Speeches

I II

Free Your Mind Award Acceptance Speech

Speaker: Bono at the MTV European Music Awards 1999

(Thanks to Francesca Nobili for the transcription from the MTV Europe broadcast.)

It's the Devil giving God an award, is it? Thank you to Mick. Thank you so much. It's gonna make me worse, you know, it's just gonna make me worse. You think I'm bad now. You're giving me a platform and I wanna use it to tell you something that, to tell the world something I'm not sure they know, which is... When I'm driving in my car and a man comes on the radio and he's telling me more and more about some useless information supposed to drive my imagination I can get some satisfaction... I'm getting satisfaction! I'm here with my people, I'm here with my brethern, and they're funky people! This city, Dublin City... funky people! Hmm, so... Thank you to Adam, Larry, Edge for letting me be in their band. Paul... thank you to (I missed the name) who ruined my life introducing me to Jubilee 2000. Thank you so much. God bless you!

The Frank Sinatra Lifetime Achievement Award Introduction Speech

Speaker: Bono at the 1993 Grammy Awards

Frank never did like Rock and Roll, and he's not crazy about guys wearing earrings either. But he doesn't hold it against me, and anyway, the feeling is not mutual. Rock and Roll people love Frank Sinatra because Frank has got what we want: swagger and attitude, serious attitude, bad attitude, Frank's the chairman of the bad. Rock and roll plays at being tough but this guy, well, he's the boss. The boss of bosses. The Man. The big bang of Pop. I'm not gonna mess with him, are you?

Who's this guy that every city in America wants to claim as their own? This painter who lives in the desert, this first-rate, first-take actor. This singer who makes other men poets, boxing clever with every word. Talking like America, tough, straight-up, in headlines. Comin' though with the big stick, the aside, the quiet compliment. Good cop, bad cop, all in the same breath. You know his story cuz it's your story. Frank walks like America-- cocksure.

It's 1945 and the U.S. Cavalry are trying to get their asses out of Europe, but they never really do. They're part of another kind of invasion-- AFR, American Forces radio. Broadcasting a music that'll curl the stiff upper-lip of England and the rest of the world, paving the way for Duke Ellington, the big band, Timmy Dorsey, and right out in front-- Frank Sinatra. His voice as tight as a fist, opening at the end of a bar. Not on the beat, over it, playing with it, splitting it like a jazz man, like Miles Davis, turning on the right phrase and the right song. Which is where he lives, where he lets go, where he reveals himself. His songs are his home and he lets you in. But you know that to sing like that, you've gotta have lost a couple of fights; to know tenderness and romance you've gotta have had your heart broken.

People say that Frank hasn't talked to the press. They wanna know how he is, what's on his mind. But you know Sinatra's out there more nights than most punk bands. Selling his story through the songs, telling and articulate in the choice of those songs, private thoughts on a public address system. Generous. This is the conundrum of Frank Sinatra. Left and right brain hardly talking. Boxer and painter, actor and singer, lover and father, bandman and loner. Troubleshooter and troublemaker. The champ who would rather show you his scars than his medals. He may be putty in Barbara's hands, but I'm not gonna mess with him, are you?

Ladies and gentlemen, and you ready to welcome a man heavier than the Empire State Building, more connected than the Twin Towers, as recognizable as the Statue of Liberty, and living proof that God is a Catholic! Will you welcome the King of New York City, Francis Albert Sinatra!

Bob Marley Induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Speaker: Bono

I know claiming Bob Marley is Irish might be a little difficult here tonight, but bear with me. Jamaica and Ireland have a lot in common: Naomi Campbell, Chris Blackwell, Guinness, and a fondness for little green leaves- the weed. Religion. The philosophy of procrastination- don't put off 'til tomorrow what you can put off for the day after. Unless of course, it's freedom. We are both islands, we were both colonies. We share a common yoke: the struggle for identity, the struggle for independence, the vulnerable and uncertain future that's left behind when the jackboot of empire is finally retreated. The roots, the getting up, the standing up, and the hard bit: the staying up.

In such a struggle, the voice of Bob Marley was the voice of reason. These were love songs that you could admit listening to; the songs of hurt, hard but healing, tough going, songs of freedom, where that song meant something again, Redemption songs. A sexy revolution where Jah is Jehovah on street level. Not over His people, but with His people. Not just stylin', jammin'. Down the line of Judah. from Ethiopia, where it all began for the Rastaman.

