Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Garry J. Wise Headshot

Remembering Clarence

Posted: Updated:

Saturday brought the sad news of the passing of legendary sax man, Clarence Clemens.

The Big Man, Bruce Springsteen's sidekick and onstage foil for nearly 40 years, passed away Saturday after complications from a stroke suffered last Sunday.

For those of us who came of age, motoring from town to town to catch Bruce and the E-Street Band whenever they were within driving distance, it's the end of an era -- and another one of those life passages we'd have preferred not to have encountered quite so soon.

It would be hard to explain quite what it meant to be a Springsteen devotee in the early 80s or the impact his music had on the consciousness of an entire generation. (Let's just say that pretty much all I remember about my articling year (1984-85) is masters' motions, a couple of fantastic mentors, and about a dozen Springsteen concerts).

And while Clarence Clemens was never the star of the show, something about him made Bruce bigger and the arena smaller -- small enough, I recall, to make you feel like you were truly a part of the extended E-Street family.

They were, perhaps, our glory days.

From the moment he began his searing solo in "Jungleland," the audience's fists pumping to the drama and the beat, the room belonged to Clarence. He'd cast a saxophone spell through the brief flashes of his spotlight until he stepped back, and you were reminded it was really Bruce's show, not his. And you could tell... that was just the way he liked it.

Clarence, truly a big man, will be missed by many.

He left a whole lot of love behind.

This post originally appeared on Wise Law Blog

Around the Web

Clarence Clemons

Saxophonist Clarence Clemons Dead at 69 - Amplifier

Clarence Clemons, E Street Band Saxophonist, Dies at 69 -

Clarence Clemons' condition still serious; Doctors say first hours ...

Clarence Clemons (Clarence Clemons ) on Myspace

Clarence Clemons Reportedly Showing Signs of Recovery | Rolling ...

Clarence Clemons dies of complications from stroke |

E Street Band's Clarence Clemons Undergoes Brain Surgeries ...

U2 salute to E Street Band's Clarence Clemons in Anaheim

Clarence Clemons: the Master Accompanist as Virtuoso

Phish: Father's Day, A Clarence Clemons Tribute and "Harpua"

Fans Remember Clarence Clemons; Unknown Caravaggio Painting Discovered in Britain


The devil's horn always plays the best tunes

Morning Links: Amy Winehouse Booed Off Stage, Lady Gaga Strikes Up Friendship ...

[VIDEO] UPDATED: U2 Dedicate Songs To Representative Giffords And Maria Shriver

With An Especially Emotional Jungleland, Clarence Clemons Bids Adieu

Envision, Tom Cunnigham Pay Tribute To Clarence Clemons