Hamptons officials and police convened an emergency session this week to amend the East End Live Music Control Act, a law that governs what is legal in music performance across the East End.
“Several of our music inspection officers were reporting hearing John Denver and Carpenters songs at local venues, and noted that audiences were having very bad reactions,” spokesman Orville Pine said on Tuesday. “Back when we devised our list of controlled covers [i.e. songs that can be played only infrequently], we didn’t think to include John Denver or Carpenters songs on the list—we didn’t think anybody played them anymore.”
Pine speculates that some local musicians noted that songs like “Leaving on a Jet Plane” and “Close to You” weren’t on the controlled cover list and exploited what he calls the “unintended Denver/Carpenters loophole.”
In the emergency session, officials elected to put all John Denver and The Carpenters’ music on the “Do Not Play” list until they can figure out what’s going on. Musicians are warned not to play this music or risk the consequences.
In October of 2015, one such perpetrator deigned to play “Brown Eyed Girl,” “Sweet Caroline” and “Friend of the Devil” during one 45-minute set—a flagrant violation of the law, which states that musicians may play just one of these controlled songs per set. The man also engaged in illegal “guitar doodling,” and he played “Cheeseburger in Paradise” even though Jimmy Buffett was not on the bandstand—in violation of the Buffett Rule.
“He has yet to be apprehended, but it’s safe to say he’ll never play in the Hamptons again,” Pine said, explaining, “The East End Live Music Control Act is working, and there’s no harm in expanding its scope.”