobby Thomas
Bobby Thomas

Bobby Thomas, 1935-2012

One of Asbury Park’s first and best known R&B group harmony vocalists, Bobby Thomas was a singer for more than 63 years, making some of the city’s first R&B records with local vocal harmony groups the Vibranaires, Vibes and V-Eights, as well as the internationally famous group, the Orioles. He had a significant influence on R&B singers from Asbury Park who followed in his footsteps, according to Charlie & Pam Horner of www.classicurbanharmony.net.  Born in Point Pleasant, Bobby Thomas moved to Asbury’s West Side when he was two years old and attended the Bangs Avenue School, which was then racially segregated. Thomas was 13 when he heard the Orioles sing “It’s Too Soon to Know” on the radio, a life-changing moment. Thomas formed one of the city’s first R&B vocal groups to imitate his idols, the Orioles. His group, the Vibranaires, featured Thomas’ lead vocals, which sounded remarkably like Orioles’ lead singer Sonny Til. He met the Orioles at the city’s Armory (now a VFW Hall) in 1948. The Vibranaires opened for various big-name groups that played at the Armory and recorded two records – as The Vibes -- in 1954. Talented singers like Asbury Park’s Lenny Welch, Joe Major, Mike Robinson, Roosevelt McDuffie and Willie Morris all played at one point with the Vibranaires. Thomas also played in another popular Asbury group, the V-Eights, after a stint in the service. In 1966, Sonny Til asked Thomas to form an Orioles group to back him for a show at the Apollo Theater. He played with Sonny Til and the Orioles until 1974. After Sonny Til’s death in 1981, Thomas formed his own Orioles group in tribute to Til. More recently, Thomas played with the backing of a cappella group Quiet Storm. His last performance came at the Soul of Asbury Park Concert at the Paramount Theatre on Nov. 12, 2011.

'Guardian Angel' John Hammond
'Guardian Angel' John Hammond

John Henry Hammond II, 1910-1987

Record producer, Civil Rights activist and music critic: Rock and Roll Hall of Famer John Hammond wore all those hats during a 50-year period from the early 1930s to the 1980s. In 1972, Hammond was already a legendary figure in popular music; he had signed artists including Benny Goodman, Billie Holiday, Count Basie, Pete Seeger and Bob Dylan to record deals, produced Dylan’s seminal songs “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall,” and oversaw the posthumous release of blues great Robert Johnson’s recordings, the highly influential album “King of the Delta Blues Singers.” When a 22-year-old Bruce Springsteen walked into CBS Studios on May 2, 1972 to audition for Columbia Records, he was at a career crossroads: although he had been performing in various bands for more than seven years, he had achieved only local success and was unsure what direction his career would take. The fact that Springsteen’s manager, Mike Appel, had arranged an audition for Hammond was a coup, given Hammond’s reputation in the industry. Hammond listened to the young Springsteen, who performed several songs, including “If I Was The Priest,” “Growin’ Up,” “It’s Hard to Be a Saint in the City” and “Mary Queen of Arkansas,” and liked what he heard. After viewing Springsteen live at a hastily arranged gig at the Gaslight Au Go Go Club on Bleecker Street in the city, Hammond invited Springsteen back to CBS Studios on the next day to lay down a set of demos. In a 1998 interview with MOJO magazine, Springsteen remembered the session: “It was a big, big day for me… I was 22 and came up on the bus with an acoustic guitar with no case… I was embarrassed carrying it around the city. I walked into his office and had the audition, and I played a couple of songs and [Hammond] said, ‘You’ve got to be on Columbia Records.’ I knew a lot about John Hammond, the work he’d done, the people he’d discovered, his importance in music, and it was very exciting to feel you were worth his time. No matter what happened afterwards, even if it was just for this one night, you were worth his time. That meant a lot to me. He was very encouraging – simply being in that room with him at the board was one of my greatest recording experiences.”

Chris Barry
Chris Barry
1952-2006

Journalist Chris Barry came up through the alternative music ranks in the late 1970s, and his writing became a staple in publications such as The Aquarian Weekly, The Asbury Park Press, Pipeline Magazine, East Coast Rocker, Relix, Shorelines, and many others.

Chris was the first to submit alt/punk rock to The Stone Pony, and he introduced music lovers to various bands such as In Between Dreams, The Catholic Girls, The Antoinette’s, Rogue, Nude Swirl, The Mad Daddy’s and the Whirling Dervishes.

Chris also logged time as the promoter for the Fast Lane night club in Asbury Park and promoted the early days of the Brighton Bar in Long Branch, presenting shows by nationally known artists such as David Peel, GG Allin, NY Dolls legend Johnny Thunders and Alan Mann.

Big Danny Gallagher
Big Danny Gallagher
1948-2007

Troubadour Big Danny Gallagher was a gentle giant, an imposing presence at 6 feet 6 inches tall, more than 400 pounds, with his flowing red hair and beard, he was a staple of the Jersey Shore music scene for decades, Danny fronted bands like Big Danny and the Boppers and the Lost Leader Band.

A bouncer at the legendary Upstage Club on Cookman Avenue, Big Danny served briefly as a roadie for Bruce Springsteen, who lived with him for awhile in Asbury Park in the early ‘70s.

Big Danny was a member of Springsteen’s short-lived band, Dr. Zoom and the Sonic Boom, famously playing Monopoly onstage while the band played (although in later years, Danny said they were actually playing craps on a Monopoly board).

George Iocca
George Iocca
1948-2010

George served in the U.S. Navy during Vietnam and received high level sonar training before returning home to combine his knowledge of sound with a love of music to form Dynacoustics Inc., which provided sound systems for local venues as well as local and national touring acts.

His sound systems were installed in venues like The Stone Pony, Birch Hill night club, and The Headliner. Iocca provided sound reinforcement for all of the legendary shore bands as well as national acts from Bon Jovi and KISS to Tony Bennett. He also played guitar in bands like Thunder Chicken and Wham (not the George Michaels version).

Leo Karp
Leo Karp
1913-1996

An irascible man known as a tough businessman and competitor, Leo Karp owned the Turf Club, one of the premier music establishments on Asbury Park’s West Side. At the club, located at Springwood and Union avenues, Karp booked rhythm and blues acts, and performers included a young Clarence Clemons. Musicians from the city’s East Side hotels would migrate across the tracks after the hotel bars closed at midnight and would come in to jam. The Turf Club and Big Bill’s were perhaps the leading clubs on a swinging West Side.

Kevin Kavanaugh
Kevin Kavanaugh
1951-2011

A member of Asbury Park’s music scene for more than 45 years, keyboard player Kevin Kavanaugh was only 15 when he made it to the Upstage Club. His early bands included The Telstars and the Shadows, and Kevin was also a member of Bruce Springsteen’s short-lived Dr. Zoom and the Sonic Boom, singing in the chorus. An original member of Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, Kevin played keyboards, sang and traveled around the world with Southside from 1975 to 1990.

Kevin played keyboards on Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul’s amazing first album, “Men Without Women.” For many years he also performed with Bobby Bandiera’s Band, and his other groups included The High Voltage Brothers as well as the Kevin & Joel Duo with Joel Krauss.

Kevin was also a music teacher, teaching piano at the Musicians Studio in Red Bank.

Terry Magovern
Terry Magovern
1940-2007

A teddy bear of a person, a man of immense character, quiet strength, warm compassion, unquestioned loyalty and undeniable love. Terry Magovern was all of these. He also happened to be Bruce Springsteen’s longtime personal assistant and one of the great unsung heroes of Jersey Shore Rock and Roll

Terry created a foundation from which musicians built their careers. He managed legendary music clubs such as the Rip Tide, Royal Manor and Big Man’s West. He was a loyal fan and supporter of local and regional bands, not just hiring them to perform but guiding and supporting them throughout their careers. While managing the Captain’s Garter in the 1970’s Terry hired a struggling young band, even though he knew the band didn’t fit the club’s top 40 format. Many years later when asked why he hired the Bruce Springsteen Band, knowing full well it wouldn’t work, Terry said that he believed in what they were doing with their music.

