Garden State Arts Foundation

Hall Of Fame

Bruce “Cousin Brucie” Morrow

Radio personality Bruce “Cousin Brucie” Morrow began his radio career just in time for the rock and roll craze on the radio scene. Cousin Brucie became a massively popular DJ among teenagers. To quote Cousin Brucie:

“…and those hits keep coming…” 

Events and music of the 50’s, 60’s, & 70’s are enjoying amazing reception thanks to WABC radio. Cousin Brucie’s Saturday Night Rock & Roll party airs live on 77WABC every Saturday night from 6-10pm.  Not only are we reaching old friends, but making thousands of new listeners who are eagerly searching for “our music”.

Cousin Brucie with a Little Help from The Beatles and Paul McCartney

Bobby Rydell

Robert Louis Ridarelli (April 26, 1942 – April 5, 2022)

Bobby Rydell was an American singer and actor who mainly performed rock and roll and traditional pop music.

In the early 1960s Bobby Rydell was considered a teen idol. His most well-known songs include “Wildwood Days”, “Wild One” and “Volare” (cover of an Italian song by Domenico Modugno, “Nel blu, dipinto di blu”); in 1963 he appeared in the musical film Bye Bye Birdie. In the 1980s, Bobby Rydell joined a trio called The Golden Boys, with fellow former teen idols Frankie Avalon and Fabian Forte.

He continued to tour up until his passing in 2022.

Performed Live at the
PNC Bank Arts Center

Jay Black

David Blatt (November 2, 1938 – October 22, 2021)

Jay Black was an American singer whose height of fame came in the 1960s when he was the lead singer of the band Jay and the Americans.

Jay Black was the second, and more widely known, Jay to lead the band Jay and the Americans, the first being Jay Traynor.

Black had previously come from the doo-wop group The Empires, where he had sung lead on their 1962 lone Epic Records single “Time and a Place” b/w “Punch Your Nose” (Epic 5-9527). He had previously used David Black as his professional name, but changed his first name to suit the band’s existing name. He would later bill himself as “Jay Black and the Americans” after the original band had broken up. The band had numerous hits, including “Come a Little Bit Closer”, “Cara Mia”, and “This Magic Moment.”

Jerry Blavat – The Geater

Gerald Joseph Blavat (July 3, 1940 – January 20, 2023)

Also known as “The Geator with the Heater” and “The Big Boss with the Hot Sauce.”

Everyone loved Jerry Blavat “The Geator with Heater”. He was a master at producing and performing in all his shows. Jerry showed us what it meant to enjoy every day. There will never be another.

We will miss you Friend, the ultimate MC, and are grateful for your energy, zest and love for music.

“Life is precious, and I am happy, and when I’m happy I want the world to be happy.”

He lived life to the fullest.

Tommy James

Tommy James & “The Shondells”

Tommy James’ road to superstardom began when a nightclub DJ in Pittsburgh discovered a two-year-old record by “The Shondells” and played it at his weekend dances. The crowd response was so overwhelmingly positive that radio deejays started spinning it and an enterprising record distributor bootlegged it, selling 80,000 copies in ten days. By May of 1966 “Hanky Panky” was the number one record in Pittsburgh and Tommy James was a sensation.

Tommy James promptly followed “Hanky Panky” with two more million selling singles – “Say I Am (What I Am)” and “It’s Only Love” – and the Hanky Panky album, which went gold just four weeks after its release.

With three hits under his belt, Tommy brought in producers Bo Gentry and Ritchie Cordell, and the three produced seven back-to-back smash singles: “I Think We’re Alone Now,” “Mirage,” “I Like The Way,” “Gettin’ Together,” “Out Of The Blue,” “Get Out Now,” and the party rock rave-up “Mony Mony.” The Gentry/Cordell/James team also produced three platinum albums.

Peter Noone

Peter Blair Denis Bernard Noone is a multi-talented entertainer, who has been delighting audiences nearly all his life. He was born in Manchester, England, where he studied voice and acting at St. Bede’s College and the Manchester School of Music and Drama. As a child, he played “Stanley Fairclough” in the long-running British soap opera Coronation Street. He was also featured in the television series Knight Errant, Family Solicitor and Monro’s Saki Stories.

At the age of fifteen, Peter achieved international fame as Herman, lead singer of the legendary Sixties pop band Herman’s Hermits. His classic hits include: “I’m Into Something Good” “Mrs. Brown, you’ve Got A Lovely Daughter”, “I’m Henry VIII, I Am”, “Silhouettes”, “Can’t You Hear My Heartbeat”, “Just A Little Bit Better”, “Wonderful World”, among others.

Frankie Avalon

If you can’t remember a time when Frankie Avalon wasn’t a part of your life, you aren’t alone. This talented performer can look back on a career that spans three generations of music, television and motion pictures which he feels is due primarily to the loyalty and trust of his audience.

Frankie’s years as a “Teenage Idol” have been succeeded by maturity and professionalism. He is currently one of the busiest nightclub performers in the country, playing the nations finest supper clubs and headlining top Las Vegas Hotel Main rooms. His motion picture career has already spanned some thirty films.

Dick Fox

Richard A. Fox (March 2, 1948 – June 16, 2022)

Dick Fox was a prominent talent agent with the William Morris Agency in the 70s and 80s.

He was credited with discovering such major talents as Larry David, Eddie Murphy, Billy Crystal, and Barry Manilow. He also represented Jerry Lewis, Neil Sedaka, Dion, Pat Cooper, Robert Klein, and Richard Belzer.

For the past 30 years, he was the producer of successful oldies shows including Dick Fox’s Golden Boys (featuring Frankie Avalon, Fabian, and Bobby Rydell) and many other musical revues from the 50s, 60s, and 70s.

Dick was referred to as the “Impresario of Doo Wop” and had an amazing eye for talent. He was passionate about music and baseball. In later years, he formed a special friendship with the late, great Mickey Mantle. Also, Dick was an avid contributor to the ASPCA.

May he be at peace in Rock n’ Roll Heaven.

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