Springsteen, Van Zandt salute E Street Band saxophonist Clarence Clemons
E Street Band guitarist Steve Van Zandt will salute his late bandmate, saxophonist Clarence Clemons, on his Sirius XM Radio channel on Friday.
The two-hour special on Little Steven's Underground Garage channel will start at 4 p.m. Pacific time (7 p.m. Eastern) and will cover Clemons' storied career playing alongside Bruce Springsteen in concert and in the recording studio, as well as his outings apart from the E Street Band.
The latter includes his prominent part on Aretha Franklin’s Grammy-winning 1985 hit “Freeway of Love,” his duet the same year with Jackson Browne “You Are a Friend of Mine,” and a collaboration with Mott the Hoople frontman Ian Hunter on “All of the Good Ones Are Taken.”
Van Zandt also plans to incorporate interview segments with Clemons and audio excerpts from movie and TV appearances he made, such as in “New York, New York,” “Diff'rent Strokes” and “The Wire.”
Clemons died at age 69 on June 18, six days after suffering a stroke at his home in Florida. A few days after his death, Springsteen delivered a eulogy at a private service for Clemons, and in it he hinted that the E Street Band will find a way to continue:
My pal was a tough act but he brought things into your life that were unique, and when he turned on that love light, it illuminated your world. I was lucky enough to stand in that light for almost 40 years, near Clarence's heart, in the Temple of Soul....
"C" always knew how to live. Long before Prince was out of his diapers, an air of raunchy mysticism ruled in the Big Man's world. I'd wander in from my dressing room, which contained several fine couches and some athletic lockers, and wonder what I was doing wrong! Somewhere along the way all of this was christened the Temple of Soul; and "C" presided smilingly over its secrets, and its pleasures. Being allowed admittance to the Temple's wonders was a lovely thing. ...
Clarence doesn't leave the E Street Band when he dies. He leaves when we die.
So, I'll miss my friend, his sax, the force of nature his sound was, his glory, his foolishness, his accomplishments, his face, his hands, his humor, his skin, his noise, his confusion, his power, his peace. But his love and his story, the story that he gave me, that he whispered in my ear, that he allowed me to tell ... and that he gave to you ... is gonna carry on. ...
I won't say goodbye to my brother, I'll simply say, see you in the next life, further on up the road, where we will once again pick up that work, and get it done.
The full text of what’s described as “a slightly revised version” of the eulogy has been posted on Springsteen's website.
-- Randy Lewis
Photo: A memorial to Clarence Clemons at the intersection of 10th Avenue and E Street in Belmar, N.J., the day after the E Street Band saxophonist died. Credit: Bill Swenarton