Terry founded the ALS support group, Joan Dancy and PALs and was the catalyst for bringing the Bruce Springsteen rehearsal shows to Asbury Park’s Convention Hall.

Phil Petillo
Phil Petillo
1945-2010

A jack of all trades and a true Renaissance man, Phil Petillo, who earned a doctorate in engineering technology from LaSalle University, was a master luthier, inventor, engineer, electronics consultant and draftsman. Petillo began repairing musical instruments at age 14, and soon developed what would become a lifelong passion for making, designing and constructing superior-quality guitars.

Musical luminaries like Tal Farlow, Paul McCartney, Keith Richards, Elvis Presley, Jim Croce and Johnny Cash were among Petillo’s many famous clients.

Back around 1970, Petillo sold a young Bruce Springsteen a 1953 Fender Esquire that would become famous. Springsteen can be seen holding the guitar on the cover of his Born to Run album.

When he died in 2010, Petillo held 30 U.S. patents in the medical, musical and alternative energy fields.

Gervis 'Gus' Tillman
Gervis 'Gus' Tillman
1922-1999

Gervis “Gus” Tillman was a talented songwriter who founded one of the few record labels of the late 1950’s and early 1960’s from the Asbury Park area.

His Vibro record label was the first local record label to concentrate on recording West Side artists.

Formed in 1958 in Asbury Park, Gus Tillman later moved the Vibro label to Belmar but continued recording singers from Asbury Park’s West Side.

Some of the West Side artists that Gus Tillman recorded were the Ray Dots, the V-Eights, Mike Robinson, Delmar Goggins, Bobby Thomas, Roosevelt McDuffie and Tony Maples.

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Madame Era Tognoli
Madame Era Tognoli
1919-2011

Era Tognoli was the founder and motivating force behind the Metro Lyric Opera Company, which presented more than 50 years of summer opera festivals at the Paramount Theatre in Asbury Park, covering a vast repertoire.

An accomplished performer, Madame Tognoli had her own radio show at 16, and earned a master in voice from La Scala, Italy’s famous opera house. She performed there at the Arena di Verona, in the part of Liu in Puccini’s Turandot, with Maria Callas in the title role.

In the U.S. Madame Tognoli performed in numerous roles, at the Metropolitan and at other theaters, before settling in Allenhurst. In addition to founding Metro Lyric Opera, she was a beloved teacher to many, many students who went on to perform at opera houses in the U.S. and abroad.

Bobby Williams
Bobby Williams
1947-2000

Also known as Big Bad Bobby Williams, Williams was a drummer and a regular at the Upstage Club, where he basically served as house drummer. Another member of Springsteen’s Dr. Zoom and the Sonic Boom band, Williams also played with Southside Johnny Lyon, Little Steven Van Zandt and Garry Tallent� in the short-lived Funky Dusty and the Soul Broom Band, before forming his own band, The Big Bad Bobby Williams Band in late 1970.

He was immortalized in Bruce Springsteen’s liner notes for the first Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes album, “I Don’t Want to Go Home,” as “the heaviest drummer of them all, in terms of both poundage and sheer sonic impact, Biiiiig Baaaaad Bobby Williams, badass king of hearts so tough he’d go to the limit for you every time,� all night.”

