Springsteen spoke after taking part in a pre-recorded video honoring Iovine, who started his career as a recording engineer and worked with such acclaimed artists as John Lennon, Tom Petty, Stevie Nicks and U2. He also engineered two of Springsteen’s albums, Born to run (1975) and Darkness of the Edge of Town (1978).
Iovine went on to found Interscope Records in 1990. The fledgling label quickly gained a reputation for taking risks on new artists and helping them rise to mainstream popularity. Tupac Shakur, Primus, No doubt and Nine inch seam was among their early successes.
Iovine previously convinced Springsteen to give Patti Smith an unfinished demo. “Why not?” Springsteen remembered to answer. “With Jimmy’s guidance, Patti Smith turned ‘Here Comes the Night’ into a huge Top 5 record – something I could never have done because I didn’t have the guts to turn it into a love song like Jimmy did.” Springsteen praised Iovine afterward entrepreneurial partnership with Dr. Drebefore ending with a laugh about his first Interscope signing – the one-hit wonder Geraldo, by early ’90s-era “Rico Suave” fame.
Like Iovine, Grubman was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame via Ahmet Ertegun Prizean honor given to non-performing music industry professionals who “have had a major impact on the creative development and growth of rock and roll and music that has influenced youth culture.”
For more than 50 years, Grubman has served as the entertainment attorney for some of the biggest names in music, including Springsteen, Madonna, Rod Stewart, Elton John, Jennifer Lopez and the man who installed him, Mellencamp.
Grubman is the first attorney admitted to the chamber, but his admission did not come without controversy. Among those who were vociferously opposed were Rolling stonesJann Wenner, who co-founded the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with Grubman and other industry leaders in 1983. He got in anyway.
Mellencamp’s speech included a signature memory in which Grubman compared the music industry to a “big, big damn tree” that remains “massive and unyielding. On this tree there’s a bunch of apples. A few stay firmly attached, but most of the apples, I I sorry to say, they shrivel up and fall to the ground…sadly forgotten.”
Mellencamp said Grubman made sure he was one of those who stayed attached as his emotional comments eventually drew tears from his old friend. Mellencamp then took a deeply passionate stand against the shocking resurgence of anti-Semitism.
Springsteen then returned to end the night with a thunderous tribute to the late Jerry Lee Lewiswho performs “High School Hop” and “Great Balls of Fire” with Mellencamp.
Most Awkward Rock Hall of Fame Moments
Rambling speeches, fights between former bandmates and poor performances have marked many induction ceremonies over the years.