Paul McCartney roasts Bruce Springsteen as he receives prestigious Ivor Novello awards fellowship

Springsteen becomes first international songwriter to receive Ivors Academy fellowship, the awards’ highest honour

Shahana Yasmin
Friday 24 May 2024 06:17 BST
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Paul McCartney brings out Dave Grohl and Bruce Springsteen in Glastonbury surprise

Sir Paul McCartney presented Bruce Springsteen with the prestigious Ivors Academy fellowship at Thursday’s Ivor Novello Awards, and indulged in some friendly ribbing at the same time.

Sir Paul started off by joking that “unlike Bruce’s concerts” he would “keep this brief”.

Springsteen is the first international songwriter to be inducted into the fellowship, which is the awards’ highest honour, and the 27th person overall. He follows in the footsteps of Sir Elton John, Kate Bush, Joan Armatrading and Sir Paul himself, who was the first recipient in 2000 after the fellowship was established.

Sir Paul said he “couldn’t think of a more fitting” recipient of the 2024 fellowship... “except maybe Bob Dylan”.

“Or Paul Simon, or Billy Joel, or Beyoncé, or Taylor Swift,” he added. “The list goes on.”

Sir Paul said Springsteen was “known as the American working man, but he admits he’s never worked a day in his life”.

The Beatles singer then called Springsteen a “lovely, lovely boy” and mused on whether he could have fitted in as a member of the Fab Four. “When it comes to talent, he’d definitely be in the top five,” he joked.

Springsteen and Sir Paul are good friends, and Sir Paul referenced his 2022 Glastonbury set where the Born to Run singer joined him for a performance, saying: “He’s a fantastic guy and he showed up for me at Glastonbury.”

Bruce Springsteen performs onstage during the Springsteen & The E Street Band 2024 Tour at Kia Forum on April 04, 2024 in Inglewood, California
Bruce Springsteen performs onstage during the Springsteen & The E Street Band 2024 Tour at Kia Forum on April 04, 2024 in Inglewood, California (Getty Images)

Springsteen then came up to the stage and hugged Sir Paul before accepting the award. During his own remarks, he looked back on his “long and wonderful history” with the UK, remembering the first time he landed in the country and the fans who showed up for his first show in Hammersmith in 1975.

“The airplane food was not so great, and my first thought when we landed at Heathrow was: ‘Where’s all the cheeseburgers?’

“The cheeseburgers had either been hidden or replaced by something called fish and chips. It was a little disconcerting.

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“Then our next stop was the Hammersmith Odeon, where I was greeted by a huge sign announcing: ‘London is finally ready for Bruce Springsteen.’

“And all I thought was, ‘If London isn’t ready for a cheeseburger, they may not be ready for me!’”

Springsteen attended Thursday’s Ivors ceremony after a gig in Sunderland on Wednesday night, where he described the weather as “hellacious”.

“We came out last night, and I was like, ‘What is this weather? Driving rain, wind roaring.

“But standing in front of me, in the rain, I realised: These are my people.”

Elsewhere at the awards RAYE won Songwriter of the Year, as judges called her  the “voice of a generation,” topping off 12 months where she swept the Brit Awards and has seen rave reviews for her debut album My 21st Century Blues.

Head here for our full coverage of the Ivors awards, including the winners list in full.

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