Arthur Willard Pryor
Arthur Willard Pryor
1870 - 1942

Pryor, a trombone soloist with John Philip Sousa’s Band who eventually became a bandleader, was Asbury Park’s first musical superstar. Born in St. Joseph, Missouri, Pryor first played in his father’s band, and, hailed as a musical prodigy, directed the Stanley Opera Company in Denver, Colorado before joining Sousa’s band in 1892. He played his first solo with Sousa’s band during the World Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. During his 12 years with Sousa’s band, Pryor once estimated he played more than 10,000 solos. From 1895 to 1903 Pryor served as assistant conductor to Sousa’s band, before striking out on his own with his own band in 1903. The band’s debut was at New York’s Majestic Theatre in November 1903. After touring coast to coast for six years, Pryor decided to make Asbury Park the band’s home in 1909. He had settled in Asbury in 1904 and later purchased a farm in Long Branch. The band played numerous concerts for 17 consecutive summers in Asbury, and was second only to Sousa’s band in popularity at this time. He claimed that he envisioned Asbury Park as the musical center of America, possibly of the world. Pryor was known for kicking off the summer concert season by parading through the streets of the city with his band. Pryor also became staff conductor and arranger for the Victor Talking Machine Company in Camden and composed more than 300 original songs. Pryor retired from full-time conducting in 1933 and was elected to the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders that same year. He served one three-year term. He also taught and played from time to time with band members for special engagements in Asbury. Pryor died in 1942.

Bobby Alfano
Bobby Alfano
1952 - 2007

Bob, a native of Newark, NJ, moved to Freehold Township and started playing piano when he was 8. He graduated from Freehold High School in 1968, a year behind Bruce Springsteen. In his freshman year of high school, his father bought him an organ when he joined his first band, The Rising Suns. Bobby Alfano was a stalwart member of the Asbury Park music scene for many years playing keyboards in numerous local bands as well as writing songs. He was also recognized as an accomplished harmonica player. Alfano played keyboards with Bruce Springsteen in The Castiles from 1966 through 1967, and later played with bands such as Sunny Jim, Odin, East Coast Muscle, Live Bait, Lipman and the Lips and The Disco Rejects with Vini “Mad Dog” Lopez who were the house band at the Monday night jam in a famous Asbury Park original live music club, T-Birds Cafe, run by Scott Stamper, current owner of The Saint. While with The Castiles he co-wrote a song, “Mr. Jones,” with Springsteen. Bobby lived the last 20 years of his life with his wife Jackie and family in Wall, NJ before passing away in 2007.

Larry 'Bozo' Blasco
Larry 'Bozo' Blasco
1954 - 2008

Born in Neptune, Larry Blasco served in the U.S. Army before he began work at the Stone Pony as a member of the club’s original production staff. A jack of all trades, Blasco was a lighting director and guitar technician, and also served as a tour manager. In addition to his many years as lighting director at the Stone Pony, Blasco also worked at shows at almost every local venue in the Shore area, including Asbury’s Convention Hall and Paramount Theatre, the now-defunct Tradewinds in Sea Bright and Marz in Long Branch, and at large outdoor events including the Warped Tour and Skate and Surf in Asbury Park, as well as the Asbury Music Festival. Blasco toured with Wyclef Jean for 10 years, and also went on the road with Carolyne Mas, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes and John Eddie. He also worked closely with legendary Asbury bands Cahoots and Cold, Blast and Steel. Blasco passed away in 2009.

Bill Chinnock
Bill Chinnock
1947 - 2007

One of the hottest guitar slingers from the Upstage Club days, Bill Chinnock was born in Newark and raised in Millburn, but he later lived with his parents at a Shore house in Avon. In 1967, Chinnock’s band, “The Storytellers,” made a single, “Cry With Me/Little Boy Sad” on Kama Sutra Records that became a regional hit at the Jersey Shore. The band, which eventually included future E Streeter Danny Federici on keyboards, got gigs in Hullabaloo Clubs in Middletown, Freehold and Asbury Park and appeared on television. Next Chinnock headed “The Downtown Tangiers Band,” including Federici and future E Street bass player Garry W. Tallent. The band recorded an album that was never released, but a song written by Chinnock, “Crown Liquor,” was later performed by Springsteen’s biggest pre-E Street Band, Steel Mill. The band broke up when Chinnock briefly moved to Maine and Federici joined Steel Mill. In 1969, Chinnock returned from Maine and formed “Glory Road,” which featured Tallent and drummer Bobby Williams. Glory Road opened for Steel Mill at the Clearwater Swim Club in Middletown in 1970 and a young keyboard player, David Sancious, eventually joined the group. But Chinnock became ill with mononucleosis and almost died. Bed-ridden for months, Chinnock moved to Maine permanently when he recovered and was signed to Paramount Records on the recommendation of the legendary talent scout, John Hammond. His debut album, Bill Chinnock Blues, was released in 1975. He later released acclaimed albums “Badlands” and “Dime Store Heroes,” working with artists like Randy Brecker, Michael Brecker and David Sanborn. He briefly moved to Nashville for a time in the 1980s, releasing “Rock &Roll Cowboys” and “Learning to Survive in the Modern Age” on Epic Records. The latter album contained a minor hit, “Somewhere in the Night,” a song that was also used as the theme for the soap opera “Search for Tomorrow.” Chinnock won an Emmy award for the song in 1987. “Hold On to Love,” a duet he performed with Roberta Flack, was featured on the soap opera, “The Guiding Light,” in the early 1990s. At the recording studio he built in Maine, Chinnock wrote and recorded music for movies and television. He returned often to the Jersey Shore to perform during his recording career, playing at The Stone Pony and the Fast Lane in Asbury Park and at Big Man’s West in Red Bank. He suffered from crippling effects of Lyme disease later in his life and died in 2007.

