Monday, June 20, 2011

Rest In Peace Clarence "Big Man" Clemons

Bruce Introducing The Big Man

It was with great sadness that I learned Clarence Clemons passed away on Saturday night. As a teenager, I idolized the man. He was a hero to me, an inspiration, and the main reason that I decided to learn the saxophone when I was in high school. From the first time that I heard Born To Run, Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band captivated my soul. A large part of that was due to the Big Man behind the horn.

Growing up as an anxiety filled teen complete with all of the melodrama that teenage years bring, Springsteen’s music became an escape. On albums like Born To Run and Darkness On The Edge Of Town, I could see myself in the characters that Bruce had created. I felt the pain while listening to “Backstreets.” I felt the pure emotion when Clarence would wail his saxophone solo on “Jungleland.”

Throughout my young adult life, Bruce and Clarence become a detailed part of many of my greatest music memories. One of the biggest thrills in my life was when I got to meet Clarence Clemons in person. I will never forget how wonderful and gracious he was. I will never forget how he sat and listened to my silly “sprained ankle” story with a grin on his face. Clarence actually listened with interest and that is something I’ve held close to my heart ever since.

I could write thousands of words expressing the sorrow that I feel in his passing. I could fill posts and posts with tributes and eulogies of how sad it is to see the Big Man go. However, I think it’s best to utilize the words of Clemons’ best friend Bruce Springsteen as he eloquently put it on “Jungleland”: “And the poets down here don’t write nothing at all --- they just stand back and let it all be.”

Rest in peace, Big Man, you will be missed, but you will also be remembered.

You’re A Friend Of Mine

Jungleland Solo

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