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Letter: Tribute to Hicksville’s Unsung Hero

Being a teenager in the ‘60s was truly an unforgettable experience. The sound of the neighborhood basement bands was on every corner and most of us were teenage wannabe rock and roll stars. There was a band called the Commandoes, which led the pack, and this was Howie Blauvelt’s band.

This group of young musicians was way ahead of the rest of the area bands at the time. They won the Nassau County Battle of the Bands and also appeared at the New York World’s Fair.

Howie had a style of bass playing that was all his own. Listening and watching him play was infectious. Howie graced many a stage during his musical career.

In 1966, Howie joined an established group who called themselves The Hassles. This group played all of the New York area hotspots such as The Eye in the Hamptons and Steve Paul’s Scene in New York City. The Hassles also toured other parts of the country and had two albums and two hit singles.

In 1968, The Hassles disbanded. Howie persevered and went on to play with many other top-notch musicians and performers such as Billy Joel, Ram Jam and Uncle Son until his untimely death on Oct. 25, 1993.

Each time I drive past the Hicksville Middle School, I can still hear Howie’s percussive bass riffs pounding through the gymnasium doors. That’s where it all started – playing there on Friday nights for the junior high school dances in the ’60s.

Anyone who ever had the pleasure of watching Howie perform surely understands what I mean. He will certainly be missed but never forgotten. He had all the notes of life.

Paul L. Korman