Clarence Clemons
Clarence Clemons
1942 - 2011

Before he became the “Big Man” and Bruce Springsteen’s main onstage foil, Clarence Clemons played with Little Melvin & the Invaders, and later joined Norman Seldin and the Joyful Noyze. Clemons, originally from Norfolk County, Virginia, had moved to New Jersey with his first band, “The Vibratones,” which played James Brown covers. Clemons, who had once had a try-out with the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys but missed another try-out with the Cleveland Browns after suffering serious injuries in a car accident, taught emotionally disturbed children at the New Jersey Training School in Jamesburg from 1962 until 1970. Seldin’s band, The Joyful Noyze, recorded an album featuring Clemons, and played frequent gigs at Asbury Park’s Wonder Bar. Clemons’ meeting with Springsteen is now the stuff of legend; in tales told by Springsteen and Clemons, the saxophone player was playing at the Wonder Bar when Joyful Noyze lead singer Karen Cassidy convinced him to go see Springsteen, who was performing with his band several blocks away at The Student Prince on Kingsley Street. On a dark and stormy night, Clemons opened the door, and the door blew off, or so the legend says. Clemons sat in with Springsteen that night and Springsteen later jammed with The Joyful Noyze on at least two occasions before The Boss asked Clemons to add tenor saxophone to “Blinded By the Light” and “Spirit in the Night,” songs he was recording for his first album, “Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.” When Springsteen went on the road to support the album, he called Clemons to join his band. Thus began a memorable musical partnership that resulted in Clemons contributing iconic saxophone parts to Springsteen songs like “Jungleland,” “Badlands,” “The Promised Land,” “Thunder Road,” “The Ties That Bind,” “Drive All Night,” “Sherry Darling” and many, many more. Besides his work with the E Street Band, Clemons recorded with many other artists, including Jackson Browne, on the Top 20 single, “You’re a Friend of Mine,” and Aretha Franklin on the Top 10 hit, “Freeway of Love.” He also recorded with a diverse group of artists including Lady Gaga, Roy Orbison, Luther Vandross, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, Ronnie Spector, Janis Ian, Twisted Sister and Carlene Carter. Clemons, who at one time lived in Sea Bright, owned the Red Bank nightclub Big Man’s West in the early 1980s, where he performed frequently with his band, “Clarence Clemons & The Red Bank Rockers.” A member of Ringo Starr’s “All-Starr Band” in 1989, Clemons and his band “The Temple of Soul” released two volumes of “Live in Asbury Park” in 2002 and 2004, recorded at the Stone Pony. Also an actor, Clemons had parts in several films, including “New York, New York,” “Blues Brothers 2000” and “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.” He was widely recognized as one of the most iconic saxophone players in the history of rock upon his death from stroke complications on June 18, 2011.

