Bono inducts Springsteen into the Rock'n'Roll Hall Of Fame





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Published on Apr 8, 2008

1999-03-15 Bono inducts Bruce Springsteen

Transcript of Bono's speech:

Bruce is a very unusual rock star, isnt he really? I mean 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 embarrassing movie roles, no pet snakes, no monkeys. No exhibitions of his own paintings. No public brawling or setting himself on fire on the weekend.

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. Did you see them? It's like Madame Tussaud's back there!

And then there's Bruce Springsteen. Handsome, 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.

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 f*** with you!

He was the end of long hair, brown rice and bell bottoms. He was the end of the 20-minute drum solo. It was good night, Haight-Ashbury; hello, Asbury Park.

He 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 --- 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. And thats Patty right there.

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! Pissed as a fart...

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.

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