Monday, March 14, 2005

U2 Hall of Fame Induction Acceptence Speech-3-14-2005-New York City

Bono: Born in the U.S.A. , my arse. That man was born on the north side of Dublin . Irish. His mother was Irish. The poetry, the gift of the gab, isn't it obvious? In fact, I think he's tall for an Irishman.
It's an Irish occasion this evening. Paddy Sledge, the O'Jays -- they're a tribe from the west of Ireland . This is a bit of an Irish wedding. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a bit of an Irish wedding -- beautiful girls, beautiful frocks, fights in the bathrooms, managers and clients again, lawyers with bloody noses. It's an Irish wedding. It's a great occasion.
I even like it when it gets dirty. I've seen it get really dirty over the years here -- that's what rock and roll is, the sound of revenge. So make your enemies interesting, I would say, ladies and gentleman. But not tonight. When I, when we look out we don't see any enemies, we just see friends. And this country has taken this band into its bosom all the way. (applause) It's an amazing thing.
Frank Barselona early on, he's a great friend. Chris Blackwell, what an incredible man he was to have looking after you. Can you imagine your second album -- the difficult second album -- it's about God? Everyone is tearing their hair out and Chris Blackwell says, "It's okay. There's Bob Marley and Marvin Gaye, Bob Dylan, it's a tradition. We can get through it. And I think about what Frank Barselona said earlier about long-term vision because you know without the long term vision of Frank Barselona, Barbara Skydell and Chris Blackwell, there would be no U2 after that second album. It would have been cut. No "Sunday Bloody Sunday," no "Unforgettable Fire," no "One," no "Where the Streets Have No Name," no "With or Without You."
That's what I'd like you to take away from tonight. I would like to ask the music business to look at itself and ask itself some hard questions. Because there would be no U2 the way things are right now. That's a fact. Only friends out here. But still Rolling Stone puts us on the cover, thank you very much. MTV, VH1 still play our videos. College radio still believes in our band and makes our band believe in ourselves. It's an amazing place to be inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, feeling like this -- feeling like you've just made your first album. It's a great feeling, a very special feeling.
And I see around friends and people that we've worked with for a very long time -- and generally I don't do big Thank You speeches because they're boring and why stop a tradition of a lifetime? It's too many people in the room to thank, but I'd like to thank the really gorgeous women that work for us. Because they're fun to thank. Beautiful, gorgeous women of Principle Management. Ellen Darst, thank you very much. Sheila Roche, thank you very much. Anne Louise Kelly, thank you very much. Keryn Kaplan, thank you very much. Beautiful, sexy, sometimes Irish, sometimes American women, thank you. And lots of bodyguards around here. No bigger bodyguards than Jimmy and Doug. Jimmy Iovine and Doug Morris continue in the tradition of Chris Blackwell, which is pretty much letting us get away with anything we want. So I want to thank them very much. I'm trying to think of what else...The biggest bodyguard of all has to be our manager, Paul McGuinness. You see him right there. The reason no one in this band has slave scrawled across their face, thank you very much.
I'm going to go on and list three Kodak moments over twenty-five years I'd like to share with you. One -- it's 1976 -- Larry Mullen's kitchen. About the size of the drum riser he uses now. It's a bright red -- scarlet, really -- Japanese kit and he's sitting behind it in his kitchen. And he's playing and the ground shakes and the sky opens up -- and it still does, but now I know why. Cause Larry Mullen can't tell a lie. His brutal honesty is something that we need in this band.
Second Kodak moment. It is 1982. New Haven , I believe. Things are not going very well. There's a punk band onstage trying to play Bach. A fight breaks out. It's between the band. It's very very messy. Now you look at this guitar genius, you look at this Zen-like master that is the Edge, and you hear those brittle icy notes and you might be forgiven for forgetting that you cannot play like that unless you have a rage inside you. In fact, I had forgotten that on that particular night, and he tried to break my nose. And I learned a great, great lesson that night. You do not pick a fight with someone who for a living lives off hand-eye coordination. Dangerous, dangerous man, the Edge.
Third Kodak moment. 1987. Somewhere in the south. We'd been campaigning for Dr. King, for his birthday to become a national holiday. In Arizona , they are saying no. We're campaigning very hard for Dr. King. Some people don't like it. Some people get very annoyed. Some people want to kill us. Some people are taken very seriously by the FBI. They tell the singer that he shouldn't play the gig because tonight his life is at risk, and he must not go on stage. And the singer laughs. Of course we're playing the gig. Of course we go onstage, and I'm singing "Pride (In the Name of Love)" -- the third verse -- and I close my eyes. And you know, I'm excited about meeting my maker, but maybe not tonight. I don't really want to meet my maker tonight. I close my eyes and when I look up I see Adam Clayton standing in front of me, holding his bass as only Adam Clayton can hold his bass. There are people in this room who'd tell you they'd take a bullet for you, but Adam Clayton would have taken a bullet for me. I guess that's what its like to be in a truly great rock and roll band.

(Makes way for the Edge...)

Bono: He's got a BlackBerry. (Edge has his speech on a handheld.)


Blogger wanderblithe said...

Thanks for posting. I just really love Bono's acceptance speech. Sometimes I think what he says about the band is so well written, it's fabricated, but it must be true. :)

8:19 PM  

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