Bruce Springsteen's Speech After Being
Inducted into the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame
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 speech may take a little while.
I stood on this stage and I inducted Roy Orbison, and Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Bob Dylan -- artists whose music was a critical part of my own like -- and tonight I hope that my music served my audience half as well. And if I've 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 ... 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 is home as a small return on the investment you made in your son. Momma ... The Italian side of the family ... 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 when you'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 Columbia Records, which has been my home for the past 25 years -- from the early days 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 supported and encouraged to do my best and my truest work. 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 contributors 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 -- 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. Star of 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 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 ... 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 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 -- 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 night -- 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 C 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 with you. Please join me. Oh Jonny, you too.