The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum

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Bono Accepts

Born in the USA, my arse. That man was born on the North side of Dublin. He's Irish. His mother was Irish, the poetry, the gift of the gab - I mean, isn't it obvious? In fact, I think he's tall for an Irishman. It's an Irish occasion this evening. Patty Sledge... you know... the O'Jays. They're a tribe from the West of Ireland. Chrissie Hynde - we'd like her to be Irish. This is what? A bit of an Irish wedding. It is. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a bit of an Irish wedding. Beautiful girls, beautiful frocks, fights in the bathroom, managers and clients again, lawyers with bloody noses... It's an Irish wedding. It's a great occasion. And I even like it when it gets dirty. And I've seen it get really dirty over the years here. But rock and roll is the sound of revenge. So make your enemies interesting, I would say, ladies and gentlemen. But not tonight. When I... When we look out into the audience tonight, we don't see any enemies. We just see friends. And this country has taken this band into its bosom all the way from the very beginning. It's an amazing thing. Franko Barsalona, early on, he's a great friend - Irish friend. Chris Blackwell - what an incredible man he was to have looking after you. I mean, can you imagine, your second album - the difficult second album - it's about God? And everyone was tearing their hair out, and Chris Blackwell was, "You know, it's OK. It's Bob Marley, Marvin Gaye, Bob Dylan - it's kind of a tradition. We can get through this." And I think about what Frank Barsalona said earlier, about long-term vision. Because without Frank Barsalona and Barbara Skydell, and that kind of long-term vision of Chris Blackwell, there would be no U2 after that second album. We would have been dropped. No "Beautiful Day," no "Sunday Bloody Sunday," no "Unforgettable Fire," no "One," no "Where the Streets Have No Name," no "With or Without You." And that's the thing I want to take away from tonight. I would like to ask the music business to look at itself, and ask itself some hard questions after tonight. Because there would be no U2, the way things are right now. That's a fact. Only friends out there. Where still, Rolling Stone puts us on the cover of the magazine, thank you very much Jann. MTV and 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 into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, feeling this, feeling like you've just put out your first album. It's a nice feeling - very, very special feeling. And I see around friends and people that we've worked with for a long time, and generally don't do the big thank-you speeches, because they're boring. But will I stop the tradition for livetime? It's too many people in the room to thank. But I'd like to thank the really gorgeous women that worked for us for a long time, 'cause they're fun to thank. Beautiful, gorgeous women that run Principle Management. Ellen Darce, thank you very much. Sheila Roach, thank you very much. Ann Louise Kelly, thank you very much. Karen Koffmann, thank you very much. Regine Morlet, thank you very much. Beautiful, sexy, sometimes Irish, sometimes American women, thank you. And lots of body guards around here. No bigger bodyguards than Jimmy and Doug. Jimmy Iovine and Dough Marsh have continued in the tradition of Chris Blackwell, which is letting us get away with pretty much everything we want. So I want to thank them very much. I'm trying to think of what else. The biggest bodyguard of all - it's got to be our manager, Paul McGuinness, sitting right there. The reason why no one in this band has "slave" scrawled on their face, Paul McGuinness, thank you very much. I won't go on - but just three Kodak moments over 25 years, I'd like to share with you. One: It's 1976, Larry Mullen's kitchen; it's about the size of the drum riser he uses now. There's a big, 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, like Bruce was saying earlier. And it still does - but now I know why. I know why, because Larry Mullen cannot tell a lie. And his brutal honesty is something that we need in this band. Second Kodak moment: I think it's 1982 - New Haven, I believe. Things are not going very well. There's a punk rock 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 that this Zen-like master that is the edge, and you hear those brittle, icy notes, and you might be forgiven for realizing that you cannot play like that unless you have a rage inside you. And in fact, I had forgotten that on that particular night, and he tried to break my nose. And I learned a very great lesson: do not piss off somebody who, for a living, lives off hand-eye coordination. Not a good idea. Dangerous, dangerous man, the Edge. Third Kodak moment: 1987, somewhere in the South. We'd been campaigning for Dr. King - for his birthday to be a national holiday. And in Arizona, they're saying no. We've been campaigning very, very hard for Dr. King. Some people don't like it. Some people get very annoyed. Some people want to kill the singer. Some people are taken very seriously by the FBI, and they tell the singer he shouldn't play the gig, because tonight, his life is at risk, and he must not go onstage. The singer laughs. You know, of course we're playing the gig, of course we go onstage. And I'm standing there, singing "Pride in the Name of Love," and I've got to the third verse, and I close my eyes, and I 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 like only Adam Clayton can hold his bass. And you know, there's people in this room who tell you they'd take a bullet for you, but Adam Clayton would've taken a bullet for me - and I guess that's what it's like to be in a truly great rock and roll band. I know Chrissie Hynde knows what I mean. [The Edge takes the podium.] He's got a Blackberry out; that's really cool.