Bruce Springsteen has been awarded the 2021 Woody Guthrie Prize. Rolling Stone reported he’ll accept the honor online during a May 13th virtual event for Woody Guthrie Center members. The inaugural recipient of the award was the late-Pete Seeger in 2014, with Mavis Staples, Kris Kristofferson, Norman Lear, John Mellencamp, Chuck D, and Joan Baez being honored by the Guthrie Center since.
The annual Woody Guthrie Prize is given to “An artist who best exemplifies Woody Guthrie‘s spirit and work by speaking for the less fortunate through music, film, literature, dance, or other art forms and serving as a positive force for social change in America.”
Bruce Springsteen said in a statement: “I’m honored to receive the 2021 Woody Guthrie Prize. Woody wrote some of the greatest songs about America’s struggle to live up its ideals in convincing fashion. He is one of my most important influences and inspirations.”
Bruce Springsteen, who throughout his 1980/1981 tour behind The River, became more politically minded and socially conscious, maintains that he was able to get a better grasp on what was happening back home in America and the lives of its citizens, by comparing it to what he saw in Europe: “It was the early-‘80s, I think the sense of the violence that was in the air on a daily basis (laughs) sometimes was. . . I think one of the things we noticed when we went to Europe was it just seemed less. Either it was reported differently, it was contextualized differently, it was a different type of violence, and I think that for me, personally, that was something that I really noticed at that time and made me very sad, actually. I was 30, having kids was on the horizon in some fashion. The way things went out to you, whether it was through television. . . it was just much more aggressive. Abusive. Truly abusive. I experienced less of that in Europe. It seemed to make more sense.”