Paul McCartney jokes Bruce Springsteen has ‘never worked a day in his life’

Bruce Springsteen and Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney poked fun at Bruce Springsteen before handing him the highest honour at the Ivor Novello Awards - Dave Hogan/Hogan Media/Shutterstock

Sir Paul McCartney has joked that Bruce Springsteen has “never worked a day in his life” while presenting him with a prestigious music award.

The Beatles singer poked fun at his fellow musician before handing him the highest honour at Thursday’s Ivor Novello Awards.

While presenting Springsteen with a fellowship of the songwriting academy, Sir Paul said he “couldn’t think of a more fitting” recipient, quipping: “Except maybe Bob Dylan.”

“Or Paul Simon, or Billy Joel, or Beyoncé, or Taylor Swift,” he added. “The list goes on.”

Springsteen, 74, took the jokes in good humour as Sir Paul continued: “He’s known as the American working man, but he admits he’s never worked a day in his life.”

Finally, he imagined how the American would have fit into The Beatles, joking: “When it comes to talent, he’d definitely be in the top five.”

‘These are my people’

The US rock singer, whose career has spanned six decades and included 21 studio albums as well as an Oscar, a Tony and 20 Grammys, has become the first international star to receive the prestigious music fellowship.

Previous winners include Sir Paul himself, Sir Elton John, Kate Bush and composer John Barry.

Springsteen hugged his good friend as he took to the stage to receive the award with a hoarse voice owing to his three-hour rain-soaked performance in Sunderland the night before.

He described the “driving rain” and “roaring wind” at the concert, but said he never considered cancelling.

“But standing in front of me, in the rain, I realised: These are my people,” he added, recalling how the UK had become his second home.

The Born in the USA singer was warmly received by the crowd at the Ivor Novello Awards, with the audience cheering him on as he played a version of Thunder Road.

Guy Garvey, Elbow’s lead singer, told the BBC that Springsteen is “carrying the torch for folk music in the world of rock” and that the musician is a “force to be reckoned with”.

“There’s only one boss,” he added.

Raye demands better pay

Elsewhere during the awards, winners Raye demanded better pay for backroom songwriters and Lana Del Rey hailed the fact that female singer-songwriters now had the freedom to write about “absolutely whatever they want”.

The Born to Die singer recalled how she was previously criticised at the start of her career for writing songs about “challenging relationships” that often tackled themes like abuse and violence.

Meanwhile, Skepta encouraged other artists not to be discouraged by the threat of artificial intelligence, telling the audience made up of many fellow musicians: “Our talent is not something that can be taken away.”

The Ivors, as the prestigious awards are known, recognise achievement in songwriting rather than commercial sales.