Last week saxophonist Clarence Clemons suffered a severe stroke, and over the weekend he succumbed to the effects. He was 69 years old. Most famous as the iconic sideman for Bruce Springsteen, Clemons was known as ‘The Big Man’ for his towering stage presence as well as his physical attributes. Clemons was a life-long powerhouse in a band known for explosive live performances – Springsteen was an event truly worth seeing for the quality of the musical experience, in no small part due to Clemons.
Bruce Springsteen had much to say, including:
“Clarence lived a wonderful life,” Springsteen said on his Web site following Saturday’s news that the 69-year-old Clemons died following complications from a stroke he suffered June 12.
Springsteen added that the loss of Clemons, known as the Big Man, “is immeasurable” and that he and his bandmates “are honored and thankful to have known him and had the opportunity to stand beside him for nearly 40 years.”
The Boss added that Clemons’ “life, his memory, and his love will live on in that story and in our band.”
While the E-Street Band was his musical home, he also worked with many other artists such as Aretha Franklin (Freeway of Love) and most recently Lady Gaga (Edge of Glory), as well as countless other side sessions. He also did a wide array of acting spots through the years on TV and film.
But where his great presence will be most missed is beside his life-long friend and ‘musical soul-mate’ Bruce Springsteen, in great songs like Born to Run. His legend in rock history is set, his iconic status as a great rock saxophone player established, and we can now sit back, wish him peace, and enjoy his work on Born to Run: