At 69 years old, Clarence Clemons has this physical status:
Clarence Anicholas Clemons Jr. (January 11, 1942 – June 18, 2011), also known as The Big Man, was an American singer and actor.
He appeared on Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band from 1972 to 2011. Many solo albums have been released by Clemons.
"You're a Friend of Mine" was a hit single for him in 1985, a duet with Jackson Browne.
He appeared on Aretha Franklin's "Freeway of Love" as a guest artist.
Clemons appeared in numerous films, including New York, New York, and Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure.
He has appeared in several television shows, including Diff'rent Strokes, Nash Bridges, The Simpsons, My Wife, and Kids, as well as The Wire.
Big Man: Real Life & Tall Tales (2009), a semi-fictional autobiography written in the third person by himself and his buddy Don Reo, Clemons. On June 12, 2011, Clemons suffered a stroke and died of complications six days later at the age of 69.
He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014 as a member of the E Street Band.
Clarence Anicholas Clemons Jr. was born in Norfolk County, Virginia, on January 11, 1942 (later the city of Chesapeake) and his uncle, Clarence Clemons, Sr. and his wife Thelma. He was the oldest of their three children. His grandfather was a Southern Baptist minister, and as a result, the young Clemons grew up in a strict Christian environment devoted to gospel music. His father gave him an alto saxophone as a Christmas gift and paid for music lessons when he was nine years old. He later switched to baritone saxophone and appeared in a high school jazz band. When his uncle bought him his first King Curtis album, he also influenced his early musical growth. Curtis, as well as his time with the Coasters in particular, would have a major effect on Clemons and culminated in his switch to tenor saxophones.
Clemons demonstrated promise as a youth and graduated from Crestwood High School (now Crestwood Middle) before enrolling in Maryland State College on both music and football scholarships. He starred as a lineman on the same team as Art Shell and Emerson Boozer, and caught the Cleveland Browns' interest, gaining the Cleveland Browns' attention. He was 6' 4" and 240 pounds. The Dallas Cowboys also tried to play for the Clemons. However, he was involved in a big car accident on the day before that ended any hopes of a career in the National Football League. On February 24, 2012, he would be inducted into the university's Athletics Hall of Fame.
Clemons had one of his early studio experiences, recording sessions with Tyrone Ashley's Funky Music Machine, a band from Plainfield, New Jersey, that included Ray Davis, Eddie Hazel, and Billy Bass Nelson, all of whom later performed with Parliament-Funkadelic. Daniel Petraitis, a New Jersey and Nashville legend, appeared with him. Let Me Be Your Man was eventually released by Truth and Soul Records as Let Me Be Your Man in 2007. While at Maryland State College, Clemons formed the Vibratones, James Brown's cover band, and the Vibratones, which performed James Brown covers and stayed together for nearly four years between 1961 and 1965. While still playing with this band, he moved to Somerset, New Jersey, where he worked as a mentor for emotionally troubled children at the Jamesburg Training School for Boys from 1962 to 1970.
Four sons were born in Clemons: Charles, Christopher, Jarod, and Clarence III (also known as Nick). After Clemons' death, Jake Clemons was introduced as the newest saxophone player of the E Street Band in 2012. Dick Moroso's decades of friendship with the motorsports legend paved the way for his transfer to Florida, where he worked with various charitable groups. Clemons was attributed to Sri Chinmoy, a mystical guru.
The tale of how Clemons first met Bruce Springsteen has entered the E Street Band mythology. In "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out," "The E Street Shuffle" includes a monologue about how they met, and the event was also immortalized. They reportedly met in September 1971 for the first time in history. At the time, Clemons was hanging out with Norman Seldin & the Joyful Noyze at The Wonder Bar in Asbury Park, New Jersey, USA. Seldin, a Jersey Shore musician/entrepreneur who, in addition to playing piano and leading various bands, had his own record label, Selsom Records. Clemons had released an eponymous album with the band in 1969. Asbury Park — Then and Now, Seldin's collection of tracks from this album, was reissued on an anthology. It was Karen Cassidy, the lead singer with the Joyful Noyze, who urged Clemons to avoid Springsteen while playing with the Bruce Springsteen Band at the nearby Student Prince. In several interviews, Clemons recalled their meeting:
However, Clemons and Springsteen had been in the same musical circle long before this meeting. Norman Seldin had managed and promoted several local bands, including The Motifs, who featured Vinnie Roslin, and then went on to play with Springsteen in Steel Mill. Seldin had also organized a Battle of the Bands competition at the Matawan-Keyport Roller Drome in Matawan, New Jersey, on April 22, 1966. Springsteen was one of the first performers to perform with his then band, The Castiles. Billy Ryan, who played lead guitar with The Joyful Noyze, also appeared in The Jaywalkers with Garry Tallent and Steve Van Zandt. In Little Melvin & The Invaders, Clemons himself had appeared with Tallent.
