My heart broke a little today when I learned that the great Clarence ‘Big Man’ Clemons had passed away on June 18. Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band gave me my first live music experience way back in 1985 when they toured the country for the first time on the back of the mammoth, Born in the USA album. I have vivid memories of Clarence and Bruce standing side by side, leaning in that little bit, stoking the fire inside each other. His playing on songs like Thunder Road & Born to Run will remain timeless, but it is the solo on Jungleland that makes my skin tighten and the hairs on my neck dance.
Here he is blowing that legendary sax, live in Hyde Park in 2009:
With the loss of Danny Federici in 2008 and now Clarence, the E-Street Band will be forever changed… so it is only fitting to leave the last word to Bruce:
Clarence lived a wonderful life. He carried within him a love of people that made them love him. He created a wondrous and extended family. He loved the saxophone, loved our fans and gave everything he had every night he stepped on stage. His loss is immeasurable and we are honored and thankful to have known him and had the opportunity to stand beside him for nearly forty years. He was my great friend, my partner, and with Clarence at my side, my band and I were able to tell a story far deeper than those simply contained in our music. His life, his memory, and his love will live on in that story and in our band.