RIP Clarence Clemons

Clarence Clemons died and many a real deal E Street Band fan will have better things to say about him than I will, but I want to share this:

When I was a kid, which was in the ‘80s, I loved songs that had saxophone in them. It was only when I was older that I realized that more often than not, I was listening to Clarence Clemons. His sense of joy was infectious and though I only knew the most basic Bruce Springsteen information (you know, Jersey and the hits), I always knew that he had the coolest and biggest saxophone player.

A few years ago my dear friend Citizen Kerry called me at the last minute saying she had a spare ticket to see Springsteen live at Giants Stadium in New Jersey. I know enough about general pop culture to know this was something to be done before I died, so I went. We had a fantastic time. The music was great and I learned for the first time that Springsteen had written “Because the Night,” with Patti Smith. It had been one of my favorite songs for years and I had no idea. What a dummy.

But the highlight of the entire night was getting to see and hear Clarence Clemons do his sax solo on “Born to Run” live and in-person. I listened to the song on repeat for weeks afterward. When I heard the news that he had passed away, I was sad. Then I remembered the concert, and all I could think was “thank you.”

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “RIP Clarence Clemons

  1. Great story on the Moth.

  2. Sean Callahan

    Anyone who ever saw the E Street band live or on video knows what an immense presence and talent Clarence Clemons was. But as a resident here in South Florida he could regularly be seen in the newspapers and on TV lending his time and his name to various local charities.He was especially focused on the needs of at risk children having a career in this area before he was in the E street band. To me this is the true measure of a man. History judges us by how we treat the very young and the very old. Clarence understood that and made it part of his life’s work. So if you want to pay tribute to The Big Man today preform a random act of kindness. That being said the Sax solo in Jungleland is one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen live. Thankfully It will always be available on YouTube but his charity work will need to live on in us.

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