Remembering Springsteen’s Saxman, Clarence Clemons

We’re talking about the great sax man, the great side man Clarence Clemons — the soul of the E Street Band.

What made Bruce Springsteen a mega-star?

You could say it was his working class poetry. His verve. You could say it was Clarence Clemons.

Clemons was The Big Man on saxophone at Springsteen’s side. The joyful sideman whose solos brought on the soul in “Jungleland” and “Born to Run” and “Thunder Road” and on and on.

He was “myth and light” Springsteen said. A star all his own.

Now, he’s dead at 69.

This hour On Point: we’re listening back to Clarence Clemons, the big man.

- Tom Ashbrook


Tim Riley, music critic and assistant professor at Emerson College. He’s editor of the “Riley Rock Index” website. His new book on John Lennon — titled “Lennon” — will be out this fall.

Robert Santelli, blue and rock historian and executive director of the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles. He’s author of “Greetings from E Street: The Story of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band,” and he’s been following Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band since the group’s earliest days in Asbury Park, New Jersey.

T.M. Stevens, bass guitarist. Played with Clarence Clemons’ band Temple of Soul. Currently touring with Bootsy Collins and the Funk Unity Band.


Here’s a playlist of Clemons music.

Here’s Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band performing at Hard Rock Calling 2009 in London:

See Clemons here jamming with the Grateful Dead

Here’s another E Street Band classic. “Badlands.”

“Born To Run.” ‘Nuff said.

Clemons jams with Jackson Browne for “You’re A Friend Of Mine.”

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