Clarence «Big Man» Clemons er død. Den eldste og største i E Street Band er ikke mer. Han rakk ikke engang å bli 70 år.

Så hva gjør Springsteen nå? Uansett hvem etterfølgeren blir, blir det for store sko å fylle. Clarence, 1,95 meter høy, 220 kg++ og med gud veit hvor store skonummer, kan ikke erstattes.

Det var et hardt slag for Bruce og bandet da keyboardist Danny Federici forsvant i 2008. Denne gangen…

«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.

Fra Valle Hovin i 2008 (Foto: Herman Berg)

Bruce Springsteen said of Clarence: 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.»
(Kilde: Brucespringsteen.net)

De møtte hverandre i 1971 og har vært legendariske i snart 40 år. Jeg har heldigvis fått med meg saxmannen så ofte E Street Band har vært i nærheten av Norge. Første gang var på Nya Ullevi i Gøteborg på 80-tallet, en konsert jeg fortsatt holder som den beste jeg noensinne har vært på.

Med Clarence Clemons i nærheten kunne Bruce alltid føle seg trygg på at det hele endte i et heidundrandes rock’n’ roll party. Hver eneste gang.

Springsteens klareste markering av Clemons enorme posisjon i bandet finnes i låten «Tenth Avenue Freeze-out». «The Boss» synger: «We made that change uptown and the Big Man joined the band», fulgt opp av Clemons umiskjennelige ul og publikums anerkjennende brøl.

Her fra Hartford i 2009 (publikumsvideo)

Hvordan de to møttes i 1971 har da også blitt en del av rockfolkloren:

«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.» The first song we did was an early version of «Spirit In The Night». Bruce and I looked at each other and didn’t say anything, we just knew. We knew we were the missing links in each other’s lives. He was what I’d been searching for. In one way he was just a scrawny little kid. But he was a visionary. He wanted to follow his dream. So from then on I was part of history.» (Kilde: Wikipedia-Clarence Clemons)

Clarence «Big Man» Clemons er borte.

Vi visste helsa skrantet, men han virket alltid så råsterk og udødelig. Popklikk kan ikke etterlate våre tilhengere uten å inkludere en av rockehistoriens flotteste saksofonsoloer.

Her er «Jungleland», Hyde Park, London – 2009: