Like many of my generation, I discovered Bruce Springsteen in 1984. I knew who he was before that – who could escape “Born to Run” or “Hungry Heart” if they’d ever listened to a radio in the early ‘80s? However, it was the Born in the U.S.A. album which really brought Springsteen to the attention of the pop world through seven top ten hits and inescapable MTV videos.
Springsteen, however, became an icon not because of chart singles or videos, but through legendary live performances. His stage presence had much to do with the joy and musicianship he shared with the E Street Band. Perhaps no one from that collective has been more beloved than saxophonist Clarence Clemons, who sadly passed away at 7:00 p.m. on June 18, 2011 from complications of a stroke the Sunday before. He was 69.
Springsteen said of Clemons: “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.” BS