Written by Jill Nossa
Richie Cannata may be best known for his song credits but his name will become a part of history this week. Cannata, a 28-year resident and business owner of Glen Cove, will be inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame on Thursday, Oct. 23 at The Paramount in Huntington.
As a member of the Billy Joel Band, the saxophone player was propelled to fame in 1975 when he joined the band and played on songs including “New York State of Mind” and “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant.”
“Finally, somebody paid attention,” Cannata says with a laugh. “Our legacy precedes itself; it’s way fun knowing that you’re going to be remembered. Now my work will be truly documented.”
Cannata grew up in Brooklyn and moved to Glen Cove in the late 1980s, around the same time he opened his recording studio, Cove City Sound Studios, a state of the art facility on Pratt Boulevard which he now co-owns with his son, Eren.
“When I built this building, we guaranteed them I would bring music and art into Glen Cove…and we’ve done that,” says Cannata, who now sits on the board of the Downtown Business Improve District (BID).
Major clientele including Mariah Carey, Jennifer Lopez, Banjo Boys, Marc Anthony, Whitney Houston, and of course, Billy Joel, have recorded at Cove City Sound Studios. Some bands, such as Dream Theater, are in town recording for five months at a stretch, and they support the city’s restaurants and hotel, play golf at the city’s golf course and visit the local beaches.
“It’s special for us to show them that…It attracts people, and it’s good attention,” he says.
Every summer Cannata plays a show as part of the Friday night Downtown Sounds Concert Series in Glen Cove.
“It’s a fun show. The restaurants do well and it’s fun to bring music into our city. It also brings other communities into our city,” he says, expressing appreciation to the city for putting on the concert series. “I commend Francine and Mary; they’ve been great and they pull it off every year.”
When asked about the current state of the recording industry, Cannata said, “It’s sad. It has clogged the avenues to real talent, where people could sing and play in time and in tune; these days you really don’t have to [because of digital technology]. So it has affected us in a big way, but we attract more bands and musicians that want to set up and play…and young people are coming back looking for it.”
Outside of the studio, Cannata maintains a busy tour schedule and is the musical director for the Monday Night Jam Band at the Bitter End in the West Village. He will be inducted in the fifth class of honorees at the red carpet ceremony on Thursday along with the other members of the Billy Joel Band.
“We are humbled to have such support from these industry giants who have contributed so much to the music history of Long Island,” said Jeff James, chairman of the Long Island Music Hall of Fame.