On April 14, Bon Jovi were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Fame alongside The Cars, Dire Straits, Nina Simone, Sister Rosetta Tharpe and more — and found no one more suited to the induction speech than the infamous Howard Stern. His speech — which he later railed that it was edited beyond recognition for the HBO broadcast — ended up part roast, part tribute, while also making no bones about the genuine love Stern has for the group.
Below is the full transcript and video Stern’s speech.
In 1987, I was on a date with Richie Sambora. We met the hottest chick and had a threesome. That's how close we get. Thank you! You know, I know exactly what you're saying, it sure looks like hell has frozen over. The man who never leaves home, me, Howard Stern. Now, another sign the zombie apocalypse — Jann Wenner finally let Bon Jovi into the Rock and Roll Hall Fame. Way to go Jan, Jonny, John, Jann, whatever the fuck your name is. Anyway, Jann, you did it. You finally gave this fantastic band their due. Now, for those you who don't know, Jann is the man in charge, but I'm not sure why. This guy doesn't play a musical instrument, he doesn't have a band, but he did start a great magazine, Rolling Stone. Yeah. And now it's the size a pamphlet; what a business plan, way to go. I read it in about 30 seconds backstage. Now, Jann required years pondering to decide if this glorious band that sold over 130 million albums should be inducted. What a tough decision! “Gee, I don't know if I should let Bon Jovi in? 130 million albums, that's not such a big deal.”
Let me give you an idea what the number 130 million means, and it means a lot. Now, the bubonic plague only killed 50 million people. The atom bomb only killed 225,000 people. Six-hundred-and-twenty-five–thousand people died in the Civil War. Peanuts compared to 130 million Bon Jovi albums. How uplifting is my speech tonight? Anybody wanna hear about the AIDS epidemic or…? But, you see, even with all this talk death and destruction, I'm making a point, and my point is that 130 million is ridiculously big. Try to look at it this way: The average amount sperm in one ejaculation is only 100 million. Bon Jovi beat sperm, ladies and gentlemen! And you know, speaking sperm, the band Cream sold 35 million records, Blondie sold 40 million records, and these guys got into the Hall Fame, and they didn't have to wait. Jann knew what to do. Let me tell you something. Leonard Cohen used to sit at home beating f at night thinking about selling 3 million albums, let alone 130 million.
Now, I've only just started. Bon Jovi. My friends; These boys deserve it. They are finally getting their dues and it's about time. I gotta say. The Rock and Roll Hall Fame; what a place, I love it. The only place you can see Slim Whitman's underpants, Mariah Carey's tampon and what about that Ike Turner boxing gloves in the glass case. Did you see that? What a glorious collection junk we have surrounding us tonight.
It's an honor to be here tonight, ladies and gentlemen. I've known them since they've started, and aside from the incredible music accomplishments, they are some the nicest men I ever met. No stupid rock and roll attitude, just humble and gracious. Whenever I would see them over the years, even with multi-platinum success, they each had a smile on their face in a welcoming way. An appreciation for their craft and their fans. In addition to music, their charity work feeding the homeless and helping the American Red Cross, lending a hand to the Special Olympics; that's a rare humility and I love them for that. Great group. Iconic band.
First all, we've got Jon Bon Jovi, a great frontman extraordinaire. The very definition a rock star. Yes, the man who singlehandedly destroyed most the ozone layer in the Eighties with Aqua Net hairspray. The masterful and powerful drums Tico Torres. David Bryan, a true showman on keyboard. Alec John Such, what a great bass player. And by the way, John Such, one the best names in rock and roll. In fact, I've ten said the band should've been called John Such, but we know whose ego could not deal with that. Then course, the extraordinary talents their current bassist, the great Hugh McDonald, who was with Jon back in the days “Runaway.”
And last but not least, my friend Richie Sambora. One the greatest guitar players in the world; masterful songwriter. And — you know this is true — the man with the biggest penis in Bon Jovi. How do I know that? The boys had a measuring contest early on. Richie won, but I don't wanna get into the anaconda penis discussion. This isn't the right time for that. We're going to be inducting Richie in the penis hall fame next week. Hope you all come. Few realize that Mr. Richie Sambora singlehandedly considered it his mission to help women who could not get dates to feel better about themselves. Over the years, he helped women like Heather Locklear, Cher, Denise Richards and countless others across the world. I always said it's a good thing that Richie had a thing for pretty blondes with blue eyes and a nice ass. That's what motivated him to team up with Jon in the first place and create a fantastic songwriting team in the first place.
