BREAKING: The Ancestors Welcome Clarence Clemons, 69, of The E Street Band

This is Clarence Clemons two years ago in Stockholm with The E Street Band, doing Jungleland.

Just got a heads-up that he had made his transition.

Bruce and Big Man kiss during one of their enumerable concerts (Courtesy: AP)

I am very sorry.  I know thousands upon thousands of fans of his are sorry, too.   The E Street Band, especially Bruce Springsteen, must be reeling.  From what I understand, there was some real man love between Clemons and Springsteen, love that comes from loving the music, loyalty through hard times and good times, and understanding.  This is not to say that they didn’t have their disagreements, or that either one didn’t get on their high horse. But this kind of male bonding and mutual love and respect, that was unabashedly on display at every show and on every tour, I think, comes seldom between black and white men, beyond during warfare and on the gridiron, because there, men are doing battle. But on the stage? Full on the lips kisses and hugs, and in photos, leaning against each other? Just amazing and wonderful to me.

This also is one of his last public performances, playing the Star Spangled Banner for the Florida Marlins in his adopted home state.  The one getting a lot of play is the one he did for the Miami Heat, but he’s facing away from the camera in that one.  And it is also evident that he was given a chair to sit on at that occasion and he only stood to do his solo.

He was what I think had been missing from rock and roll for decades (yes, I do know about the work of The Black Rock Coalition, but…).   Clarence Clemons was a black rocker.  A black rocker like those rock and roll gods of the early Fifties who had gotten their feet wet from jazz, and who decided to go one way while the be-boppers went another.  From the L.A. Times:

Saxophonist Clarence Clemons has died, a spokeswoman for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band confirmed Saturday. He was 69 years old.

Clemons died of complications from a massive stroke he suffered last Sunday at his home in Florida.

Last week his family had set up an email address for anyone wishing to send get-well messages, and Springsteen posted his first message to fans about Clemons’ condition, describing the stroke as “serious.”

Clemons recently played on Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” album. He is also prominently featured in the video for her single, “The Edge of Glory.”

He is survived by his wife, Victoria, and four sons. No word yet on any services.

According to Wikipedia, Clemons was married five times in producing those four sons.  Their names are Clarence III, Charles, Christopher and Jarod.  He was also blind in one eye.  His main influence, according to the New York Times, appears to have been the late King Curtis who, like Clemons, also worked with the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin.

Have I ever seen Bruce and the E Street Band before?  Yes, during that Amnesty International world tour celebrating the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the 1980s that they made with Sting, Peter Gabriel, Tracy Chapman, and a number of other singers and musicians.   I knew I wasn’t such a great fan of stadium concerts, but I held my own there.  I was quite close and was amazed at how small Springsteen actually is.  I wasn’t surprised at the Big Man’s bigness, though.  He was 6’4″ and about 250 lbs, impressive in his own man in black outfit. And he blew.  At the time, I wasn’t necessarily as impressed with The Boss musically as I was with Clarence; that may happen in its own time.  I go for Springsteen’s efforts on behalf of and exalting working people.

Our prayers must lift Clarence Clemons higher, as well as that of his family and friends who are grieving his loss deeply at this moment.  Thank you, Clarence.  Come back to us again.

~ by blksista on June 18, 2011.

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