when the change was made uptown and the big man joined the band
June 18, 2011 6:21 PM   Subscribe

King of the World, Master of the Universe: Rest in peace, Clarence Clemons.

Just to get started on what I hope will be a compendium of some of the Big Man's greatest hits: Clarence Clemons' Five Best Saxophone Solos with the E Street Band. Sadly, previously.
posted by gerryblog (144 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
 
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posted by madcaptenor at 6:22 PM on June 18, 2011


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posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:24 PM on June 18, 2011


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posted by tuesdayschild at 6:25 PM on June 18, 2011


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posted by cerebus19 at 6:26 PM on June 18, 2011


Inexcusably left out of the FPP. My apologies.
posted by gerryblog at 6:26 PM on June 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


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posted by ghharr at 6:26 PM on June 18, 2011


The Live 1975-1985 box has a performance of "Badlands" where his solo was so authoritative that he struck me as the saxophonic equivalent of Moses, the Lawgiver.
posted by Trurl at 6:31 PM on June 18, 2011 [11 favorites]



posted by Smart Dalek at 6:31 PM on June 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Oh god, I've been pre-cringing every single damn time I looked at the blue for the past several days hoping desperately that I was not going to see this. So sad -- the sound of Clarence's invincible sax is so bound up in my youth, and adulthood, and middle age, for that matter.

And this is only the beginning of the beginning of a couple of fucked-up decades, my fellow pushing-50s.

So long, Big Man, and thanks for the swell 37 years.
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:35 PM on June 18, 2011 [13 favorites]


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posted by mikelieman at 6:38 PM on June 18, 2011


Dammit. We need inline images for this thread so I can give the Big Man a Big Dot. Instead, I'll have to link it:

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posted by entropicamericana at 6:39 PM on June 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


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posted by Wolof at 6:44 PM on June 18, 2011


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I honestly didn't like saxophone until the first time I really heard Born To Run, and the effect was so profound it retroactively made me go back and love all kinds of stuff I'd just ignored before. His playing was redemptive.
posted by philip-random at 6:46 PM on June 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


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posted by marxchivist at 6:48 PM on June 18, 2011


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posted by spinifex23 at 6:48 PM on June 18, 2011


So, my dad was a pretty big Springsteen fan in the '70s. By the time Bruce was touring behind Darkness on the Edge of Town, however, my dad was the father of two young children, and he couldn't stay out till all hours at a rock show.

One day, while Dad was watching me and folding laundry, he flipped the TV stations over to HBO, which was showing No Nukes. Excited to finally see his favorite musician, he pushed the laundry to one side, threw the basket behind him, and picked me up. "I'll be Bruce, and you be Clarence," he said, and we danced around the living room. Admittedly, my Clarence impersonation involved some freestyle throwing of unfolded socks, but Dad did a skid across the den floor and I leaned against his back, playing air sax, and all was right with the world.

Two weeks later, my mom was folding laundry in the den, and came across No Nukes on HBO. "I'll be Clarence and you be Bruce," I said, and threw some socks across the room.

Mom was considerably less charmed.

The 14th anniversary of my Dad's death was three weeks ago, and this makes it more real somehow. RIP, Clarence.
posted by pxe2000 at 6:50 PM on June 18, 2011 [84 favorites]


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posted by mike3k at 6:54 PM on June 18, 2011


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posted by treepour at 6:59 PM on June 18, 2011


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posted by headnsouth at 7:01 PM on June 18, 2011


. Wow. Glad I finally got to see him (and Bruce) a few years ago. He didn't really look that great then but he still sounded great.
posted by octothorpe at 7:01 PM on June 18, 2011


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posted by facetious at 7:02 PM on June 18, 2011


I was *this* close to the stage when Springsteen's Born in the USA tour played the Feijenoord Stadium in Rotterdam. Inflatables of many kinds were tossed around the crowd during the concert, and a big orange 'saxophone' was thrown up to the Big Man during one of the last songs. Folks, he played it.
Great guy. Great sax.
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posted by likeso at 7:04 PM on June 18, 2011 [6 favorites]


no words. no dots. Bruce and the Big Man gave me the greatest concert experience of my life.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 7:07 PM on June 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


I saw them for the first time in 1974, and Bruce and Clarence gave me hope for America.
RIP, Big Man.

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posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 7:09 PM on June 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Clemons called his instrument "a vehicle to move my spirit around."

Really nice extended profile at nj.com.
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:10 PM on June 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


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posted by jburka at 7:10 PM on June 18, 2011


I grew up listening to Springsteen. My mother was (is) as much a fan of Springsteen as anyone can be of anyone. She's been to see him countless times - every tour, sometimes twice on the same tour, from the time of my earliest memories right through his recent comeback tours. All his albums were on heavy rotation in our house. It wasn't Christmas until the local rock radio station played Springsteen's version of "Santa Claus is coming to town". While still barely a toddler my mom made sure I knew who Clarence was and when his parts came in, so that me and my brother could shout "play it Clarence!" along with Bruce. To this day I can't hear one of his sax solos without thinking of home and my mom and my childhood.

I heard about his stroke a few days ago, via my mom's Facebook feed, naturally. The news at the time was cautiously optimistic. Thus I am stunned and saddened to hear this. Nobody could play like Clarence and nobody ever will.
posted by PercussivePaul at 7:11 PM on June 18, 2011 [7 favorites]


That sucks. I'm so glad I decided not to work late a couple of years ago and went to the Springsteen concert. Best concert I ever went to.
posted by dirigibleman at 7:14 PM on June 18, 2011



posted by tzikeh at 7:15 PM on June 18, 2011


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posted by khaibit at 7:15 PM on June 18, 2011




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Oh, man, what a loss.

I was lucky enough to see him sit in with both the Dead and the Jerry Garcia Band back in 1988-89 or so -- he didn't fit in as well with the Dead, but boy did he click with JGB. He was on hiatus from the E Street Band and had moved to Northern California for a while, and I'm sure just wanted to play. His sound was so full and rich -- no mistaking him for anyone else.

My condolences to his family.
posted by mosk at 7:16 PM on June 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


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posted by dchase at 7:16 PM on June 18, 2011


From the NYTimes obit:
“I swear I will never forget that moment,” Mr. Clemons later recalled in an interview. “I felt like I was supposed to be there. It was a magical moment. He looked at me, and I looked at him, and we fell in love. And that’s still there.”
And then there's this.
posted by Jeff_Larson at 7:18 PM on June 18, 2011 [7 favorites]


How weird is it when your last big thing you did is with Lady Gaga?
posted by fungible at 7:21 PM on June 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


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posted by dbiedny at 7:31 PM on June 18, 2011


i said a couple days ago when the edge of glory video was released that it's going to be strange if that's the last video he makes.

also, gaga asked her little monsters to make get well videos for him and they did. it's a little interesting to see who only knows him from the gaga stuff and who knows him from their parents' records.
posted by nadawi at 7:31 PM on June 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


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posted by lapolla at 7:38 PM on June 18, 2011


I'm not doing OK with this.

I'm a pretty serious fan, having grown up right in the bullseye of the E Street Band's stomping grounds, being a kid as it all blew up and listening to each new release forming the soundtrack of my life. I've been fortunate to see the band many times, and have always been deeply touched by the unique sound of the band - that is, the unique sound of Clarence, who (with lots of help from the keyboards of course) was the primary reason the band elevated itself beyond guitar-bass-drum rock and created a completely original fusion of R&B, cool jazz, and straightahead rock.

And beyond the sound, there was so much power in his presence, and an incredibly touching dynamic of enduring friendship and love between him and Bruce. IT's really the end of an era - there can be no more real ESB shows ever again - and that is a real loss. I'm so grateful for the opportunities I had to hear clarence play with the E Street Band. He gave me - and millions, millions - an irreplaceable joy. RIP, Clarence. Enduring peace always.

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posted by Miko at 7:44 PM on June 18, 2011 [18 favorites]


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posted by Xoebe at 7:45 PM on June 18, 2011


(I am trying to get on the BTX fan boards, a lovely community, and they are crashing under the weight of this news).
posted by Miko at 7:46 PM on June 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


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posted by condour75 at 7:49 PM on June 18, 2011


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He has one of my favorite cameos in the Wire, 3rd season, as a community activist. I never could figure out why the actor looked so familiar, until now...
posted by hototogisu at 7:50 PM on June 18, 2011




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posted by dog food sugar at 7:53 PM on June 18, 2011


Dammit, dammit. I was listening to Kitty's Back in Town just about an hour before reading this news. Clarence has been a part of my aural landscape since I was about 12. KLOL in Houston used to play The Fever, back when it was pretty much a radio-only bootleg of sorts, and that song moved me even when I was a little kid, in no small part thanks to his earthy sax part. Thanks big man, and godspeed.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:53 PM on June 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


he was a great gut bucket rock n roll sax player, up there with junior walker and king curtis - maybe the last of a breed

just doesn't seem like there's much room for that in today's music and today's music is poorer for it
posted by pyramid termite at 7:57 PM on June 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


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posted by ambrosia at 7:57 PM on June 18, 2011



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    posted by arcticseal at 8:03 PM on June 18, 2011


    RIP, Big Man. Glad I got to see you play live before you went. It was a privilige.
    posted by jonmc at 8:03 PM on June 18, 2011


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    posted by mkdg at 8:05 PM on June 18, 2011


    The E Street band lost Phantom Dan a few years back and now Clarence...Bruce must be beside himself with grief. Our thoughts are with you, man.
    posted by jonmc at 8:15 PM on June 18, 2011 [8 favorites]


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    Jungleland is authoritative rock sax. It's everything I imagine CC to be like in real life: joyful but deep, sweet and poignant.

    Reminds me of LeRoi Moore's death three years ago, also in the summer, also expected to recover but took a turn for the worse. Obviously Roi wasn't as much of an icon, but I can't help but group those two big men- big in spirit and talent, as well as physically.. If not for them, I never would have taken up the sax, something that basically shaped the better part of a decade of my life, and a very formative one at that.

    The story about their meeting that Bruce tells at basically every concert, including a recent one that I was lucky enough to see always makes me smile, but this time, there were tears welling up along with the smile.

    Beneath the city one fewer heart beats, and everyone is the poorer for it.
    posted by supercres at 8:15 PM on June 18, 2011 [10 favorites]


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    We loved you, Big Man.
    posted by Mcable at 8:19 PM on June 18, 2011


    I agree, jonmc, the rest of the band is no doubt reeling with grief after losing Federici and now Clemons in just a couple years. There is no filling these shoes. And I fear it signals what FelliniBlank said above: "And this is only the beginning of the beginning of a couple of fucked-up decades, my fellow pushing-50s." I'm not even pushing 50 but I dread the waves that are going to come and rock our boats. It is a reminder to do all you can within your life. I am so glad I saw Clarence with the band as many times as I did; but I sure wish now I'd done it more, even though the money was always tight and the ticket price so high. Now I'd sacrifice a lot of stupid crap I spent that money on instead to be able to be present a few more times with the complete band.

    There is a fable I heard as a kid that stayed with me. I can't remember the original text and my searching isn't yielding it. But it was about a man who was traveling across the desert, traveling in the dark, and a genie came to him and said "Reach down to the gravel beneath your feet, and take as many of the rocks you'd like, to keep with you. In the morning, they will make you both glad and sorry." The man didn't see the purpose of doing that and didn't understand the riddle, but as the genie asked, he scrabbled around his feet and grabbed a few small pieces of gravel and put them in his pouch. Then the genie bid him farewell and disappeared, and the man travelled on. In the morning, the man, now many miles away, remembered the events of the night and looked into the pouch - only to see a small handful of pure diamonds. Once he knew what the "gravel" really was, he was both glad and sorry: glad he had taken some, sorry he had not taken more.

    Such is the way of the world. I'm glad Clarence was so courageous and full of love and shared so much, and that I got to be a tiny part of it. I'm sorry I didn't participate more.
    posted by Miko at 8:26 PM on June 18, 2011 [17 favorites]


    When the E Street Band last played here, Bruce introduced the Big Man by saying "You want to be like him...but you can't!"

    Yes.
    posted by tommasz at 8:28 PM on June 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


    I remember, way the hell back in the 80's seeing the video for Clarence & the Red Bank Rockers' "Woman's Got The Power," on MTV (I'll bet that was probably the only time it was ever played on that channel) and Bruce had a tiny cameo as a car wash employee. I haven't heard the song, seen the viseo or found a digital copy of it since (not for lack of trying) but it was a damn good song.
    posted by jonmc at 8:30 PM on June 18, 2011


    I discovered Bruce and the E Street Band around 16 or 17, and Born to Run was more or less the narration of my last two years of high school and the summer before college. At that age it's easy to be convinced no one around you understands your need to go somewhere, anywhere else. What you'll do there doesn't really seem to matter - the going is the most important part, and the rest will fall into place. Over a distance of 30-odd years, Bruce and the boys got it. They understood. That album was just waiting for me to catch up. It was about a world without limits, a horizon that would never draw closer no matter how fast you raced toward it.

    I'm older now, and I've got a job and responsibilities and have just begun to taste some of the sadness life will ladle out if I stick around long enough. The world is still full of exciting things, but it seems to get a little smaller every year. I can no longer pretend that possibilities are limitless, that everything is possible. So the album doesn't speak to me the way it once did - now I gravitate more towards what Bruce put out while he was fumbling to realize the kind of man he wanted to be, because I'm in the same situation. But sometimes, when the night's right and I've had a few drinks and it comes on the jukebox, I remember the way it felt to get in a car with the windows down on a summer night and play "Jungleland" and let Clarence's solo get in my blood and my bones. It doesn't matter that the time keeps passing - Bruce is saying "Hey, I know it's late, we can make it if we run" and I remember exactly what it felt like, that particular moment in time with my heart outside my chest and the night busting wide open in front of me.

    That's how it was until now, anyway. But the Big Man's gone way uptown, and I don't think it'll be the same again.

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    posted by superfluousm at 8:32 PM on June 18, 2011 [16 favorites]


    Is this it, jonmc?
    posted by Miko at 8:37 PM on June 18, 2011


    There aren't enough periods to denote how upsetting this is. I cried when Danny Federici passed, and I'm crying now.

    Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band saved my fucking life. Literally. I discovered them through the "No Nukes" movie when I was barely into my teens, and I can still remember sitting on the living room floor, desperate to escape the fucked up world around me, losing myself in songs like "Wild Billy's Circus Story" and "Drive All Night." I'd sit there for hours, holding the worn cardboard jackets of Badlands, The River, Born to Run... 30 years later, I still turn to them when I need to be reborn.

    Aww shit.

    Clarence, I hope you get your new saxophone now, cos I know you been practicin' real hard.

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    posted by flyingsquirrel at 8:42 PM on June 18, 2011 [7 favorites]


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    posted by El Brendano at 8:48 PM on June 18, 2011


    Jungleland live at Winterland.

    I was born in New Jersey, right near Springsteen, but we left when I was very young and I didn't appreciate him until I was 18 and we were leaving the country. I heard Born To Run on the radio for the millionth time and suddenly realized how PERFECT it is. Thunder Road is even better (I wrote an essay about it I'm not linking). Badlands gets you through the bad stuff.
    Springsteen is the template for rock and roll at it's redemptive best. But when even his lyrics aren't enough Clarence' sax moved it to a whole
    'nother emotional plain. It also contributed to the widescreen, cinematic feel.

    This week hasn't been a good one, and when things are bad I always look forward to live music. Bruce is one of my only idols I've never seen, and today I learned I will never see the proper E Street Band. I'm sorry if that sounds selfish.

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    posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:49 PM on June 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


    In the Spring of 1989, I met a fella. And we sort of hit it off, and he asked me out. He took me to see Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure.

    It got to the scene where Bill and Ted meet the Three Most Important People In The World, the shades came off, and we both blurted out "It's Clarence!". We looked at each other, then cracked up.

    We've been married 20 years. We watched Bill and Ted tonight in Clarence's honor.

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    posted by MissySedai at 8:51 PM on June 18, 2011 [11 favorites]


    P.S. I'm listening to "Jungleland" now, lying in bed with my boyfriend. We starting dating a year ago, but we actually first met 21 years ago when we were juniors in college. We met at a party, clicked, and spent that first night sitting on the floor of my apartment, listening to Bruce records and talking about which songs meant the most to us. We only dated for two months back then, but the connection was made. And so here we sit right now, a lifetime later, reconnecting, mourning together that which we once celebrated.

    From Bruce's official site:

    It is with overwhelming sadness that we inform our friends and fans that at 7:00 tonight, Saturday, June 18, our beloved friend and bandmate, Clarence Clemons passed away. The cause was complications from his stroke of last Sunday, June 12th.

    Bruce Springsteen said of Clarence: 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.

    posted by flyingsquirrel at 8:56 PM on June 18, 2011 [6 favorites]


    The world was a better place for your presence big man. You will be missed.....
    RIP
    posted by caddis at 9:02 PM on June 18, 2011


    My best friend, the one who sent me the roses in high school, is the biggest Springsteen fan I know. I just sent her a text asking how she was because her heart must be breaking.
    posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:03 PM on June 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


    I'm so glad I decided not to work late a couple of years ago and went to the Springsteen concert. Best concert I ever went to.

    Now I'd sacrifice a lot of stupid crap I spent that money on instead to be able to be present a few more times with the complete band.

    I missed several opportunities in high school and college to catch the E Street experience, and why? Because I couldn't miss one lousy day in 1978 hawking Star Wars action figures at the J. C. Penney toy department for minimum wage? It seemed equally idiotic back then, too. After that, the geography became impossible.

    But oh, how I have loved the band regardless. I remember sitting in my room in the dark with only the light of my radio on in late May 1978 when the local FM station played an advance copy of the album we'd been waiting and waiting and waiting, as only a 14-16 year old can wait, three years for. Before the needle dropped, there I was, just a normal girl. And a minute later . . . god damn, I was still just a normal girl, but now living in a world where "Badlands" existed, and Clarence and Max just pwned that sucker. Plus lots and lots of other wonderful moments, many of them made possible by the efforts of the rabid taping community and their enablers on the inside.

    For the past month, I've had this stupid chest cold that hangs on, but the upside is that the nasally hoarseness makes my (poor) singing voice very Stevie-like, so I've been submerging myself ecstatically in things E Street for weeks now. Only since Danny died, the bittersweet parts of the music, which of course have always been there and are part of the draw, have stood out more starkly and been more fraught with intimations of mortality than usual. And will be from now on, I'm sure.

    TL;DR -- work, lunch money, and long drives are less important than concerts.
    posted by FelliniBlank at 9:10 PM on June 18, 2011 [10 favorites]


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    posted by kinnakeet at 9:20 PM on June 18, 2011


    Really enjoyed him with JGB and feelin' lonesome and a long way from home.

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    posted by pappy at 9:21 PM on June 18, 2011




    Let's dance!
    posted by FelliniBlank at 9:37 PM on June 18, 2011


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    (Paris, 1985 - the one year anniversary of the Born in the USA tour. I was 15, traveling around Europe with my older brother. One of the best concert experiences of my life.)
    posted by fingers_of_fire at 9:46 PM on June 18, 2011


    In middle school and high school, when they gave us instruments, I decided based on something I don't even remember anymore I wanted to play saxophone.

    A few years later, when my tastes had evolved to rock from Barry Manilow, I was poking around and found a song playing on 95.5 WPLJ (in the days before Clear Channel - this would be, I think, around 1980). It was "Jungleland".

    And when the sax solo started, I just stopped, dropping everything, and listened.

    I no longer have my saxophone - it turned to scrap over the years, due to bad maintenance and things like that - but sometimes I think about trying to get a used one, the way some people dream about guitars, because of Clarence Clemons and what he could do with it.

    God rest ye, Big Man, and salve the souls of us left here tonight in Jungleland.

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    posted by mephron at 9:58 PM on June 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


    I keep trying to think of something to say, but I'm still speechless from the news.

    RIP, Big Man.

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    posted by whatideserve at 10:06 PM on June 18, 2011


    found a song playing on 95.5 WPLJ

    YES! That and 102.7 WNEW. Man, those were the days, when radio was real. I got to meet Pat. St. John at a record store appearance. (BTW, many of those DJs are still around, even in the New York area, on stations like 90.7 WFUV [Dennis Elsas] and 107.1 WXPK [Jimmy Fink]. I think St. John is too, not sure where he's landed, though.)

    I had the honor of seeing Bruce and the band live 5 or 6 times, starting in 1983 at the Meadowlands in NJ, for the first round of his years-long "Born in the USA" tour. It was the heyday of his 3+-hour shows, where he and Clarence would riff endlessly, so obviously having the time of their lives. We had noseblood seats, and I was so fucking excited and nervous, I couldn't eat the hotdog my father had gotten me. I was 13 years old in a room filled with 30,000 people, but dammit if Bruce, the Big Man and the band didn't play just for me.
    posted by flyingsquirrel at 10:07 PM on June 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


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    posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 10:13 PM on June 18, 2011


    Clarence the shrink
    posted by FelliniBlank at 10:15 PM on June 18, 2011


    Waitin' on a Sunny Day - at Giants Stadium
    posted by caddis at 10:23 PM on June 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


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    this sucks. another part of my childhood, gone.
    posted by New England Cultist at 11:30 PM on June 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


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    posted by scody at 11:37 PM on June 18, 2011


    I hope that you understand what this means to me when I say, without the merest iota of sarcasm or irony, that I still think of Born to Run, Darkness on the Edge of Town, and The River as The Holy Trinity.
    When the change was made uptown
    And the Big Man joined the band
    From the coastline to the city
    All the little pretties raise their hands
    I'm gonna sit back right easy and laugh
    When Scooter and the Big Man bust this city in half
    Rest easy, Big Man.
    posted by Halloween Jack at 11:45 PM on June 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


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    posted by malibustacey9999 at 2:13 AM on June 19, 2011


    ESB was the greatest rock and roll band of all time. And I'll tell Mick Jagger that to his face.

