• Most Recent Stuff

  • Twitter

    • Tickets bought to see @LukeHaines_News in Glasgow on May 13. No idea how he was persuaded to venture up North but bloody delighted. 5 months ago
  • Email Updates and Stuff

  • Archive

  • Posts, by month

  • What You Said!

    extremelisteningmode on Our new least favourite band…
    Sam on Our new least favourite band…
    Welsh band lover on The worst band ever! – N…
    extremelisteningmode on The worst band ever! – N…
    Welsh band lover on The worst band ever! – N…

The Big Man – Clarence Clemons RIP

E-Streeter pays tribute to an icon.

In the black and white photograph a twenty-something with a mop of curly hair, wearing a leather jacket with an Elvis Presley badge, sports a telecaster and an ear to ear grin as he leans on his friend with his right arm. His friend sports a black fedora, a shirt open to the navel and is blowing on a saxophone. It is one of rock’s most iconic images and today one of those men, Clarence Clemons, is no longer with us.

Known universally as The Big Man, the E Street band’s sax player, percussionist and backing singer died aged 69 from complications relating to a stroke. On Friday evening I was in the unlikely venue of Shrewsbury’s riverside theatre watching Nils Lofgren play a virtuoso set which closed with a dedication of ‘Shine Silently’ to his friend Clarence Clemons, expressing hope of a recovery. Sadly, that hope was in vain for Lofgren’s stage partner and the main musical and performance foil for Bruce Springsteen.

We share their grief. Clarence Clemons played alongside Springsteen for nearly four decades and left his considerable fingerprints all over some of rock’s most recognisable music. The honking pulse of ‘Born To Run’, the soaring joy of ‘Promised Land’, the melodic flow of ‘Jungleland’, the sweet underplay in ‘Secret Garden’…..that playing was an integral part of the Springsteen E Street Band sound and a crucial part of the wall of sound what makes them a unique live experience.

In 2009 we saw him resting on a stool on stage at Hyde Park, but a year earlier in Cardiff and at the Emirates Stadium the hideous gilt throne sitting stage right could only be occupied by one member of the E Street Band – in this case the 6′ 5″ leviathan sax player recovering from knee and hip surgery.

I was lucky enough to see him play live many times; all it ever took was for Bruce to point or ask ‘do I have to say his name?’ for the audience to whoop and cheer for Clarence Clemons. Big Man, you will be sorely missed. My heart grieves for your family and your band mates, particularly the man from Freehold, NJ, who knew that when he looked to his right he’d see his best friend who was also a hell of a sax player.

The last line goes, as it should, to him, in this case the closing line of ‘Blood Brothers’ –  “I’ll keep movin’ through the dark, with you in my heart, my blood brother.”

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: