Saturday, June 18, 2011

Clarence Clemons

It just plain sucks that Clarence Clemons died of complications from a stroke he suffered last weekend. He wasn't The E Street Band's best musician, but he certainly was its face from the very beginning. He physically dwarfed Springsteen, a rather slight man, & Springsteen knew Clarence could steal the show whenever he wanted. The story of Clarence meeting Bruce, perhaps a bit apocryphal, has the wind ripping the door to an Asbury Park club off its hinges during a thunderstorm  as the Big Man walked in,  & was then introduced to Bruce.  He was a star entertainer in his own right.When Springsteen performed without E Street, Clarence was the one you noticed wasn't there,
When the change was made uptown
And the Big Man joined the band
From the coastline to the city
All the little pretties raise their hands
"Tenth Ave. Freeze-out"
Clarence's diminished role in Springsteen's recordings probably didn't matter that much to him. He always had studio work. Lady Gaga gave him a call.  He was paid handsomely & given plenty of perks for his long, grueling tours with Springsteen & E Street, was the second most popular musician on stage, & was indispensable to the classic, big numbers Springsteen performed night after night. I don't envy the horn man who tries to fill Clarence's shoes in 'Jungleland."

Clarence in his dressing room with his portable "Temple of Soul." If E Street tours again, Springsteen will have a saxophonist but probably make "Jungleland" a Clarence tribute & use a recording of  the famous horn solo.

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I was never a fan of Springsteen's music, but I really enjoy the legend that has developed from of Bruce's original encounter with the Big Man.
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