Clarence Clemmons Dies from Complications of Stroke

    Tony Marino
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    default Clarence Clemmons Dies from Complications of Stroke

    Post by Tony Marino on Sun Jun 19, 2011 9:50 pm

    He was the spirit of the E Street Band, and the oaken staff that Bruce Springsteen leaned on.

    Clarence Clemons — the Big Man with the big horn — died yesterday of complications from a stroke he suffered last weekend. He was 69.

    “Clarence lived a wonderful life,” Bruce Springsteen said in a statement last night. “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.”

    News of Clemons’ death was first reported last night on, The Star-Ledger’s real-time news website.

    “He was the kahuna of surf and soul and a man that had love in his heart and, always, a smile on his face. He was my brother — my musical brother,” said original E Street Band drummer Vini “Mad Dog” Lopez.

    Lopez last saw Clemons when he guested at an E Street Band show in Philadelphia, in 2009. “I was in the dressing room with him, and we were laughing and talking about golfing,” said Lopez.

    There have been many charismatic figures in the E Street Band, but none had the personal gravity of Clemons, the group’s Bunyanesque saxophonist.

    Springsteen himself acknowledged this, always introducing Clemons last at concerts. It’s Clemons’ big shoulder that Springsteen was looking over lovingly on the famous cover of his “Born to Run” album. As his bandleader beamed at him, Clemons, black-hatted and bold, turned toward the camera and blew his sax.

    Clemons seemed to be a character out of a storybook — or better yet, a widescreen movie about the triumph of a romantic gang of rock ’n’ roll renegades. Wildly popular among fans of the E Street Band, he was the sort of larger-than-life figure to whom legends accrued. Recognizing this, Clemons and Springsteen did much to play up those legends: “Big Man: Real Life and Tall Tales,” Clemons’ 2009 autobiography written with Don Reo, combined genuine reflections with fiction in an attempt to capture the mythical quality of the musician.

    Springsteen’s oft-told story of his initial meeting with Clemons felt biblical: With a lightning storm raging outside, the Big Man tore the door off an Asbury Park club, strode onstage, and made magic. (Springsteen would later immortalize this meeting in “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out,” a song on “Born to Run.”)

    Was this embellished? Most likely. But reality never seemed quite big enough to accommodate Clemons.

    “Mere facts,” wrote Springsteen in the preface to Clemons’ book, “will never plumb the mysteries of the Big Man.”


    Born in Norfolk, Va., Clemons was the son of a Baptist minister who had no love for raucous rock ’n’ roll. But at the age of 9, his family gave young Clarence an alto saxophone — and soon he discovered his lung power was formidable.


    RIP Big man.

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    default Re: Clarence Clemmons Dies from Complications of Stroke

    Post by Nystyle709 on Mon Jun 20, 2011 7:24 pm


    "Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet" Bob Marley

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