The 69-year-old Clemons, a four-decade member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band and the go-to sax man for countless other artists, had been particularly active lately, appearing on two singles—“Hair” and “The Edge of Glory”—on Gaga’s Born This Way, and performing with the pop star at the recent American Idol finale.
“Little monsters, my very close friend +musician on The Edge of Glory, Clarence Clemons is very sick,” the singer tweeted earlier today. “Can we all make some get well videos?” Of course, Clemons’ collaborations with Gaga are just the latest chapter in the storied career of the artist who has also worked with Aretha Franklin, Roy Orbison, Jackson Browne, and, yes, a certain Boss man, to name but a very few.
The Norfolk, Virginia-born Clemons first worked with Springsteen on his 1972 album, Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J., and as a member of the E Street Band, played a crucial role in crafting subsequent Springsteen collections such as The River, Darkness on the Edge of Town, and Born to Run, whose epic title track provided an unforgettable showcase for the saxophonist’s titanic playing. Clemons’ larger-than-life onstage persona helped establish Springsteen and the E Street Band’s reputation as one of the great live acts of all time.
In addition to his work with Springsteen, Clemons has appeared on an extraordinary array of albums by other artists, including Joan Armatrading’s Me Myself I, Joe Cocker’s Unchain My Heart, Twisted Sister’s Come Out and Play, Roy Orbison’s King of Hearts, and Aretha Franklin’s Who’s Zoomin’ Who? Clemons has released a string of solo albums and has also appeared in numerous films and TV shows, including Nash Bridges, The Wire, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, and the Martin Scorsese-directed New York, New York. In 2009, he published an autobiography, Big Man: Real Life & Tall Tales.
We here at the Music Mix wish Clarence a speedy recovery. You can check out a clip of the Big Man performing “Born to Run,” below.
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