March 15, 1999: The Rock Hall Induction of Bruce Springsteen

Share This:

Each year, as a new crop of artists becomes eligible for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a debate begins among fans: Will this or that artist get chosen? Will my favorite get shunned? The only criterion is that the artist must have made his or her first official recording 25 years prior to the year of nomination. A committee composed of music business executives, critics and other big shots then gathers to hash out names from among the new candidates as well as hundreds of holdovers.

For the 1999 Rock Hall season, nominations would be announced late the previous year, meaning that 1973 was the target date. Who, the nominating committee pondered, first released a recording that year who might be considered?

There was one who was such an obvious shoo-in that no discussion was even warranted: Bruce Springsteen.

On Jan. 5, 1973, an album called Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. was released on Columbia Records. It didn’t exactly set the world on fire. The singer-songwriter, from the locale cited in the title, was hyped as yet another “new Dylan” and rock fans largely shrugged: the LP did not sell well. But soon enough word about this dynamic performer would start to spread, and just two years later, with the release of his breakthrough Born to Run, Springsteen found himself on the covers of both Time and Newsweek magazines simultaneously.

He’s been unstoppable ever since, now acknowledged as one of America’s greatest contemporary artists. He was elected by the Rock Hall’s voters in his first year of eligibility, and was inducted in 1999 on this date, March 15, by Bono, whose own band, U2, shared many of the characteristics of the kid from Joisey.

Watch a portion of Bono’s speech

In his acceptance speech, Springsteen said: “I stood on this stage when I inducted Roy Orbison, Creedence Clearwater Revival and Bob Dylan… artists whose music was a critical part of my own life. And tonight I hope that my music served my audience half as well.” He thanked them for granting “entrance into [their] lives… I hope that I’ve been a good companion.”

In his acknowledgments, he thanked “the mighty men and women of the E Street Band. 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 with that, he invited them to join him on stage. “Everyone wants to know how I feel about the band,” he said, “hell, I married one of ’em.”

Watch Springsteen and the E Street Band perform at the Boss’ induction

Related: Springsteen rocks NYC’s Bottom Line, 1975

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band have a busy 2024 tour schedule. Tickets are available on Ticketmaster and on StubHub.

Best Classic Bands Staff

1 Comment so far

Jump into a conversation
  1. Guy Smiley
    #1 Guy Smiley 15 March, 2019, 23:31

    It should be noted that on this same night both Billy Joel and Paul McCartney were inducted into the Rock Hall as well.

    As great as the Born To Run and Darkness albums are, generally speaking I’d rather listen to any of Billy’s albums, or the best of McCartney’s albums, over Bruce any time.

    Reply this comment

Your data will be safe!Your e-mail address will not be published. Also other data will not be shared with third person.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.