Danny Federici
Danny Federici
1950 - 2008

Born in Flemington, Danny Federici learned how to play the accordion at 7 years old, inspired by “The Lawrence Welk Show.” After mastering classical music and polkas, he became interested in jazz and blues and began playing keyboards as well as accordion. A graduate of Hunterdon Central High School, Federici eventually found his way to the Upstage Club in Asbury. He played with Bill Chinnock’s bands “The Storytellers” and “The Downtown Tangiers Band,” meeting and playing with Garry Tallent and Vini Lopez. He met Bruce Springsteen at the Upstage, and when Lopez and Federici decided to form the band “Child,” they recruited Springsteen to join as a guitar player and singer, along with bass player Vinnie Roslin. Child later morphed into Steel Mill, Springsteen’s most famous pre-E Street Band, which routinely drew crowds of more than 1,000 people to its shows in New Jersey and at its second home, in Richmond, Va. Federici earned his nickname “Phantom” following an infamous Steel Mill concert at the Clearwater Swim Club in Middletown in September 1970, which ended in a riot after the Middletown police pulled the plug on the band. Police accused Federici of knocking equipment onto them and planned to arrest him on charges of assaulting an officer. Federici avoided arrest at future shows by disappearing into the crowd when Steel Mill started their song “Resurrection,” earning the Phantom nickname. Federici played with Bruce Springsteen for nearly 40 years. He was the original organ player in the E Street Band, and played accordion as well, his gentle accordion parts are prominent on Springsteen’s love song to Asbury Park “Fourth of July, Asbury Park (Sandy).” His organ playing is prominent on other E Street classics, including “Kitty’s Back,” “Hungry Heart,” and “Racing in the Street.” “Danny and I worked together for 40 years – he was the most wonderfully fluid keyboard player and pure natural musician,” Springsteen said when Federici passed away after a long struggle with melanoma in 2008. “I loved him very much…We grew up together.” Federici released two solo albums, “Flemington,” in 1997, and “Out of a Dream” in 2004.

John Luraschi
John Luraschi
1952 - 2009

An Upstage Club regular, Johnny Luraschi used to come to the club from his home in Belmar, sometimes with his neighbor, a young keyboard player named David Sancious. Luraschi’s older brother, Eddie, was a bouncer at the club. A bass player, Johnny got his first guitar when he was 8. Before he came to the Upstage, Luraschi’s first band was the Sting Rays in 1964 and later was a 14-year-old bass player with a surf band, Artie Paloso and the Surftones. After the Upstage days, Luraschi played in a series of seminal Asbury bands, including Billy and the Kids, Sonny Kenn Blues Band, Cahoots,Cold, Blast & Steel, The George Theiss Band, The Disco Rejects, Hot Romance, Whistler and the Wheels, the Nicky Addeo Band, the Fabulous Z Band, Steel Mill Retro and Boccigalupe & the Bad Boys. After being diagnosed with the lung cancer that would take his life, Luraschi released a cd, “The End of the Road,” which features a duet with Bruce Springsteen on the song, “Savin’ Up.” Johnny’s studio work also included a number of albums including "Hot Romance", "Spirit of Asbury Park" and "Summer of ’89". Vini Lopez, who played with Luraschi in The Disco Rejects and Steel Mill Retro, said Luraschi’s bass-playing was “rock solid, and that allows the rest of the musicians to go off on their tangents." In 1976 John was mentioned in the Springsteen penned liner notes on the back of Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes’ debut album, “I Don’t Wanna Go Home” and in 1990, John was awarded the Society of Associated Performers Bassist of the Year Award. The year 2008 saw Johnny named a ”Creator of the Sound Asbury Park” and added to the Sounds Of Asbury Park (SOAP) monument next to the Paramount Theatre on Ocean and 5th Aves. Luraschi succumbed to lung cancer in 2009.

