76 Jahre – Happy Birthday Big Man Clarence Clemons

Heute vor 76 Jahren – am 11. Januar 1942 – erblickte Clarence “The Big Man” Clemons in Norfolk, VA das Licht der Welt.

Beeinflusst durch King Curtis und Gato Barbieri, erlernte er schon in jungen Jahren das Saxophonspielen. Clarence traf Bruce Springsteen erstmals am 4. September 1971, als er mit “The Joyful Noyze” in Asbury Park, NJ gastierte.

Clarence Clemons sagte in einem Interview:

One night we were playing in Asbury Park. I’d heard The Bruce Springsteen Band was nearby at a club called The Student Prince and on a break between sets I walked over there. On-stage, Bruce used to tell different versions of this story but I’m a Baptist, remember, so this is the truth. A rainy, windy night it was, and when I opened the door the whole thing flew off its hinges and blew away down the street. The band were on-stage, but staring at me framed in the doorway. And maybe that did make Bruce a little nervous because I just said, “I want to play with your band,” and he said, “Sure, you do anything you want.”

Ab dem Frühjahr 1972 war Clarence Clemons festes Mitglied der E Street Band. Ferner spielte er mit “Rescue” (1983), “Hero” (1986), “A Night with Mr. C” (1989), “Peacemaker” (1995) vier Soloalben und mit “Live In Asbury Park Vol. I” (2002) und “Live In Asbury Park Vol. II” (2004) zwei Livealben ein.


Clarence Cleoms – “Rescue” & “Hero”

Abseits der E Street Band betätigte sich Clarence Clemons auch als Gastmusiker, Schauspieler und Schriftsteller. Unter anderem landete er 1985 mit Jackson Browne den Hit “You’re A Friend Of Mine”. Darüber hinaus arbeitete er mit Aretha Franklin, Aja Kim, Peter Maffay, Grateful Dead, Gary US Bonds, Twisted Sister, Gloria Estefan, The Four Tops, Zucchero, Scarlet Rivera, Lisa Stansfield, Joe Cocker, Roy Orbison, Luther Vandross, Joan Armatrading, Jude Johnstone und vielen anderen Künstlern zusammen.

Kurz vor seinem Tod beteiligte er sich ausserdem an Lady Gagas Studiowerk “Born This Way”. Clarence Clemons Saxophonspiel ist auf dem Song “The Edge of Glory” zu hören.

Neben der Musik zählte auch der Film zu Clarence Clemons Steckenpferden. Er wirkte neben Robert De Niro und Liza Minelli in der 1977er Martin Scorsese Produktion “New York, New York” mit. Darüber hinaus ist er in “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” (1989), “Fatal Instinct” (1993), “Blues Brothers 2000” (1998) und “Swing” (2000) zu sehen.


Big Man – Mein Abenteuerliches Leben

2009 veröffentlichte Clarence Clemons seine Memoiren.
Unter dem Titel “Big Man – Real Life & Tall Tales” (deutscher Titel: Big Man – Mein abenteuerliches Leben) erschien im Verlagshaus “Hachette Book Group / Grand Central Publishing” ein 366 Seiten umfassendes Werk mit vielen Geschichten Rund um Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band.

Der E Street Band Saxophonist erlitt am 12. Juni 2011 einen schweren Schlaganfall. Die “Associated Press” bestätigte Tags darauf, dass der “Big Man” mit Lähmungserscheinungen in ein Krankenhaus in Palm Beach, FL eingeliefert werden musste. Sechs Tage später erlag der Künstler seiner schweren Krankheit. Sein Tod trat gegen 19.00 Uhr ein.

Bruce Springsteens Nachruf vom 18. Juni 2011:

It is with overwhelming sadness that we inform our friends and fans that at 7:00 tonight, Saturday, June 18, our beloved friend and bandmate, Clarence Clemons passed away. The cause was complications from his stroke of last Sunday, June 12th. Clarence lived a wonderful life. He carried within him a love of people that made them love him. He created a wondrous and extended family. He loved the saxophone, loved our fans and gave everything he had every night he stepped on stage. His loss is immeasurable and we are honored and thankful to have known him and had the opportunity to stand beside him for nearly forty years. He was my great friend, my partner, and with Clarence at my side, my band and I were able to tell a story far deeper than those simply contained in our music. His life, his memory, and his love will live on in that story and in our band.

Am 21. Juni 2011 fand in der “Royal Poinciana Chapel” in West Palm Beach, FL eine Trauerfeier für Clarence Clemons statt. Anwesend waren 150 enge Freunde – darunter auch die Mitglieder der E Street Band, Jackson Browne, Clarence Clemons Ehefrau Victoria, Miami Heat Präsident Pat Riley sowie Clarence Neffe Jake.

Nach der Messe, die von Reverend Robert Norris und Clarence Clemons Bruder gelesen wurde, hielt Bruce Springsteen eine Rede und spielte den Song “10th Avenue Freeze Out”. Clarence Clemons Asche wurde gemäss seines letzten Willens an einem geliebten Ort auf Hawaii verstreut.


Bruce Springsteen – Wrecking Ball (2012)

Bruce Springsteen brachte im März 2012 sein siebzehntes Studioalbum “Wrecking Ball” in den Handel. Beim Titelsong und bei “Land of Hope and Dreams” ist Clarence Clemons Saxophonspiel zu hören. Ausserdem findet man im Booklet folgenden Nachruf:

… standing together we were badass, on any given night, on our turf, some of the baddest asses on the planet. We were united, we were strong, we were righteous, we were unmovable, we were funny, we were corny as hell and as serious as death itself. And we were coming to your town to shake you and to wake you up. Together, we told an older, richer story about the possibilities of friendship that transcended those I’d written in my songs and in my music. Clarence carried it in his heart. It was a story where the Scooter and the Big Man not only busted the city in half, but we kicked ass and remadethe city, shaping it into the kind of place where our friendship would not be such an anomaly.

… I’ll miss my friend, his sax, and the force of nature that was his sound. But this love and his story — the story that he gave to me, that he whispered in my ear, and that he gave to you — is going to carry on.
Clarence was big and he made me feel, think, love, and dream big. How big was the Big Man? Too fucking big to die. you can put it on his gravestone, you can tattoo it over your heart.

Clarence doesn’t leave the E Street Band when he dies. He leaves when we die.

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