von Bruce Springsteen
in die Rock`n Roll Hall of Fame
Introducing Speech for Bruce from U2 Frontman Bono:
"He hasn't done the things most rock stars do. He got rich and famous,
but never embarrassed himself with all that success, did he? No
drug busts, no blood changes in Switzerland. Even more remarkable,
no golfing! No bad hair period, even in the '80s. No wearing of
dresses in videos ... No embarrassing movie roles, no pet snakes,
no monkeys. No exhibitions of his own paintings. No public brawling
or setting himself on fire.
"Rock stars are supposed to make soap operas of their lives, aren't
they? If they don't kill themselves first. Well, you can't be a
big legend and not be dysfunctional. It's not allowed.
You should at least have lost your looks. Everyone else has. Have
you seen him? It's like Madame Tussaud's back there.
"Then there's Bruce Springsteen. Handsome mother with those brooding
brown eyes, eyes that could see through America. And a catastrophe
of great songs, if you were another songwriter. Bruce has played
every bar in the U.S.A., and every stadium. Credibility -- you couldn't
have more, unless you were dead. But Bruce Springsteen, you always
knew, was not gonna die stupid. He didn't buy the mythology that
screwed so many people. Instead he created an alternative mythology,
one where ordinary lives became extraordinary and heroic. Bruce
Springsteen, you were familiar to us. But it's not an easy familiarity,
is it? Even his band seems to stand taller when he walks in the
room. It's complex. He's America's writer, and critic. It's like
in 'Badlands,' he's Martin Sheen and Terrence Malick. To be so accessible
and so private ... But then again, he is an Irish-Italian, with
a Jewish-sounding name. What more do you want? Add one big African
sax player, and no one in this room is gonna fuck with you!
"In 1974, I was 14. Even I knew the '60s were over. It was the era
of soft- rock and fusion. The Beatles was gone, Elvis was in Vegas.
What was goin' on? Nothin' was goin' on. Bruce Springsteen was comin'
on, saving music from the phonies, saving lyrics from the folkies,
saving leather jackets from the Fonz. (Sings) 'Now the greasers,
they tramp the streets and get busted for sleeping on the beaches
all night, and them boys in their high heels, ah Sandy, their skins
are so white. Oh Sandy, love me tonight, and I promise I'll love
you forever.' In Dublin, Ireland, I knew what he was talking about.
Here was a dude who carried himself like Brando, and Dylan, and
Elvis. If John Steinbeck could sing, if Van Morrison could ride
a Harley-Davidson .... It was something new, too. He was the first
whiff of Scorsese, the first hint of Patti Smith, Elvis Costello
and the Clash. He was the end of long hair, brown rice and bell
bottoms. It was the end of the 20-minute drum solo. It was good
night, Haight-Ashbury; hello, Asbury Park.
"America was staggering when Springsteen appeared. The president
just resigned in disgrace, the U.S. had lost its first war. There
was going to be no more oil in the ground.
The days of cruising and big cars were supposed to be over. But
Bruce Springsteen's vision was bigger than a Honda, it was bigger
than a Subaru. Bruce made you believe that dreams were still out
there, but after loss and defeat, they had to be braver, not just
bigger. He was singing 'Now you're scared and you're thinking that
maybe we ain't that young anymore,' because it took guts to be romantic
now. Knowing you could lose didn't mean you still didn't take the
ride. In fact, it made taking the ride all the more important.
"Here was a new vision, and a new community. More than a community,
because every great rock group is kind of like starting a religion.
and Bruce surrounded himself with fellow believers. The E Street
-- it wasn't just a great rock group, or a street gang. It was a
brotherhood. Zealots like Steve Van Zandt, the bishop Clarence Clemons,
the holy Roy Bittan, crusaders Danny Federici, Max Weinberg, Garry
Tallent and later Nils Lofgren.
And Jon Landau, Jon Landau, Jon Landau, Jon Landau, Jon Landau.
What do you call a man who makes his best friend his manager, his
producer, his confessor? You call him the Boss. And Springsteen
didn't just marry a gorgeous red-headed woman from the Jersey Shore.
She could sing, she could write, and she could tell the Boss off.
"For me and the rest of the U2-ers, it wasn't just the way he described
the world. It was the way he negotiated it. It was a map, a book
of instructions on how to be in the business but not of it. Generous
is a word you could use to describe the way he treated us.
Decency is another. But these words can box you in. I remember when
Bruce was headlining Amnesty International's tour for prisoners
of conscience, I remember thinking 'Wow, if ever there was a prisoner
of conscience, it's Bruce Springsteen.' Integrity can be a yoke,
a pain...when your songs are taking you to a part of town where
people don't expect to see you.
"At some point I remember riding in an elevator with gentleman Bruce,
where he just stared straight ahead of himself, and completely ignored
me. I was crushed. Only when he walked into the doors as they were
opening, did I realize the impossible was happening.