Springsteen's debut album Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J., was released in July 1972, and he jammed with Clemons and The Joyful Noyze on at least two occasions at The Shipbottom Lounge in Point Pleasant, New Jersey, during breaks from recording. "Blinded by the Sun" and "Spirit in the Night" were among Springsteen's songs that he used a tenor saxophone, he named Clemons. By October Springsteen was ready to tour and promote Greetings, and he assembled a band featuring Clemons, Tallent, Danny Federici, and Vini Lopez. On October 21, 1972, Clemons appeared with Norman Seldin & The Joyful Noyze at the Club Plaza in Bayville, New Jersey. At The Shipbottom Lounge, Clemons made his debut with the nimbular E Street Band for the first time.
Clemons appeared on Springsteen's albums throughout the 1970s and 1980s. On Born to Run, he performed memorable saxophone solos on the title track, "Thunder Road," "She's the One," "Night," and "Jungleland." On "Badlands" and "The Promised Land," Clemons' "Badlands" and "The Promised Land" were two of Clemons' solos. On songs such as "The Ties That Bind," "Sherry Darling," "I Want A Marry You," "Drive All Night," and "Independence Day," the River saw Clemons on display, while Born in the United States saw solos on "Bobby Jean" and "I'm Goin' Down."
Springsteen and other members of the band referred to Clemons as "The Big Guy." Springsteen introduced Clemons as "The Biggest Man You Ever Seen" at the end of shows, while acknowledging members of the E Street Band. He often changed this depending on where the E Street Band appears — he introduced Clemons as "the biggest Scot you've ever seen" during their 2009 Glasgow concert.
The E Street Band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April 2014. The widow of Clemons was able to assist him on his behalf.
Clemons performed with several other musicians and had a number of musical projects on his own outside of his involvement with the E Street Band. His 1985 vocal duet with Jackson Browne on the Top-20 hit single "You're a Friend of Mine") and his 1985 Top-10 hit single "Freeway of Love" are two of Aretha Franklin's most well-known hits. Peter Knobler, a former Crawdaddy editor, was in charge of Clemons' wedding Clemons, Clarence Clemons & the Red Bank Rockers, who performed briefly in the 1980s. During the 1980s, Clemons owned a Red Bank, New Jersey, nightclub called Big Man's West. In 1989, he appeared on "You're a Friend of Mine" (dueting with Billy Preston) and an updated rap version of "Quarter to Three."
He began working with Jerry Garcia in the late 1980s and appeared in a number of concerts with the Grateful Dead, including notable appearances during their New Year's Eve performance in 1988, an anti-body party in May 1989, and a live pay-per-view broadcast of their summer solstice concert on June 21, 1989. During Clemons' tour, the Jerry Garcia Band performed on tour. As 'GarciaLive 13' in 2020, one of these shows from September 16, 1989, was officially released in 2020.
Aja and the Big Man "Get It On" with Los Angeles singer/songwriter Aja Kim in the mid-1990s, he released a Japan-only CD release. Alvin Lee's 1992 appearance in the album Zoom sessions. Alan Niven, a producer of Peacemaker, also recorded an instrumental album at this time.
Clemons and producer Narada Michael Walden formed The Temple of Soul in the 2000s, releasing a single named "Anna." Creation, a philanthropic youth group, was also recorded. Clemons worked with Lady Gaga on "Hair" and "The Edge of Glory" from her album Born This Way, including a saxophone track and solo. During a concert in Boca Raton, Florida, Clemons sat in on many tunes with the Grateful Dead's "spinoff" band Furthur. He shot a music video with Lady Gaga for "The Edge of Glory" just days before he suffered a big stroke.
Clemons made his screen debut in Martin Scorsese's 1977 musical film New York, New York, in which he appeared as a trumpeter, in which he appeared in several films and on television. In Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, he appeared in the 1989 comedy film 'Three Most Important People In The World.' Clemons appeared in "So You Want to Be a Rock Star" in 1985, in which he appeared as Mr. Kingsley, a young saxophonist assisting Arnold Jackson in learning how to play his sax. In a 1999 episode of The Simpsons, he appeared as a guest voice.
He appeared in the pilot episode of Human Target, a Rick Springfield action film intended for ABC in 1990. He appeared in Swing, opposite Lisa Stansfield and Hugo Speer, directed by Nick Mead. In one episode of musician "Weird Al" Yankovic's children's television show The Weird Al Show, he appeared alongside Michael McKean and David Bowe as a miner. He made a cameo appearance in the sequel to The Blues Brothers, Blues Brothers 2000 (1999), as part of the super blues band The Louisiana Gator Boys' metal section. He appeared in "Michael's Band" on Damon Wayans' television show "My Wife and Kids as a musician, and performed "One Shadow In The Sun," co-written with bassist Lynn Woolever.
In the HBO crime drama The Wire, Clemons appeared twice as a Baltimore youth-program organizer. He appeared in an episode of Brothers and in the "Eddie's Book" episode of 'Til Death as himself.