Patti Scialfa enters NJ Hall of Fame (read induction and acceptance speeches)

scialfa nj hall of fame


Patti Scialfa and Bruce Springsteen at the New Jersey Hall of Fame induction ceremony at NJPAC in Newark on Oct. 29.

Patti Scialfa was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame on Oct. 29, at NJPAC in Newark. Here is her husband Bruce Springsteen’s induction speech, and her acceptance speech. (Click HERE for complete coverage of the event.)


Hello, New Jersey. It’s so cool to be here tonight for my baby. Patti Scialfa was brought up in Deal, New Jersey, on the Jersey Shore. Her father Joe was Sicilian and her mom was from Belfast, in Northern Ireland. So I got to behave myself! And together we carry on the Irish-Italian mating tradition so prevalent along our little stretch of the Jersey Shore. Now Patti went to school at Asbury High, and to college at the University of Miami’s jazz conservatory, the Frost School. She later transferred to New York University’s Gallatin School, where she earned her undergraduate degree in music. She worked singing on the streets of New York with her lifelong friends Soozie Tyrell and Lisa Lowell, in their band Trickster. She also, with her own original band, she played all the great New York City clubs: Kenny’s Castaways, Folk City, Trax, The Bitter End. Patti worked and sang with Narada Michael Walden, David Sancious, David Johansen and, of course, our own Southside Johnny.

I met Patti at the Stone Pony. Where else? She was sitting in with the house band, Cats on a Smooth Surface. I heard that voice and I wondered, “Who is that girl?” I went to find out. We went out for cheeseburgers at the Inkwell in my ’60 Corvette. And the die was set for many cheeseburgers to come.

Patti was street-smart, fascinating, lovely, a sexy, beautiful redhead with a sound completely her own. The E Street Band was good at many things, but singing harmony was not one of them. So when I met Patti, I felt like I found my secret weapon. In 1984, I asked her to join the E Street Band. While playing with us, she also worked with Keith Richards on his “Talk Is Cheap” album, and with The Rolling Stones, on their “Dirty Work” album. She sang with Don Covay, the great Bobby Womack and Ivan Neville. In 1993, she released her first solo album “Rumble Doll,” co-produced by Patti and Mike Campbell of the Heartbreakers. It remains an undiscovered gem of a record that has lost none of its luster over time. … She went on to record and produce, with Steve Jordan, her second album, “23rd Street Lullaby,” and third record, “Play It As It Lays,” once again, co-producing with Steve Jordan and Ron Aniello. Both are wonderful pieces of work, which if she hadn’t been married to some suck-the-air-out-of-the-room attention whore, they would be much more widely known. So as a songwriter, Patti is second to none. She has three albums out of greatly written work. Her deft lyrical work and her feeling for its soulful accompaniment is her hallmark.

Patti’s interest in social issues led her to executive-produce “Shelter Me: Soul Awakened,” about reducing recidivism in prison by sponsoring prisoners to care for and train shelter animals, to become service dogs, and she won an Emmy for this project in 2021. She is a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member, inducted with the E Street Band in 2014. She just finished her fourth album, and it will be released in the coming year. She performed on Broadway with me in 2017, graced my stage with her lovely voice for the 20 months of our run. She was the high point of the show. And she did all of this while parenting three now 30-plus-year-olds and becoming a grandmother. So, it’s wonderful she’s being honored tonight. It’s long, long deserved. I love her. She’s a Jersey girl, through and through. …


Patti Scialfa at the New Jersey Hall of Fame induction ceremony at NJPAC in Newark, Oct. 29.

And here is Scialfa’s acceptance speech.

Thank you, Bruce. That was, like, really a lot of compliments, all in a row. I’m going to get a recording of that and play it for myself before I go to sleep. Or, ask him to say it again.

There’s a scene in the film “Almost Famous” where the character of Cameron Crowe receives a parting gift from his sister. It’s a crate filled with all her favorite records that he pulls out from underneath the bed. The albums happen to be some of the most seminal records that I listened to as a kid, and probably, for a lot of people in this room, I’m sure that scene touched many people as deeply as it touched me. Holding those album covers in your hand made you feel as if you were touching another world. A world you wanted to be a part of, but had no idea how to get there. It’s a mystery. It’s a ticket to a magical destination that you long for, where you imagine people will speak your personal, secret language.

Music is powerful. It’s just so powerful. All kinds of music. … It can inform you. It can resonate back to you a part of who you are, who you’d like to become. I was fortunate to meet and work with so many brilliant musicians and artists, and find a piece of that world, a little piece of that world for myself. And I’m so deeply grateful to the many people I’ve worked with who have reflected back to me the beauty and transformative power of music. Thank you to the New Jersey Hall of Fame for including me in such esteemed and beautiful company.



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