Hartman Group As rock 'n' roll's preeminent purist, it makes perfect sense…
- Posted on Jun 18th 2011 8:48PM by Benjy Eisen
Larry Marano, Getty Images
The news was first confirmed by a spokesperson for Springsteen and then through Springsteen himself, via his official website. "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," said Springsteen. "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." (Read the full statement here.)
While the E Street Band made a virtual brand-name out of each of the group's musicians for their respective instrument, Clemons was an obvious go-to for Springsteen, who affectionately referred to him as "Big Man" from the stage, especially when calling out for one of Clemons' jubilant sax solos, which punctuated Springsteen's blue-collar rock 'n' roll in a way that nothing else could.
News of Clemons' stroke rippled throughout the music community last Sunday, and as support began to pour in, an email account was even set up so that fans could direct their outpouring of support directly to the Big Man himself. On Tuesday (June 14), Springsteen issued a statement updating fans as to Clemons' progress. While describing the stroke as "serious," the Boss went on to say, "While all initial signs are encouraging, Clarence will need much care and support to achieve his potential once again." Towards the end of the week, however, his condition reportedly began to deteriorate, following two emergency brain surgeries.
The partnership between Springsteen and Clemons has been well documented. While their camaraderie and sense of brotherhood was apparent to anybody who ever watched Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band perform live, the bond was so deep that on the group's defining 'Born to Run' album, Springsteen is famously depicted on the front cover leaning on someone. The back cover reveals that someone to be Clemons.
Clemons had a career outside of the E Street Band too, occasionally appearing in television shows ('Diff'rent Strokes'), movies ('Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure') and touring in Ringo Starr's All-Star Band among others.
You're going to be impossible to replace and impossible to forget, Big Man.