The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum

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Bruce Springsteen Accepts

Thank you. Thanks. Thank you. Thanks. Well, uh, you should remember that you always want an Irishman to give your induction speech. I knew I always liked you Bono; you were scaring me a bit there, though. I wasn't that good. But I liked the part about my good looks the best. Anyway, I guess, let me warn you, the records took two years, the shows three hours, so the speech may take a little while. I stood on this stage when I inducted Roy Orbison, and Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Bob Dylan - an artist whose music was critical part of my own life, and tonight I hope that my music served my audience half as well. If I succeeded, thanks. If I succeeded in doing that, it's been with the help of many, many kindred spirits along the way. I'd like to thank my mother, Adele, for that slushy Christmas Eve, that Christmas Eve - a night like the one outside - when we stood outside the music store, and I pointed at that sunburst guitar, and she had that 60 bucks, and I said, "I need that one." She got me what I needed, and she protected me, and provided for me a thousand other days and nights. 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. Mama! The Italian side of the side of the family. Mama! Now, my dad, he passed away this year - but I've got to thank him, because, what would I conceivably have written about without him? I mean, imagine if everything had gone great between us, it would have been a disaster, you know? I would have written just happy songs. I tried to do that 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 when you're born in the USA. I miss you, Dad. There's a lot of other people. Marian 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, Marian. Carl Tinker-West, another one of my early managers, whose support I couldn't have done without. He introduced me to Mike Capel, 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. Anyway, Mike introduced me to the world of Columbia Records, which has been my home for the past 25 years. From the early days with John Hammond and Clive Davis, to the high-rolling times with Walter Yetnikov and Al Teller, to the present with my friends Tommy Natol and Donnie Einer [?], they created a conduit for a lifetime of thoughts and ideas - a place where I felt safe, and supported, and encouraged to do my best and my truest work. I've heard enough record company horror stories right from this stage, to realize that - to appreciate the fact that I don't have one. And for that I've got to thank all the men and women of Columbia Records, around the world, past and present. Thank you very much for your efforts. I've got to thank my co-producer Chuck Plock and engineer Toby Scott for a sustained contribution to my recorded work. They remained in the saddle as often years went by, wondering if we'd ever get the music out, 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. No mention of my records would be complete without Bob Clearmountain, the great mixer, who helped me bring my music to a larger audience. I want to thank my tour director George Travis and all the great crews he's assembled on the road over the years; thank you George. I want to thank my agent Barry Bell and Frank Barcelone for a great job. All right. Thank you. Now for the lawyers. Gotta thank them, you know? Peter Parcher and Steve Hayes - they protected me and my music for 22 years; I appreciate it. This next one's a little tough one. Alan Gruebman, and Arty Dirsty [?] - 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. You know, the money man goes to the record company, and he's in charge of bringing back the pink Cadillac. Now, when Alan and Arty go, they bring back the pink Cadillac, the blue Cadillac, the red Cadillac, the yellow Cadillac, the pink Cadillac with the white walls - but then they take the blue Cadillac. Then 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. 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, uh, oh - the next guy - this is John Landau, or - as I sometimes call him - John "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" Landau. I've seen the future of rock and roll management, and its name is John Landau. I've got to return the favor there. That quote was managing... it was a mite burdensome for me, but as he often said, "That's your job." But John's given me something beyond friendship, beyond guidance - his intelligence, his sense of the truth, his recognition of my intelligence. We were worlds colliding. His creative ability as a producer, an editor, speech writer 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 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 that I treasure owing. Thank you, Johnny, I love you. I also want to thank Barbara Landau, and Kate and Charlie, for sharing John 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 re-dedicated, re-educated, re-animated, resuscitated, and re-invigorated with the power, the magic, the mystery, and the ministry of rock and roll. Vini Lopez, Boom Carter, early drummers of the band, Davy Sancious, Nils Lofgren, the most over-qualified second guitarist in show business, he plays ten 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've ever met, and the only member of the band that 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, great bass player, rock and roll aficionado, whose quiet and dignity grace my band and my life; thank you Gary. 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 Weinburg - mighty Max - star of the Conan O'Brien show. Conan ain't too bad either. Max found a place where Bernard Purdy, 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 VanZandt. For those of you that have seen the Sopranos, and are worried that that's what Steve is like - that's what he's like. He's a lifetime of rock and 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'll never happen again. I love you, Steve. Patti Scialfa [?] - she busted the boy's club, big time. It went like this: "OK, fellas - there's gonna be a woman 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, ten of the best years of my life, Evan, Jesse, Sam - three children genealogically linked to the E-Street band tells the rest of the story. 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. Now, last but not least, Clarence Clemons, that's right. You wanna be like him, but you can't. The night I met Clarence, he got up on stage; a sound came out of his horn that seemed to rattle the glasses behind 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 happened when we stood side by side; some energy, some unspoken story. For 15 years, Clarence has been a source of myth, and light, and enormous strength for me onstage. He has filled my heart so many nights, so many nights. And I love it when he wraps me in his arms at the end of the night. That night when we first stood together, I looked over at C., and it looked like his head reached into the clouds, and I felt like a mere mortal, scurrying upon the earth. 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 that I could never have told without him at my side. I want to thank you, Big Man - I love you so much. So, as Stevie VanZandt says: "Rock and roll, it's a bad, band thing [?]," and that includes you, the audience. Thank you for giving me access and interest 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 here tonight without you, and I can't stand up here now without you. Please join me.