My god, Bruce Springsteen, the Buddha of my youth, is plastered!
Drunk as a skunk! ... I have to go back to the book of instructions,
scratch the bit out about how you held yourself in public. By the
way, that was a great relief.
"Something was going on, though. As a fan I could see that my hero
was beginning to rebel against his own public image. Things got
even more interesting on 'Tunnel of Love,' when he started to deface
it. A remarkable bunch of tunes, where our leader starts having
a go at himself, and the hypocrisy of his own heart, before anyone
else could. But the tabloids
could never break news on Bruce Springsteen. Because his fans...
he had already told us everything in the songs. We knew he was spinning.
We could feel him free- falling. But it wasn't in chaos or entropy.
It was in love.
"We call him the Boss. Well that's a bunch of crap. He's not the
boss. He works for us.
More than a boss, he's the owner, because more than anyone else,
Bruce Springsteen owns America's heart."
of Bruce Springsteen:
Remember, you always want an Irishman to give your induction speech
...I knew I always liked you, Bono. You were scaring me a little
bit there. I wasn't that good. But I like the part about my good
looks. Anyway, let me warn you. The records took two years, the
show's three hours, so the speechmay take a little while.
I'd like to thank my mother, Adele, for that slushy Christmas Eve.
For that Christmas Eve and night like the one outside, when we stood
outside the music store and I pointed to that Sunburst guitar and
she had that 60 bucks and I said, "I need that one, Ma." She got
me -- she got me what I needed,and she protected me and provided
for me on a thousand other days and nights. So ... As importantly,
she gave me a sense of work as something that was joyous and that
filled you with pride and self-regard, and that committed you to
your world. Thanks Mom. This is yours tonight. Take it home as a
small return on the investment you made in your son. Momma ... The
Italian side of thefamily ... Momma ...
Now my dad, he passed away this year, but I've gotta thank him because
-- what would I conceivably have written about without him? I mean,
you can imagine that if everything had gone great between us, we
would have had disaster. I would have written just happy songs --
and I tried it in the early '90s and it didn't work; the public
didn't like it. He never said much about my music, except that his
favorite songs were the ones about him. And that was enough, you
know? Anyway, I put on his work clothes and I went to work. It was
the way that I honored him. My parents' experience forged my own.
They shaped my politics, and they alerted me to what is at stake
whenyou're born in the U.S.A. I miss you Dad.
A lot of other people: Marion and Tex Vinyard. They took me under
their wing when I was 15. They opened up their home to a bunch of
rock and roll misfits and let us make a lot of noise and practice
all night long. Thanks Marion.
Carl "Tinker" West, another one of my early managers, whose support
I couldn't have done without. He introduced me to Mike Appel, and
Mike kicked the doors down when they needed kicking. And I consider
him my friend; I want to say Mike, thanks for everything -- mostly
everything -- and thanks for being my guest here tonight. I'm glad
you're here with me. Mike introduced me to the world of John Hammond
and Clive Davis to the high-rollin' years of Walter Yetnikoff and
Al Teller,to the present with my friends Tommy Mottola and Donny
Ienner. They created a conduit for a lifetime of thoughts and ideas,
a place where I was ... I felt safe and i've heard enough record
company horror stories right from this stage to realize, to appreciate
the fact that I don't have one.
And for that I've gotta thank all the men and women at Columbia
Records around the world, past and present. Thank you very much
for your efforts. I've gotta thank my co-producer, Chuck Plotkin,
(and) engineer Toby Scott for their sustained contributions to my
recorded work. They remained in the saddle as often years went by,
wondering if we'd ever get the music or if they'd ever get a royalty
check. They kept their cool and their creativity ... of course they're
basket cases now ... but we remain friends and great working partners.
And no mention of my records would be complete without Bob Clearmountain,
a great mixer who helped me bring my music to a wider audience.
I want to thank my tour director, George Travis, and the great crews
he's assembled on the road over the years. Thank you George. I want
to thank my agents, Barry Bell and Frank Barsalona, for a great
job. All right ... Thank you ...
Now the lawyers -- gotta thank them. Peter Parcher and Steve Hayes.
They protected me and my music for 22 years. I appreciate it. This
next one's a little tough. Allen Grubman and Artie Indursky, names
familiar to many in this room. They're the money men. How can I
put this? These are great and complicated and misunderstood Americans
... They're men that are entrusted with a very, very important task.
For the folks that don't know, the money man goes to the record
company, and he's in charge of bringing back the pink Cadillac.
Well, when Allen and Artie go, they bring back the pink
Cadillac ... and the blue Cadillac ... and the yellow Cadillac...
and the red Cadillac ... and the pink
Cadillac with the whitewalls ... but then they take the blue Cadillac
... and they take the hubcaps off the yellow Cadillac ... but that
still leaves you with a few Cadillacs. And they make sure that neither
you nor themselves, of course, are gonna be broke when you're riding
in the black Cadillac. So ..they do that well.
