“He’s known as the American working man – but he’s never worked a day in his life!”: Paul McCartney roasts Bruce Springsteen as The Boss receives fellowship at Ivor Novello Awards

Springsteen is the 27th artist – and first non-British musician – to be awarded the fellowship.

Paul McCartney and Bruce Springsteen on stage at Glastonbury in 2022. The pair each have one arm around the other and are holding their guitars in one hand.

Image: Harry Durrant / Getty

When you purchase through affiliate links on Guitar.com, you may contribute to our site through commissions. Learn more

Sir Paul McCartney presented Bruce Springsteen with a prestigious fellowship of the songwriting academy at the Ivor Novello Awards on Thursday 23 May.

In his speech, McCartney poked several light-hearted jabs at The Boss, saying he couldn’t think of a more fitting recipient of the fellowship, “except maybe Bob Dylan. Or Paul Simon, or Billy Joel, or Beyoncé, or Taylor Swift”.

As the BBC reports, McCartney later added, “He’s known as the American working man but he admits he’s never worked a day in his life”, and then joked that “when it comes to talent, he’d definitely be in the top five”, suggesting he’d fall just behind or among the four members of The Beatles.

Springsteen gave McCartney a hug as he took to the stage, where he reflected on his rainy three-hour show in Sunderland, UK, the night before. “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,” he said. Springsteen reportedly went on to play Thunder Road.

The fellowship is the ceremony’s highest honour, and Springsteen is the 27th person to receive it. He joins Sir Elton John, Kate Bush and more, including McCartney himself. Springsteen, however, is the first international artist to be awarded the accolade.

Springsteen is currently amid touring with his E Street Band, with shows running until November 2024. At one of his shows in the US last March, he was filmed signing an absentee note for a young fan who was skipping school the next day after attending his show.

He also appears on the new charity single from Dire StraitsMark Knopfler. The track raises funds for Teenage Cancer Trust, and Springsteen is one of 60 ‘guitar heroes’ to feature on the special recording.

View all of Bruce Springsteen’s scheduled tour dates.

Related Tags


The world’s leading authority and resource for all things guitar.

© 2024 Guitar.com is part of NME Networks.