Virginia native Clarence Clemons, the saxophone soul of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, died Saturday at age 69. He was born and raised in the Tidewater area. Both before and after Clemons hooked up with Springsteen on the Jersey Shore in 1971, Springsteen had some of his earliest success in the Richmond area.
“This was a town we made our living in for a long time,” Springsteen said at a Richmond show in 2003. “Back then there was only this place and one other place... thank God we had two places! This town kept us going, and you don’t forget that.” He summoned Virginians Robbin Thompson and Bruce Hornsby to the stage that night, and at a show in 1999 at the MCI Center, Hornsby and NoVa favorite Mary Chapin Carpenter joined the band.
An excellent obituary of Clarence Clemons by The Post’s Terence McArdle is here. And the definitive Clemons story, by the Springsteen site Backstreets.com, is here. From the churches to the jails, tonight all is silent in the world, Springsteen sang before Clemons’ epic solo in ”Jungleland.”
- from the Wash. Post.
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Here's an image of Bruce Springsteen and members of the E. Street Band at a sound check at the VCU Franklin St. Gym, February 14, 1973. Springsteen and his band opened for for Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks.
By the time Springsteen and the E Street Band played this 1973 show, the New Jersey rocker had played nearly 30 shows in Richmond with at least four of them at VCU.
From left to right are Clarence Clemons, Danny Federici on keyboards, Springsteen, Vini Lopez on drums, and Garry Tallent. Image was taken by Jeff Crossan, a student then at U of R. For more information about that particular show at VCU, visit BruceBase HERE.
"Clarence lived a wonderful life. He carried within him alove of people that made them love him. He created a wondrous and extended family. He loved the saxophone, loved our fans and gave everything he had every night he stepped on stage. His loss is immeasurable and we are honored and thankful to have known him and had the opportunity to stand beside him for nearly forty years. He was my great friend, my partner and with Clarence at my side, my band and I were able to tell a story far deeper than those simply contained in our music. His life, his memory, and his love will live on in that story and in our band."
- Ray B.