I've gotta thank Barbara Carr for her love and loyalty and dedication.
Couldn't get along without you Barb. My friend Dave Marsh: Thank
you so much. And oh, the next guy. Yeah. This is ... Jon Landau,
or as I sometimes call him, Jon "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" Landau.
I've seen the future of rock 'n' roll management, and its name is
Jon Landau ... I had to return the favor there. But that was --
that quote was managing, it was a mite burdensome for me. But as
he often said, "That's your job." But Jon's given me something beyond
friendship and beyond guidance: his intelligence, his sense of the
truth, his recognition of my intelligence. His creative ability
as a producer and editor -- his speechwriter earlier this evening
-- his ability to see through to the heart of matters, both professional
and personal, and the love that he's given me has altered my life
forever. What I hope to give to my fans with my music -- a greater
sense of themselves and and greater freedom -- he with his talents
and his abilities has done that for me. There's no thank you tonight
that's gonna do the job, and it's a debt that I can't repay -- and
one I treasure always. Thank you Jon. I love you. I also want to
thank Barbara Landau, and Kate and Charlie, for sharing Jon with
me over the years. I know it hasn't been easy.
Now, last but not least, the men and women - the mighty men and
women of the E Street Band. Oh Lord ... Oh Lord ... who I have reeducated
and rededicated, reanimated, resuscitated and reinvigorated with
the power, the magic, the mystery, the ministry of rock 'n' roll.
Vini Lopez, Boom Carter, early drummers of the band. David Sancious.
Nils Lofgren, the most overqualified second guitarist in show business.
He plays 10 times better than me and he still wanders over to hear
my solos when I play. I guess he's checking to see if I'm getting
any better. Danny Federici, the most instinctive and natural musician
I ever met and the only member of the band who can reduce me to
a shouting mess. I love you Danny. Your organ and accordion playing
brought the boardwalks of Central and South Jersey alive in my music.
Thank you. Garry Tallent. Southern man, my lovely friend, bass player,
rock 'n' roll aficionado whose quiet and dignity graced my band
and my life.
Thank you Garry. Roy Bittan. Roy's playing formed the signature
sound of some of my greatest records. He can play anything. He's
always there for me. His emotional generosity and his deep personal
support mean a great, great deal to me.Thank you Roy. Max Weinberg
- Mighty Max. Starof the Conan O'Brien show. Conan ain't too bad
either . Max found a place where Bernard Purdie, Buddy Rich and
Keith Moon intersected and he made it his own. I ask and he delivers
for me night after night. Thank you Max. Stevie Van Zandt. For those
of you who have seen "The Sopranos" and are worried that that's
what Steve is like ... that's what he's like. He's a lifetime rock
'n' roll friendship. We did it all, you know. Great songwriter,
producer, great guitarist. We haven't played together in 15 years,
and if it's up to me, that won't ever happen again. I love you Steve.
Patti Scialfa. She busted the boys' club, big time. Oh ... It went
like this: "Okay fellas. There's gonna be awoman in the band. We
need someone to sing all the high parts. How complicated can it
get?" Well, a nice paparazzi photo of me in my Jockey shorts on
a balcony in Rome. 10 of the best years of my life. Evan, Jessie
and Sam, three children genealogically linked to the E Street Band
tell the rest of the story. Everybody, everybody wants to know how
I feel about the band. Hell, I married one of 'em. Thank you baby.
You hit all the high notes. You're tougher than the rest. Oh now,
last but not least, Clarence Clemons.
That's right. You want to be like but you can't, you know. The night
I met Clarence, he got up on stage and a sound came out of his horn
that seemed to rattle the glassesbehind the bar, and threatened
to blow out the back wall. The door literally blew off the club
in a storm that night, and I knew I'd found my sax player. But there
was something else, something - something happened when we stood
side by side. Some ... some ... some energy, some unspoken story.
For 15 years Clarence has been a source of myth and light and enormous
strength for me on stage. He has filled my heart so many nights.
And I love it when he wraps me in those arms at the end of the night.
That night we first stood together, I looked over at Clarence and
it looked like his head reached into the clouds. And I felt like
a mere mortal scurrying upon the earth, you know.
But he always lifted me up. Way, way, way up. Together we told a
story of the possibilities of friendship, a story older than the
ones that I was writing and a story I could never have told without
him at my side. I want to thank you, Big Man, and I love you so
much. So, as Stevie Van Zandt says: "Rock 'n' roll, it's a band
thing." And that includes you, the audience. Thank you for giving
me access and entrance into your lives, and I hope that I've been
a good companion. But right now, my wife, my great friends, my great
collaborators, my great band: Your presence tonight honors me, and
I wouldn't be standing up here tonight without you, and I can't
stand up here tonight without you.
Please join me. Oh Jonny, you too.