Best Lightning in a Bottle: Michael Stipe's Speech for Nirvana
R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe delivered one of the classiest speeches of the night, eloquently explaining how a trio of misfits from outside Seattle reflected and defined a generation. "It is the highest calling for an artist as well as the greatest possible privilege to capture a moment, to find the zeitgeist, to expose our struggles, our aspirations, our desires; to embrace and define their time," he said. "That is my definition of an artist. Nirvana captured lightning in a bottle."
Emphasizing how Nirvana came from a blue-collar town (not a hipster rock scene) and created a community without the benefit of digital social media, Stipe explored how Nirvana was a true product of the underground. "Nirvana were kicking against the system, bringing complete disdain for the music industry and their definition of corporate mainstream America to show sweet and beautiful but fed-up fury coupled with howling vulnerability," Stipe said. "They spoke truth and a lot of people listened."