Clarence Clemons Dies at 69: Sax Defined Bruce’s Sound
Clarence Clemons, saxophonist for Bruce Springsteen and his E-Street Band, died Saturday in Florida after having a stroke a week ago. I must admit, I’m not at all a fan of Bruce Springsteen’s music, but there was always something undeniably cool about Clarence Clemons. Besides Bruce’s distinctive vocals, Clemons’ saxophone helped define Bruce’s classic 70s sound. The thing about Bruce Springsteen is he doesn’t write songs, he writes anthems. Whether you buy into them or not is another matter.
In my opinion what really elevated Bruce’s 70s songs to anthemic status, were two key components that no one else in rock music seems to use so prominently and in tandem: saxophone, and xylophone. You could arguably call Bruce Springsteen the phoniest mainstream rock artist and you wouldn’t be far from the truth. All born to pun’s aside, Clarence Clemons’ death is really a significant loss for Rock music, and I hope he will be remembered as the coolest part of the E-Street Band.
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