Let's get down to business. These boys have worked their asses f. They are cowboys on a steel horse they rode.
“I'm wanted dead or alive. Dead or alive.”
Sings] “It's all the same, only the names will change/Everyday, it seems we're wastin' away/Another place where the faces are so cold/I drive all night just to get back home/I'm a cowboy, on a steel horse I ride/I'm wanted (wanted) dead or alive/Wanted dead or alive…”
“Sometimes I sleep/Sometimes it's not for days/The people I meet/Always go their separate ways/Sometimes you tell the day/By the bottle that you drink/And times when you're all alone all you do is think/I'm a cowboy, on a steel horse I ride/I'm wanted (wanted) dead or alive.”
Eat shit, Bob Dylan! Fuck you! That's music! Look, this is an honor long overdue. I don't think you can go anywhere in this world without hearing a classic Bon Jovi tune somewhere and it's pretty incredible their whole success story. It starts out with Jon getting a job from his uncle, Melvin Bon Jovi. Jon swept the floors the legendary recording studio the Power Station. Yes, Jon is the world's most successful janitor. Jon had a job to do; it sucked cleaning up after rock stars, but someone had to do it. Years later, Jon was replaced by a vacuum cleaner. Jon paid his dues and worked on his music while cleaning the cum f the Power Station couch. I'll share this with you. He told me that, “I think it was Harry Chapin's jizz that was particularly hard.”
Then Jon wrote a song called “Runaway.” “She's a little runaway.” You know that song? Then he got signed by a label, and he needed a band, so he teamed up with these great guys that we honor here tonight. And they played everywhere and they recorded music during the next couple years. According to Richie Sambora, the band was virtually broke when they started recording the album 7800° Fahrenheit. They were living together in the same apartment in Philadelphia and sleeping on the floor when it was 12 degrees below zero outside. They only had Jon's hair and Tico's farts to keep them warm. That's paying your dues, baby. The band was struggling, but they next released Slippery When Wet. The boys were opening for the band 38 Special in Iowa when the album hit. It rapidly rose to the top the Billboard charts and was the best-selling album 1987.
Jon's philosophy “Don't bore us, get to the chorus” worked like a charm. Sings] “Shot through the heart and you're to blame/Baby, you give love a band name. “Livin' on a Prayer” came then “Wanted Dead or Alive” burned up the charts and the hits kept coming. “Raise Your Hands,” which is still an anthem at all their live shows today. “Bad Medicine,” “I'll be there for you/These five words I swear to you.” “Lay Your Hands on Me,” “It's my life/It's now or never/I ain't gonna live forever.” “Who Says You Can't Go Home,” and on and on and on. Other bands from their era have disappeared, yet Bon Jovi continues and grows stronger. In fact, their last four tours have grossed almost a billion dollars.
If I can be emotional for a second, yes, rock & roll musicians, what they do are really important. To me, personally, I love most the bands being inducted tonight. Bands like the Moody Blues who Jann, you should've done it years ago. These guys comforted me through many lonely days in high school. Look at this face, you know I was lonely. There was nothing better than putting on headphones and listening to Days Future Passed. I love The Cars. I love Dire Straits. I played their music for years on the radio and I always considered it a great privilege to have a job where I can celebrate rock and roll and play the work these fine musicians, so on behalf all fans like me who depend on music to help us through our days, I say thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom my heart, Bon Jovi.
I really feel blessed to know you and to have been given this honor inducting you. And, Jon, I'm glad you asked me to do this even though I kvetch about it. I'm just glad you don't have to sit at home throwing darts at pictures Jann Wenner anymore. It's over, Jonny. It's over, Jonny. The dream has been realized. No, not the dream owning a football team. That was ridiculous. Your poor wife, Dorothea – sweetest woman alive – she almost had a heart attack when she heard that the mansion in Jersey was being traded in for a condo in Buffalo, but I digress, I want to get back to rock and roll.
Yes, the dream has been realized. The dream I'm talking about is that this great band brothers are finally joining their fellow musicians in the Rock and Roll Hall Fame. Like the name their album says, 100 million fans can't be wrong and I agree. They got to the chorus and never bored us. I love these guys and so do you. It's my honor to induct into the Rock and Roll Hall Fame, Hugh McDonald, Tico Torres, Sir Alec John Such, David Bryan, Richie Sambora and the one and only, Jon Bon Jovi.