    So long big man.

    So long youth.
    posted by fourcheesemac at 2:57 AM on June 19, 2011 [13 favorites]


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    posted by carbide at 5:23 AM on June 19, 2011


    I only heard about his stroke yesterday and was sorry enough to hear that. This is terrible news.

    My thoughts are with his family and bandmates today.

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    posted by badmoonrising at 5:49 AM on June 19, 2011




    I don't have the talent for this, but it would be interesting to compile a video montage of a whole bunch of the hyperbolic stage intros Clarence got from Bruce. I've been watching the videos and really chuckling at some of them.
    posted by Miko at 6:44 AM on June 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


    Teardrops on the city.

    Thank you for the music and the love you shared, Big Man. The world is a smaller place for your loss.
    posted by madamjujujive at 6:52 AM on June 19, 2011


    I think attending an E Street Band concert should have been incorporated into proof of U.S. Citizenship.

    Instead of taking a test about the founding of the country, you should just go pay the money to see Bruce live and present your ticket stub to the appropriate office and be done with it.
    posted by Lipstick Thespian at 7:08 AM on June 19, 2011 [8 favorites]


    Clarence's biographies mention his support for these charities: Little Kids Rock and Home Safe (warning, Home Safe site plays spooky ecclesiastical-type music).
    posted by Miko at 7:21 AM on June 19, 2011


    The ESB's live show was probably the most tightly choreographed rock show in history. Mrs. flapjax had a backstage translation gig for the band and crew (she was one of many translators, of course), here in Tokyo, around 1988. She saw Bruce and the band run the entire show (a whopping three hours) in the afternoon, before the event. We're not talking a few songs as a sound check, we're talking the whole show, complete with all the "off the cuff" stage patter and storytelling and such. An exact science of rock entertainment.
    posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:25 AM on June 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


    God, that's amazing, especially since their show in the evening leaves you exhausted just to watch - let alone to play - I can hardly imagine doing that twice in a day. It's consistent with everything I've heard about Bruce as a manager - detail-oriented, obsessive, not leaving much to chance, perfectionist...he says the same of himself. But the results tell the story.
    posted by Miko at 7:28 AM on June 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


    I met Clarence when I was about 11. This was during the interregnum period of Lucky Town and Human Touch. It was actually supposed to Max Weinberg, doing a signing at the local drug store in support of Big Brothers. But Max couldn't come for whatever reason, and my dad and I got to meet Clarence. In the picture, Clarence has my dorky little head in a cuddly headlock.

    The person in front of us asked Clarence what his favorite Bruce song was, and he said "Night."



    .
    posted by HeroZero at 7:31 AM on June 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


    (supposed to be Max Weinberg)
    posted by HeroZero at 7:31 AM on June 19, 2011


    .
    posted by sabira at 7:38 AM on June 19, 2011


    HeroZero -- What a fabulous story. If you still have that picture, pleasepleaseplease scan and post!
    posted by flyingsquirrel at 7:40 AM on June 19, 2011


    .

    My older sister was the big Springsteen fan in the house and it was through that exposure that Clemons influenced me. When the time came to do either band, choir or orchestra I chose to play the saxophone. He was just so cool it couldn't be helped. He was like gravity.
    posted by safetyfork at 8:00 AM on June 19, 2011 [3 favorites]




    Safetyfork - I want to be like gravity, too. Great comment.
    posted by Lipstick Thespian at 8:52 AM on June 19, 2011


    Waitin' on a Sunny Day - at Giants Stadium

    I happened to be at that very show. Thanks for bringing back an incredible memory of 30,000 people singing together a capella.
    posted by Miko at 8:53 AM on June 19, 2011


    She saw Bruce and the band run the entire show (a whopping three hours) in the afternoon, before the event. We're not talking a few songs as a sound check, we're talking the whole show...

