Two weekends past Clarence Clemons – the “BIG MAN” & long time tenor saxophonist for Bruce Springsteen’s E-Street Band – suffered a stroke. And by now many of you have heard that this past weekend, Saturday June 18th, he died from complications of it. He was 69. A musical note has gone silent.
His saxophone style provided a signature spiritual sound which identified the band as much as anyone besides Springsteen. This is the second E-Street Band member to die. Both in just the last three years.
Of course tributes have flooded in for Clemons, outside as well as inside of music. Here is the one from U2. On the night of his passing, U2 was playing here in Anaheim, California. (U2 played here at the Rose Bowl in 2009 and was televised worldwide) They pay their respects during their final song which Bono closes by reading words from the great Springsteen rock opera, “Jungleland”, one very high point of Clemons saxophone playing.
Maybe the two Springsteen tunes most identified with Clemons are Thunder Road that includes a light-hearted description by Springsteen of the day “when the Big man joined the band.” And as mentioned, Jungleland, with its hauntingly beautiful sax solo right in the core of the song:
Springsteen issued this statement on the day the Big Man left the band:
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. (BruceSpringsteen.net)
Gotta Pay My Respects. Stay Thirsty for Great Music My Friends