June 19th, 2011
While things we’re looking better than the bleak news that had promulgated about Clarence Clemon’s stroke, it saddens me to have to announce the news nobody wanted to hear. Clarence Clemons died on June 18th after suffering a massive stroke, and while there were signs of improvement, the two brain surgeries that he had received were indications that this was something far more serious than even the media sources were stating. Clarence Clemons was 69-years-old.
Mr. Clemons, who died in Florida, was known to many as the “Big Man,” with his rather durable physique and a sound that would place you in a state of euphoria. After playing the saxophone for over four decades with Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band, playing that ever-so prominent role in epic songs such as “Born To Run,” “Thunder Road,” “Dancing In The Dark,” and “Jungleland,” plus so many more, Clemons spread a lot of joy to millions of people, and we thank him from the bottom of our hearts as we continue to miss him and mourn his passing.
The story of how Clarence Clemons met Bruce Springsteen is a popular one if you are a fan, or have been to at least one of the many great shows that have been put on. During the song “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out,” there’s a part of the song that reads:
“When the change was made uptown”
“And the Big Man joined the band”
Clemons had apparently walked in while Springsteen was playing at a bar along the Jersey Shore, when he opened the door causing it to fly off of its hinges as it blew down the street. There was a bad storm, as you would know due to Bruce’s extensive monologue during his live shows, and Clemons stated “I want to play with you.” Bruce, as he stared at this “able-bodied” man said “Sure, you do anything you want.” The rest is all a part of history as Clemons’ playing of the saxophone, according to both Bruce and Clarence, was the missing link.
Along with the prominent role Clemons played in the E-Street Band, he has also had quite an extensive solo career, playing with Jackson Browne on the hit single “You’re a Friend of Mine,” as well as on Aretha Franklin’s 1985 hit “Freeway of Love.” Clemons also collaborated with Lady Gaga on her latest album “Born This Way.”
Clarence Clemons, aside from music, also was an athlete and an actor. As a youth, Clemons played football at Maryland State College on, both a music and football scholarship, as a lineman. His talents on the field spurred interest from the Cleveland Browns, who offered him a trial run. Due to a car accident, that tale was short-lived, but as we now know it, we were blessed with something a lot more. His beautiful music. Clemons also acted, making his debut in Martin Scorsese’s 1977 musical, “New York, New York,” where he played a trumpet player. He was also a guest-featured voice on the popular show “The Simpsons.”
Clarence Clemons surely graced all of our presence on this earth with beautiful music, but his legacy isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. The music lives in all of us who listened to the sheer power Clemons presented to us on stage, as well as on the many albums he’s been featured on. While he is no longer with us on this planet, there’s a whole other world that’s enjoying his talents, as we will continue doing ourselves forever.
RIP Clarence Clemons. Born January 11th, 1942. Died June 18th, 2011 at the age of 69.
On Sunday, June 12th, millions of fans worried contemporaneously as the news reached their computer screens about the “Big Man” Clarence Clemons’ stroke, myself included. In congruent vivacity, we all prayed for the E-Street Band saxophonist as report after report would come in; some stating he was paralyzed on the left side of his body; with some stating he was in serious condition. I can tell you that there were many that didn’t sleep that night as many received the news right after midnight.
It appears that the web-site showbiz411.com reported the news first, with entertainment journalist Roger Friedman writing that “the beloved saxophonist, known as the Big Man, had suffered a stroke at his Florida home, and is “seriously ill.”
Clemons hasn’t had it easy with his health. The “Big Man” walks with a cane, moves slowly, and has had numerous surgeries on both he knees and spine.
During Springsteen & the E-Street Band’s last tour, their “Working On A Dream” tour, it was evident that Clarence Clemons was hurting. If you had been to any of the shows during the extensive 84-city tour, you would have noticed a stool placed in Clarence’s place that allowed him to sit through the show. Approaching the age of 70, Clemons is a fighter.
Clemons is an integral part of the E-Street Band, and fans will say that as well… Bruce usually pays homage to his legendary sax-player by introducing Clarence last as “the biggest man you’ve ever seen!” Some of the songs that wouldn’t be the songs they are that feature Clarence on the sax include “Born To Run,” “Badlands,” and the epic “Jungleland.”
Along with his important presence as a member of the E-Street Band, Clemons collaborated with Lady Gaga on the song “Hair,” “The Edge of Glory,” and “Highway Unicorn (Road To Love)” from her album Born This Way. The finale of American Idol featured Clemons on the sax as Gaga performed.
To find out more about the “Big Man,” please visit his Wikipedia page, which will provide you his biography among other facts about Clemons.
June 15th, 2011
Current updates (as of Wednesday, June 15th, 2011) on the “Big Man’s” stroke show Clarence to be responsive as a source affiliated with the Springsteen fan-site Backstreets specified that “his (Clemons) vital signs are improving. He’s responsive. His eyes are welling up when we’re talking to him He was paralyzed on his left side, but now he’s squeezing with his left hand.”
Definitely much-better news as things sounded quite bleak only a few days ago, but Clemons is not out of the water yet. It still hasn’t been noted what type of stroke he suffered, as the only indication on the severity of it points to Clemons reportedly undergoing two brain surgeries.
Bruce wasted no time after finding out about Clemons’ stroke by sending a message to fans, posting it on his official website, brucespringsteen.net.
“By now, many of you have heard that our beloved comrade and sax player Clarence Clemons has suffered a serious stroke. While all initial signs are encouraging, Clarence will need much care and support to achieve his potential once again. He has his wonderfully supportive wife, Victoria, excellent doctors and health care professionals, and is surrounded by friends and family.
I thank you all for your prayers and positive energy and concern. This is a time for us all to share in a hopeful spirit that can ultimately inspire Clarence to greater heights.”
– Bruce Springsteen
Lady Gaga also took action as she sent love Clemons’ way by asking her “little monsters” to create get-well videos, and that is exactly what they did! Check out the awesome video below!