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 njhalloffame.org.
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