I spent some time in Ethiopia with my wife, Ali, and everywhere we went we saw Bob Marley's face. There he was, dressed to hustle God. Let my people go. An ancient plea. Prayers catching fire in Mozambique, Nigeria, the Lebanon, Alabama, Detroit, New York, Notting Hill, Belfast. Dr. King in dreads. The Third and First World superstar. Mental slavery ends where imagination begins. Here was this new music, rocking out of the shantytowns, lolling, loping rhythms, telling it like it was, like it is, like it ever shall be. Skanking. Ska. Blue Beat. Rock Steady. Reggae. Dub. And now reggae. And all this from a man who drove three BMWs. BMW- Bob Marley and the Wailers, that was his excuse!

Rock and Roll loves it juvenalia, its caricatures, its cartoons. The protest singer, the pop star, the sex god, your mature Messiah types. We love the extremes, and we're expected to choose: the mud of the blues or the oxygen of gospel, the hellhounds on our trail or the band of angels. Well, Bob Marley didn't choose or walk down the middle. He raced to the edges, embracing all extremes, creating a oneness. One love. He wanted everything at the same time. Prophet. Soul rebel. Rastaman. Herbsman. Wildman. A natural, mystic man. lady's man. Island man. Family man. Rita's man. soccer man. Showman. Shaman. Human. Jamaican!

So the spirit of Bob and the spirit of Jah lives on, in his son Ziggy and his lover Rita Marley. I'm proud to welcome Bob Marley into the Hall of Fame. Amen!

Acceptance Speech For "Best Rock & Roll Duo or Group"

Speaker: The Edge at The 1988 Grammy Awards

Well, uh, we seem to have lost our bass player. He went to the loo a few minutes ago and he still isn't back... Adam! This way. Here he comes.

I don't know about you but I'm still recovering after Whitney Houston. Um, okay, I have a bit of a list I'd like to read out. It's just a few people we thought we should thank... Gotta be careful of this list because it's got the last votes and stuff on the back. Okay, um, first I'd like to thank our lawyer and friend Owen Epstein who couldn't be here with us tonight... Thanks also to Paul McGuiness, our manager, for the loan of yet another suit. Our management team in New York and Dubin. Ellen and Anne-Louise. Island Records, Atlantic Records, and WEA.

Frank Barsalona and Samuel Sallers (?). Everybody in college radio. I don't know where we would be without them. I'd also like to thank Jack Healy and Amnesty International for all of their work. Desmond Tutu for his courage. Martin Luther King. I'd also like to thank Bob Dylan who tangled up in blue. Flannery O'Connor, Jimmy Hendrix, Walt Disney, John the Baptist, George Best, Gregory Peck, James ____, Morris Brat (?), Dr. Ruth, ____ Hall, Batman and Robin, Lucky the Dog, Peewie Herman, the YMCA, Eddie the Eagle, sumo wrestlers around the world, and of course Ronald Reagan.

Acceptance Speech For "Album of the Year"

Speaker: Bono at The 1988 Grammy Awards

This is, uh, this is all very Celtic ( as he points to the stage set ). We appreciate it. It's actually is, um... it really is hard carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders, and saving the whales, and uh, organizing summits between world leaders and that sort of thing. But we enjoy our work ( everyone laughs ). It's hard when 50 million people are watching not to take the opportunity to draw attention to the important things like South Africa and what's happening there; remarkable people like Desmond Tutu and what they have to put up with.

But tonight is maybe not the best night to do that so I'd like to talk about the music, soul music. That's what U2 wanted to make. It's not about being black or white, what instruments you play, or whether you use a drum machine or not. It's a decision to reveal or conceal and without it, people like Prince would be nothing more than a brilliant song and dance man that he is, but he's much more than that. People like Bruce Springsteen would be nothing more than a great storyteller, but he's much more than that. Without it, U2 would probably be better at using the Village Voice. That's a joke ( The Village Voice is a newspaper ). Sometimes they don't understand.

Without it U2 certainly wouldn't be here. But we are here and we wanna be here. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else than New York City tonight. Thank you.

We'd like to extend our thanks to our producer Brian Eno without whom we wouldn't have made that record. Thank you.

I II

Note: Any blanks are words or phrases that as hard as I tried, I couldn't catch what someone said if I was taping off some AV media. Corrections are GREATLY appreciated. If you know of any U2 or Bono speeches you have that you'd like to see here also, send as an intext document via e-mail . No attachments please! If you have any requests, I'll do my best to honor them and track down a speech for you. Please don't ask for interviews. Maybe in the future I'll start taking them but for now, only speeches, either your own or a U2er's.