Video- Saxophonist Extraordinaire Clarence Clemons dies at 69: National Anthem April 1, 2011


Damn I'm old. Consider this an overnight thread.

NEWARK, N.J. — The Big Man of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band — saxophonist Clarence Clemons — died Saturday of complications of a stroke, The Star-Ledger said, citing a spokeswoman for Springsteen. Clemons was 69.

Clemons was the burley musician who provided a wailing melodic line to many of Springsteen's greatest hits, including "Born to Run."

Born in Chesapeake (originally Norfolk County), Va., Clemons was raised on Gospel music as the grandson of a Baptist preacher. Clemons was a recognized as a City of Norfolk Legend of Music.

While Clemons has suffered from numerous ailments over the last few years, including double knee surgery, his health had appeared to be improving as he performed with Lady Gaga on the season finale of "American Idol."

Clemons had played the sax since he was a small child. After an injury preventing him from trying out for the Cleveland Browns after playing football at the University of Maryland, he came into his own as a musician.

  • Listening to his brassy sound on Springsteen albums, I'm struck how his passing left me not feeling the empty chill of mortality but instead suffused with a whiskey glow of his music, infused with love, life, passion and a defiant, brazen sound.

  • Anonymous

     Funny, I was never much of an ESB fan, much more punky at that time, but I always liked The Big Guy.

  • SeattleDan

    Thank you, Paddy. RIP big guy.