    In an article on the 1978 tour, Dave Marsh marveled at the three hour rehearsals Bruce conducted for what was already one of the tightest bands in existence. I guess they didn't call him The Boss for nothing.

    That puts into perspective something I read a long time ago about Max Weinberg seeking medical attention for his hand after he missed a beat in concert. [The doctor tells him, "The human hand is not built to do what you do with it."] I figured the concertgoers would have been surprised when the beat went missing. But Bruce must have freaked the fuck out.
    posted by Trurl at 9:04 AM on June 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


    I think attending an E Street Band concert should have been incorporated into proof of U.S. Citizenship.

    I spoke to a former skeptic years back. He hadn't been a particularly big Springsteen fan at all, and a friend offered him a free ticket -- I guessing this was Born To Run era -- so he went, with trepidation, prepared to be disappointed, but what the hell, free ticket. He said that by the third song, he was standing on his chair, tears streaming down his face, screaming "BRUCE! BRUCE! BRUCE!" I didn't get to see him until the late 90's, and once again on The Rising tour, but yeah.
    posted by Devils Rancher at 10:12 AM on June 19, 2011 [7 favorites]


    "Then, hard into 'Rosalita,' Springsteen and the band reached that point when the song hangs in the air -- when the pace is most fierce and the question of whether our hero will get the girl most in doubt. At the precise moment when the tension almost cracks the song in half, Springsteen turned to Clemons and kissed him square on the lips." [Greil Marcus, December 22, 1980]
    posted by blucevalo at 12:04 PM on June 19, 2011 [8 favorites]


    .
    posted by Not The Stig at 1:01 PM on June 19, 2011



    posted by ob1quixote at 2:32 PM on June 19, 2011


    Today Miko and I put an RIP Clarence sign on the back of our car and we went out to the beach. I was wearing my Magic Tour t-shirt and no less than four separate people came up to us over the course of the day and talked about how sad they were and their favorite Clarence/E Street Band moments.

    It was fantastic to be able to be with other people feeling as blown out as we are.

    I would very much like to hear from anyone else who were suddenly talking to complete strangers and bonding over this moment.
    posted by Lipstick Thespian at 3:29 PM on June 19, 2011 [5 favorites]


    .
    posted by phogirl at 3:55 PM on June 19, 2011


    I figured the concertgoers would have been surprised when the beat went missing. But Bruce must have freaked the fuck out.

    Took me a while to remember exactly where I'd seen it, but here's a wonderful performance of the always-lovely "Thundercrack" where, at 7:45, you can observe how Bruce and the band react to his own goof.
    posted by FelliniBlank at 4:38 PM on June 19, 2011


    .
    for the Big Man and
    .
    for the E Street Band.

    Thanks, Big Man.
    posted by whuppy at 4:46 PM on June 19, 2011


    .
    posted by disclaimer at 5:19 PM on June 19, 2011


    .
    posted by dazed_one at 9:29 PM on June 19, 2011


    I don't think I have enough . in the world for Clarence. But I'll try. Thank you, Big Man.

    .
    posted by bakerina at 8:35 AM on June 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


    I think St. John is too, not sure where he's landed, though.)
    Been hearing him on XM radio lately.
    posted by e1c at 11:52 AM on June 20, 2011


    Wolfgangsvault has put up a Clarence Clemons Tribute [47 tracks, 4:34:43 total time]
    posted by Tuesday After Lunch at 1:45 PM on June 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


    That Wolfgang's Vault tribute is a pretty fantastic playlist. Thanks for posting, Tuesday After Lunch.
    posted by Miko at 6:46 AM on June 22, 2011


    Jungleland... is a sax solo that happens to have a Bruce Springsteen song wrapped around it. Blazing, screaming, aching, longing pours out of that horn in a way not seen before or since. It's truly perfect. It just. is. Someday I suppose I will be able to listen to it without crying, but I have no idea when that will be.

    As the girl shuts out the bedroom light...
    posted by I_Love_Bananas at 4:33 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


    .
    posted by cass at 9:55 PM on June 24, 2011


    .
    posted by illenion at 3:55 PM on June 26, 2011


    Bruce's eulogy for Clarence.
    posted by Miko at 11:25 AM on June 29, 2011 [5 favorites]


    From the eulogy:

    "Clarence doesn't leave the E Street Band when he dies. He leaves when we die."

    *sniff*
    posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:36 AM on June 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


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