Stung by the loss of several rock ‘n’ roll contemporaries—including E Street Band saxophonist Clarence Clemons and keyboardist Danny Federici—Tony Pallagrosi, a onetime member of the band Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, last year formed the Asbury Angels Foundation (asburyangels.com), an initiative that will pay tribute to the musicians and entertainment professionals who have helped make Asbury Park a music mecca. “I felt if something wasn’t done now, that these people and their contributions would be lost,” Pallagrosi says.
Pallagrosi’s vision will come to life September 23, when plaques honoring the first class of Asbury Angels are unveiled on benches on the Asbury Park boardwalk. The 12 individuals to be commemorated in the new Boardwalk Hall of Fame include Clemons, Federici, bandleader/trombonist Arthur Pryor and concert promoter Moe Septee. The honorees were chosen by a panel of judges assembled by the foundation.
“Each honoree will be featured on a plaque that will include a QR code with a link to biographical information and an interactive blog for fans,” explains Jackie Pappas, executive director of the Asbury Park Chamber of Commerce. The plaques will become a permanent part of the boardwalk.
The Asbury Angels Foundation plans to add about 10 individuals to its Hall of Fame each year. “We want this program to be a living testimony to their lives and the impact they’ve had on making Asbury Park a music town,” says Pallagrosi.