...for Pop Culture and Other Stuff - I'll spare you the politics for later - no, really.
Saturday, June 18, 2011
"The Big Man Joins the Band"...in the Sky
Best Album Cover - Ever.
Clarence Clemons, saxaphone player extraordinaire, well-known good guy and "Minister of Soul" died today after suffering a stroke barely a week earlier. His sound with the sax was all things joyous, boistrous, soulful, almost lyrical - and one that basically knew no other. He recorded many solo records on his own and just recently played on Lady Gaga's recent release. But, oh yeah, he also played in that guy Bruce Springsteen's band. In fact Clarence may have been the heart and soul of the E-Street Band that has played epic concerts (and recorded even more epic works) with Bruce for over four decades. If you ever can, please watch Bruce's last good concert tour which was really his late return and reunion with the E Street Band in 1999-2000. The New York concert from that tour can be seen often on cable (most notably Paladia) and it will demonstrate to you frankly how every member of that band contributes to the sound, but outside piano player Roy Bittan, Clarence's saxaphone is probably the most iconic sound of all.
And it is lost. Years earlier organ player Danny Federici also died and created a vacancy in the band. It may now be said that the E-Street Band is probably really no more - and that is sad indeed. If you never saw a show in their heyday then you seriously missed a musical iconic event. And a key component to each concert was Bruce's almost gospel-like introduction of bandmembers which almost always ended with a story of how he met Clarence (highlighted in "Tenth Avenue Freeze Out" by the immortal lyric "when the change was made uptown and the Big Man joined the band"). Clarence was every bit of the show as Bruce.