Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Remembering - Clarence Clemons

This weekend Clarence Clemons passed away due to complications from a stroke he'd suffered earlier in the month.  He was 69 years old.

Best known for being a member of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, but he had a solo career and even did some acting.

Today on Fish & Spaghetti we examine his impact.

We at F&S got our first taste of Clarence Clemons in the 1980's when Bruce Springsteen was in heavy rotation on MTV.  In fact it was probably the video for Dancing in the Dark.

Now for some people that video is memorable for launching the career of Courtney Cox.  Others cringe at The Boss' snug jeans, acting and choreography.  But for us it's the video with The Big Man clapping and smiling.

And by all accounts that was quintessential Big Man.

Clarence Clemons resonated with us for a couple reasons.  He was one of the few Black faces that appeared in the videos that MTV regularly showed.  He also impacted us because he played an actual instrument that wasn't a guitar or keytar.

Clarence Clemons had a solo hit with Jackson Browne and did some acting.  He showed up on a couple episodes of one of our favorite shows, The Wire.

A couple months back when Liz Lemon was facing an existential crisis on 30 Rock she encountered people whose jobs no longer existed, such as a a Travel Agent and a Detroit Auto worker.  The capper, which seems a bit prescient in hindsight, was a guy who "blew dynamite sax solos in rock tunes."

It was a funny bit and true.  But given the passing of Clarence Clemons it's a sadly poignant statement on the decline of popular music.  There was a time when rock tunes did have sax solos and for us the epitome of that was Clarence Clemons.

And that's why the passing of Clarence Clemons marks the end of an era.  They literally don't make music like that any more.

He will be missed.

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