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Essays and Speeches

Rutgers University Graduation Commencement Speech

Stevie Van Zandt
Rutgers University Graduation Commencement Speech
May 14, 2017

Thank you President Barchi, Greg Brown and the rest of the Rutgers Board, with a special thank you to Susan McCue, and the distinguished Chancellors, Deans, and Academic Leaders.
And my wife Maureen, who is still correcting my spelling on this speech as we speak.
I am honored to be here...

A Crisis Of Craft

It is an interesting time in our business is it not?
Now you wish you listened to your parents and went to college, huh?
We are experiencing the biggest changes in forty years as the main revenue producing medium shifts from the album to…we don’t know what? Keep in mind that up until the Beatles and the rest of the British Invasion landed in 1964 the vinyl single ruled what was called the Business. It wasn’t exactly a business to tell you the truth. It was more like the Wild West with a bunch of freaks, misfits, outcasts, outlaws, entrepreneurs, renegades, wiseguys, and hooligans running around making it all up as they went along. Finally in 1967 the Beatles made an album called Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – ask your Grandfather if you can borrow his copy – and with that record the album became undeniably King. And the difference between 79 cents for a single and $4.98 for an album created a music business...

Alan Freed Memorial Dedication

First of all I am honored to be here today. I am honored to call Lance Freed one of my best friends. And honored that he asked me to participate in this sacred ceremony. And for those of us whose religion is Rock and Roll, I do mean sacred...

Bert Berns

Every year in addition to inducting great artists into the Hall of Fame we make a special effort to include individuals that have made significant contributions behind the scenes, without whom our magical mystical motivational art form would not have as much quality, depth, or longevity. This year we have chosen to honor the amazing Bertrand Russell Berns,  better known as Bert Berns.

Debt Ceiling? What Debt Ceiling?

First of all, just because the Tea Party people appear to be generally uneducated, ignorant about the political process, ignorant about economics, confused about their own platform from the beginning, and indelicate when it comes to the craft of diplomacy, doesn't mean they're wrong...


As I watched “Meet the Press” host David Gregory recently ask former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush what it’s going to take to restore Haiti to how it was, my heart started paying attention.

Gregory was asking the normal questions, and Clinton and Bush gave the appropriate answers. But it occurred to me that, my God, unless something radical is done, that’s exactly what’s going to happen. Haiti will be restored to what it was. And that’s the last thing Haiti needs.

The Hollies Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction

But I digress…!
You gotta love that commercial.
The only way to accurately explain how important the Hollies are is to provide a little historical perspective. So I beg your indulgence for a moment for what will seem like a digression but actually isn’t.

Don’t worry the whole thing’s only like ten minutes so it’s not bad.

First of all every ten, twenty years, it’s probably a good idea to put this night in perspective.

There Is Only One Issue In America

I was obsessed with politics in the '80s. I've recovered and I'm feeling much better now thank you. By the time I realized, as interesting as it was, I'd better stop this stuff and try to earn a living, I had discovered many of our social problems and quality of...

We Are Family Foundation

I am honored to be here. I am particularly honored for the duty I have been chosen for tonight.

I am proud to say on behalf of my wife Maureen, that we have been supporting Nile and Nancy’s vision since the beginning. Let’s raise a glass to their wonderful work and everybody who put this together.

We Need an Emergency Boss

Once again we have witnessed the incredible generosity of the people of the world, always ready to help in a crisis no matter how desperate their own economic state, and once again we have embarrassed ourselves with yet another too-little-too-late, pathetically inefficient, and shockingly ineffective relief and rescue effort. I’m sure there exists a considerable amount of Haiti-Fatigue at this point and, other than the “religious group kidnapping” sideshow, the news crews are leaving and the public is moving on to much more serious matters such as the Tea Party convention...