Joe Arthur Major
Joe Arthur Major
1939 - 1978

Born in St. Petersburg, Fla. In 1939, Joe Major moved to Asbury Park with his mother and sister at age 5. He was later raised by his aunt, who owned a rooming house in the city. Major attended Bangs Avenue Elementary School through eighth grade and then moved on to Asbury Park High school, where he excelled at varsity football and formed an R&B vocal group, “The Mar-Keys.” Major had a deep bass singing voice, one of the best in the area. In 1954, Major managed to convince fellow student Lenny Welch to join him in The Mar-Keys. Welch has often credited Major with giving him his start in music. The Mar-Keys were never recorded, but are remembered as one of the West Side’s finest sounding R&B vocal groups. Their career was short-lived, however, and some members of the Mar-Keys, including Major, soon found themselves singing with Bobby Thomas & The vibes, another great R&B group from the West Side. After high school, Major enlisted in the Air Force. He married Harriet Jordan and they had three daughters. When Major left the Air Force, he went to work for the state Department of Corrections at the Jamesburg Training School for Boys. He also resumed his singing career, this time with Ron Coleman and the Uniques, a vocal group that would evolve into “The Broadways.” The Uniques, with Joe Major, recommended for noted producer Eddie Singletary in New York but the recordings were apparently never released. Major left The Uniques in 1961. He was only 38 when he passed away in 1978, from diabetes complications. Much thanks for Charlie and Pam Horner of Classic Urban Harmony for Joe Major’s biographical information.

Arthur Morris
Arthur Morris
1916 - 1969

One of the unsung heroes of Asbury Park’s music scene, according to Charlie and Pam Horner of Classic Urban Harmony, LLC, Arthur Morris played a major role in the development of music in the city in the 1950s and 1960s, serving as a mentor to many of the young performers on the city’s predominantly African-American West Side. Born in 1916 in Williston, Fla., near Gainesville, Morris was a migrant worker, coming at times to work in the apple orchards in Colts Neck. He grew fond of New Jersey and decided to move here in 1948, settling in Asbury Park on the West Side. Morris’ father was a minister, and in Asbury, Arthur joined the St. Stephen AME Zion Church and formed his first gospel group in the late 1940s. The group, the Golden Harmonaires, became a popular singing group, with Morris singing lead. With the growing popularity of his group, Morris in 1950 approached the Asbury Park radio station WCAP (later to become WJLK) and asked if he could do a weekly gospel radio program. The station agreed, and Morris began hosting “The Gospel Train” from 9 to 11 a.m. on Sundays. The program featured live songs performed by the Golden Harmonaires as well as gospel records by groups like the Dixie Hummingbirds, the Soul Stirrers and the Swan Silvertones. The show also featured advertisements for West Side businesses and became a voice for the West Side community which would remain on the air for 15 years. The radio program’s popularity helped draw major gospel acts to Asbury Park, and Morris began promoting his own gospel programs at churches and school auditoriums in Asbury Park, Neptune and Long Branch. His shows included groups like the Soul Stirrers, featuring a young Sam Cooke, the Dixie Hummingbirds, the Harmonizing Four and the Soul Seekers. Morris, who had a dry cleaning business, delegated the running of the business to one of his sons and began working as head of the maintenance department at Asbury Park’s Convention Hall by the mid-1950s. His job gave him more contacts in the entertainment business, and he began booking secular shows at Convention Hall and the city’s Armory on Bond Street while continuing to book his gospel programs. He helped to bring R&B acts like Baby Washington, the Cadillacs, the Paragons and the Dubs to the city. Morris also mentored many of the city’s up and coming singers, including Bobby Thomas and the Vibranaires, the first of the city’s vocal groups, who got their start singing on Morris’ Sunday program. He also helped the Mar-Keys, featuring future pop star Lenny Welch, with their harmonies. Two of Morris’ daughters recorded with the vocal group the Endeavors, and his son, Caleb, sang with a popular Asbury vocal group, The Juveniles. Morris was also a community leader, known as the unofficial “mayor” of the city’s West Side. City officials called on Morris frequently whenever an important person of color, be it Dr. Martin Luther King or Jackie Robinson, came to visit Asbury Park. Morris was the man asked to show them around. Arthur Morris passed away in the mid-1960s.

