Inductee Biography for NILS LOFGREN
Nils Lofgren has lived in Arizona pretty much ever since Bruce Springsteen reunited the E Street Band after a 10-year hiatus in the 1990s. That’s the period that included the 2009 Super Bowl halftime show, playing to the biggest single audience of Lofgren’s (and of course Springsteen’s) career, and the 2014 induction of the E Street Band into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Lofgren, like many others who have adopted Arizona as home after a long career of achievement, is low-key about his accomplishments but generous in his praise for this community. As he told the crowd at the 2017 Arizona Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame induction ceremony, “I’ve seen so many great people in the Celebrity Theatre.” He told of how he visited with B.B. King after one of the blues great’s last shows at the Celebrity, sitting in the parking lot in King’s tour bus. King got flirty with Lofgren’s wife and after a while placed his hand on Lofgren’s knee and said, “Nils, you can leave now.”
But Amy Aiello Lofgren, Nils’ wife, is the chief reason that this Rock and Roll Hall of Famer chose to live in Arizona. As promoter Danny Zelisko recounted, Lofgren ran into her in 1996 at late lamented Rockin’ Horse in Scottsdale, 15 years after meeting her at the Stone Pony, one of Springsteen’s early stomping grounds, in Asbury Park, N.J.
“It was 15 years between the first and second date,” Lofgren said. The second date, which took place 21 years ago, apparently took, and Lofgren has been an Arizona artist ever since. He’s been a big contributor to local charities including the CASS shelter in Scottsdale and Alice Cooper’s Christmas Pudding, and he’s made friends and worked with local people like Zelisko and producer Otto D’Agnolo.
These contributions and being a resource to the music community here stand as tall as his career as the leader of Grin and his work as a sideman with Neil Young, Ringo Starr and Springsteen. And, seriously, with Lofgren living here, we can make a strong argument that Arizona is the only place that has a guitarist who can do flips off a “trampolet” while playing lead guitar.
His major statement on being inducted into AMEHOF was: “I love our community. I love our country, and I just ask please let’s all of us let kindness, compassion and equality be our mantra. Please! And remember all men and all women are created equal. Some dress better than others.”
That’s ultimately what the entertainment scene in Arizona has been about, the freedom to be who you are regardless of other people’s expectations. That’s why we’re proud to have inducted Nils Lofgren into AMEHOF.