He was the Big Man in Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band and the only member of it to share an album with the Boss. Clarence Clemons, who died yesterday at age 69 from complications after a stroke, left a large mark on the music world.
He continued to innovate up until his death. Most recently he provided saxophone solos for Lady Gaga‘s current album. His solo work is featured prominently in the song “Edge of Glory” and in its music video, which came out late last week. Unlike most of her other songs, Gaga appears alone in the music video except for Clemons (likely a testament to his importance on the track).
Bruce Springsteen said of his friend’s death: “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.”
Clemons’ extended his talents across a number of genres in the music world and worked with artists like Jackson Browne , Aretha Franklin, Gary U.S. Bonds, Jim Carroll and Twisted Sister. Touchingly, a number of Lady Gaga fans sent a “get well” message to the saxophonist last week. Unfortunately, it was not enough. Clarence Clemons will be missed.