Tom & Margaret Potter
Tom & Margaret Potter
1923-1997/1923-1993

Tom and Margaret were hairdressers and music lovers who in 1968, changed the face of music in Asbury Park when they opened the Upstage Club above a Thom McAn shoe store on Cookman Avenue at Bond Street. The second floor housed the Green Mermaid Cafe, while the third floor contained a large room with a bank of speakers by the stage. Music started at 9 p.m. in the Green Mermaid, where Margaret Potter’s band, “Margaret and the Distractions,” was the house band. At midnight, zoning law required that the club close down and clear out the crowd for awhile, before reopening on the third floor for an all-night jam that lasted from 1 to 5 a.m. Here Jersey Shore musicians gathered to hone their skills, with musicians like Bruce Springsteen, Ricky DeSarno, Bill Chinnock and Billy Ryan, Vini “Mad Dog” Lopez, Big Bad Bobby Williams, Kevin Kavanaugh, Garry Tallent, Danny Federici, Steven Van Zandt, David Sancious and Kevin Kavanaugh joining in loose knit groups to jam all night. “The Upstage was really the birth of the whole Asbury Park scene, the whole idea that the Jersey Shore had something to say musically,” according to Robert Santelli, an Upstage regular who is now executive director of the Grammy Museum. Musicians were drawn to the Upstage because it was a place where they were allowed, and encouraged, to experiment, to try new things, to write original music. Filled with fluorescent paintings and a laid-back vibe, the club was a little bit of Haight-Ashbury in Asbury. It closed for good in October 1971, but its influence lives on to this day. Tom and Margaret separated shortly after the club closed and Tom re-located to Florida. Margaret maintained a beauty salon in Asbury Park and later was one of the founding members of the musicians organization SOAP (Society of Associated Performers), which worked to preserve Asbury music legacy, improve conditions for performers, and raise money for charities. Margaret Potter died in 1993, and Tom Potter passed away in 1997.

Moe Septee
Moe Septee
1925 - 1997

Born Moses Septytor in Poland in 1925, Moe Septee came with his family to Newark in 1928. Septytor wrote for the television series “The Eternal Light” co-produced by NBC and the Jewish Theological Seminary. He was advised to change his name if he wanted a career in entertainment and became Moe Septee. He worked in radio and television and had a public relations firm in Newark before he began producing classical music concerts at the Mosque Theatre (later renamed Symphony Hall) and in Philadelphia at the Academy of Music. On May 2, 1961, Septee brought Judy Garland to Newark, where she played to a packed house. By then, Septee and his wife, Ruth, had three young daughters, and he noticed that young people were listening to a different type of music. He booked Joan Baez, then met Bob Dylan and booked him twice. In 1964, he brought The Beatles to Philadelphia. The year before, Septee, whose family had been summering in Belmar and eventually bought a summer home in Deal, noticed Convention Hall and began producing pop music shows there, in partnership with Felix Gerstman. Their first season was not that successful: acts like Ella Fitzgerald, Dave Brubeck and Victor Borge did not sell that many tickets. But Peter, Paul and Mary did sell, and Septee realized that by appealing to younger audiences, his summer concert series could be a success. In 1964 he debuted his “Summer of Stars” series of shows at Convention Hall, which brought the biggest rock names to the 3,500-seat venue. Bands such as The Who, The Rolling Stones, The Doors, the Dave Clark Five, Jimi Hendrix, Janice Joplin, the Temptations, Otis Redding, the Supremes, Black Sabbath, The Beach Boys, James Brown, The Byrds and Ray Charles played at the Hall. On the evening of August 16, 1969, Led Zeppelin played Convention Hall after their manager, Peter Grant, rejected an offer to play at Woodstock. Joe Cocker opened for Zeppelin that night before heading to Bethel, N.Y., for his opening slot on Woodstock’s third and final day. Septee was a hands-on producer, distributing posters, selling tickets from the box office, and hiring off-duty Asbury police to provide security. By 1974, Septee decided to leave the concert promotion business in Asbury in 1975 to devote more time to producing plays for the theater. His family says Septee knew Asbury was in good hands with John Scher in charge. Septee brought shows like "Yentle," "Bubbling Brown Sugar" and "Richard III," starring Al Pacino, to the state before his death at age 71, in 1997.

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