Bruce Springsteen honoured at Ivor Novello Awards by Sir Paul McCartney

Bruce Springsteen has become the first international artist ever to receive the Ivor Novello Awards’ biggest prize – presented on stage by a surprise guest, his friend Sir Paul McCartney.

Receiving a standing ovation at the ceremony in London, Springsteen performed an acoustic version of Thunder Road on stage after being inducted into the Fellowship of the Ivors Academy.

He follows in the footsteps of artists including Sir Elton John, Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, Kate Bush, Annie Lennox and Sir Paul himself – the first recipient some 20 years ago.

The pair are good friends, with Springsteen joining the Beatle on stage for his famous Glastonbury headline set in 2022.

“Like Bruce’s concerts, I’m going to keep this brief,” Sir Paul joked on stage, referencing The Boss’s famous hours-long gigs, before telling the audience there was no one more fitting internationally to receive the award, apart from maybe “Bob Dylan… Beyonce, Taylor Swift”.

In his speech, Springsteen referenced his “long and wonderful history” in the UK, thanking the “extraordinary” fans who have been with him since his first show in Hammersmith some 50 years ago.

The Ivors ceremony came after a gig in Sunderland the previous night, playing in “hellacious” weather, Springsteen said. “Standing in front of me in the rain, I realise: these are my people.

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“Some of them are young, some of them are children, and some of them… wore lines on their faces, of lives hard-weathered and well-lived. Those are my people here in the UK. People I have written for and about, and then I can still find them standing in front of me.”

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He went on to say that performing for his fans “remains one of the greatest privileges and honours of my life as a musician”, and continued: “I want to thank you for taking my music into your hearts and into your souls. I want to thank you for including me in the challenging and beautiful cultural life in the UK.”

Springsteen, 74, has sold more than 140 million records worldwide, as well as being awarded 20 Grammys, an Oscar and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

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He is famous for hits including Born To Run, Thunder Road, Hungry Heart, Dancing In The Dark and Born In The USA, and has released 21 studio albums – from his first offering Greetings From Asbury Park, NJ in 1973, to his latest, Only The Strong Survive, in 2022.

Artists including Raye, Lana Del Rey, Skepta and KT Tunstall were also honoured at the Ivors, which recognises songwriters.

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