NBC UniversalBruce Springsteen made a surprise appearance Tuesday in New York City at the Little Kids Rock charity's Right 2 Rock celebration, where he presented E Street Band guitarist Little Steven Van Zandt with the "Big Man of the Year Award." RollingStone.com reports that while introducing his longtime musical compadre, The Boss said, "There's been no better band mate or wingman or friend to me than Steve Van Zandt."
Added Springsteen, "One of the greatest rock & roll friendships: still with Steve, I laugh the loudest and the longest."
The "Big Man of the Year Award," named in honor of late E Street Band sax player Clarence Clemons, is handed out annually to a music artist who supports the Little Kids Rock organization's mission to bring music education to in-need public school students. Tuesday's event celebrated Little Kids Rock's 10th anniversary.
In accepting the award, Van Zandt lamented the lack of government support for music education. "You watch these kids' eyes light up when you hand them a guitar," he said. "We haven't left much for the next generation. We have left our progeny no practical means by which to make a living in music."
Van Zandt then declared, "Instead of whining about it, we're gonna do something about it. Because, I don't know about you, but I'm not gonna live in a world without great rock & roll."
The fundraiser also featured performances from a variety of stars, including Elvis Costello, Southside Johnny, Darlene Love and Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello. The bash ended with Springsteen and Little Steven joining the evening's cast of performers, including Little Kids Rock students, for a rendition of the Van Zandt-penned Southside Johnny hit, "I Don't Want to Go Home."
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