Southside Johnny, The Smithereens to be among NJ Hall of Fame inductees

Southside Smithereens NJ Hall of Fame

Southside Johnny, left, and The Smithereens (from left, Dennis Diken, Jim Babjak, Pat DiNizio and Mike Mesaros).

Righting two longtime wrongs, the New Jersey Hall of Fame will include two of the state’s greatest homegrown rock artists, Southside Johnny and The Smithereens, in its next class, with other inductees including author and television personality Martha Stewart, “Game of Thrones” novelist George R.R. Martin, former Giants linebacker Harry Carson and “Seinfeld” co-star Jason Alexander.

The announcement was made today at a press conference at the Newark Airport, at which it was announced that the induction ceremony will take place in Asbury Park in October.

“I’d rather be in the New Jersey Hall of Fame than in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, because at least I know the people care about me here,” said Southside Johnny. “I just wish it came with a check.”

“Being recognized by the friends and fans of the state that bred us means the world to us,” said The Smithereens’ Dennis Diken.

“As a lifelong resident, I am honored to represent New Jersey on behalf of all the hard working, talented, and passionate musicians of our great state,” said The Smithereens’ Jim Babjak.

The Smithereens’ induction will be bittersweet, since its co-founder and frontman, Pat DiNizio, died in 2017. The band continues to perform, with Marshall Crenshaw and Robin Wilson (of Gin Blossoms) singing lead.

Other inductees will include the late “Jaws” novelist Peter Benchley, Star-Ledger sports columnist Jerry Izenberg, photographer Timothy White, restaurateur and Holiday Express founder Tim McLoone, gymnast Laurie Hernandez and the late basketball player and coach Anne Donovan.

The complete list of inductees, by category, is:

ARTS AND LETTERS: Peter Benchley, George R.R. Martin, Jerry Izenberg, Timothy White

ENTERPRISE: J. Fletcher Creamer Sr., F.M. Kirby II, Tim McLoone, Arthur F. Ryan, Mary Roebling, Martha Stewart

PERFORMING ARTS: Southside Johnny, The Smithereens, Jason Alexander

PUBLIC SERVICE: Victor Parsonnet, Elizabeth Allen

SPORTS: Harry Carson, Laurie Hernandez, Bart Oates, Anne Donovan

I will update this post with more details, as they become available. For information, visit


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Carolyn L'Hommedieu June 10, 2019 - 3:10 pm

As a long time and current Fan of the Smithereens I feel compelled to say this .. It is a shame that Pat and the Smitheens did not get this recognition before he passed, he was compelled to share good music that people love and was doing it for years … For all the hits that band produced They all should have been inducted years before .. I am sure he is smiling where ever he is and I am absolutely thrilled with this and I am so happy for the Band Members .. They are all SO loved

Dave Gorman May 8, 2020 - 9:29 am

Congratulations to Southside and the Smithereens in both cases its about time!


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