Richard Branciforte, the publisher of Long Island’s nearly 50-year music publication Good Times Magazine, was inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame last Thursday.
He got a ride to the red carpet in a 1963 Thunderbird accompanied by an original member of the Drifters, sat in front of Billy Joel and was surrounded by people he’d worked with and interviewed over his decades-long career in the music industry.
“It was quite something,” Branciforte said.
The event, held at the The Space at Westbury, was the seventh annual induction celebrating the island’s music industry.
Roslyn’s Branciforte joins the ranks of Barbara Streisand, Salt-N-Pepa and Big Daddy Kane in the hall of fame.
“Rich was before the internet,” said Jim Faith, co-founder of the Long Island Hall of Fame and the gala’s producer. “Rich was the go-to place for every musician and band and artist that played on Long Island. If you wanted to know where to go to hear a band you went to Good Times. A lot of people still do.”
The ceremony honoring new inductees was a combination of speeches, performances and videos, and Branciforte said his favorite performance was hip-hop group EPMD (“it was like 12:30 in the morning and they just ripped the place apart”).
But it was also special for him to run into so many people he’s worked with and admires, some of whom he hadn’t seen in 20 years but told him they still read his magazine, Branciforte said.
When he was waiting in the wings to accept his induction, his wife brought him the business card of someone who she said wanted to speak with him.
It was Public Enemy’s Chuck D.
“‘I said, ‘Don’t you know who that was?’” Branciforte said.
The two had met 10 years ago, and Chuck D had told Branciforte he was a fan of the magazine but there was only one thing wrong with it: he’d never been interviewed.
That problem has since been resolved, Branciforte said.
Next year, to celebrate Good Times Magazine’s 50th anniversary, there will be two special editions that feature reprints of major interviews.
The publication will also host several events, including a gallery of images that the magazine’s photographers have taken over the years that will be shown at four locations on Long Island.
Being honored last week was a testament to how much Good Times Magazine has meant to so many people, Branciforte said.
“There were very few people who were being inducted who hadn’t been featured in Good Times,” he said. “We’ve covered the big names, but we’ve also covered the local up-and-coming artists … It’s an honor always to be honored by your peers.”