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Bruce Springsteen Receives MusiCares 2013 Person of the Year

Bruce Springsteen
Larry Busacca, Getty Images

Surrounded by friends, family and fellow musicians, Bruce Springsteen received the MusiCares 2013 Person of the Year award last night (Feb. 8). The evening’s festivities, which included a tribute concert, auction and performance by the guest of honor, took place at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Host Jon Stewart, who has a habit of popping up at special events featuring Springsteen, spoke of his love for his music and joked about the famously humble blue-collar rocker, “Here’s a little secret about Bruce Springsteen: He loves this. There’s nothing he’d rather do than come to Los Angeles, put on a suit…and then have people talking about him like he’s dead.”

During the auction, a Fender Telecaster signed by many of the evening’s performers was starting to stall at a top price of $70,000. Springsteen then started sweetening the pot. “Dig in, you one percenters!” he chided the crowd, he added — one by one — a one-hour guitar lesson from him, a ride in the sidecar of his Harley-Davidson, eight tickets to a concert complete with backstage tour given by him and — this was the kicker — a lasagna made by his mother, Adele, who was in attendance.

The winning bid was $250,000.

Next up was the tribute, which featured stars from across the musical spectrum performing songs from throughout Springsteen’s 40-year career. Country star Zac Brown joined gospel legend Mavis Staples for ‘My City of Ruins,’ John Legend turned ‘Dancing in the Dark’ into a jazzy workout and Ken Casey of Dropkick Murphys punked-up ‘American Land.’

Several of his fellow classic rockers joined in the fun. Jackson Browne got some help from occasional E Street Band guest Tom Morello on ‘American Skin (41 Shots).’ Elton John performed ‘Streets of Philadelphia’ and Canadian Neil Young and Crazy Horse closed out with a feedback-drenched take on ‘Born in the U.S.A.’

Receiving the award, Springsteen thanked the performers and those in attendance, calling it ‘the huge Italian wedding [wife] Patti [Scialfa] and I never had.” He praised MusiCares for their work in helping out musicians in dire financial need and spoke of the importance of music in society. “The Taliban will never win,” he said. “Not now or ever, by banning music and dancing. The minute you do that, you label yourself a tyrant and your cruel days are numbered.”

With a cry of “Now give me that damn guitar,” Springsteen took to the stage. With the house band and several members of the E Street Band, he tore through a five-song set. He closed with ‘Glory Days,’ during which he invited all musicians in attendance to join him at the mic.

Next: Top 10 Bruce Springsteen Political Songs

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