The Big Man

Terrible news:

Clarence Clemons, hospitalized in Florida after a stroke, has had two brain surgeries but is “responsive and in stable condition,” according the authoritative Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band fan website,
Also, Carolyn Gusoff of Fox 5 News has reported that Clemons is paralyzed on the left side of his body, though quotes a “close friend” of Clemons as saying: “He was paralyzed on his left side, but now he’s squeezing with his left hand.”

Prayers and best wishes for the Big Man, one of rock’s greatest performers in his own right. I could offer you a thousand words on his impact on Bruce Springsteen’s music as well as his other projects, but instead, here’s a collection of great memories on video:

So Young and In Love, 2008 – nobody does the opening sax solo like Clarence:

Sherry Darling, 1984 – another great opening sax solo, plus some classic clowning around with Bruce:

Quarter to Three, 1989, with Ringo Starr’s All-Starr Band – another opening sax solo, and Clarence as bandleader:

Quarter to Three again, 1979 – this picks up in the middle of the song, but shows the breakneck tempo at which the E Street Band used to play this song without losing cohesion, as well as Clarence playing fight referee and duck walking:

And I couldn’t leave the Bruce section of this post without Rosalita, 1978:

part 2 of that clip:

Freeway of Love, with Aretha Franklin, 1985:

Santa Claus is Coming to Town, with the Pointer Sisters, 1987:

Here’s what could be Clarence’s swan song, the Lady Gaga single Edge of Glory (which, thanks in no small part to Clarence, is the first of her songs I have actually liked) – his sax solo starts around 3:05, and starts the outtro around 4:30, and will no doubt be heard everywhere on radio this summer, just like it was 1985 one more time:

And finally, Clarence in his own words on meeting Bruce for the first time:

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