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Jun. 20th, 2011

Clarence Clemons changed my life.

I was in high school, and I had taken up the saxophone. The thing was I really wasn't raised in a musical household and I didn't know any musicians. The saxophone sounded like an interesting idea (this is kind of the way I run my life), so I went out for band.

But you rarely heard saxophones on the radio (still don't really). But then Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band came out with the "Born in the U.S.A." record. The first single was "Dancing in the Dark." The Big Man comes in on the end, as the Boss dances with a very young Courtney Cox in the video. He came through that horn. No one else sounds like Clarence Clemons. Even when he guests on other people's stuff, such as his recent spots with Lady Gaga, you can tell it's him.

Hearing Clarence play saxophone made me happy. It always does. It inspired me to stick with it, such that I was part of the first jazz band my small high school ever had. Even though I don't play anymore (though I've been thinking of picking it back up), my love of music was furthered by that time. It's why I took up the guitar, because it wasn't enough to be an appreciator and spectator.

I've had the privilege of seeing the E Street Band with the Big Man holding court at least half a dozen times. I can't imagine seeing them without him.

Anyway, I'll leave the introduction to Mr. Springsteen:



And then perhaps the finest saxophone solo in the history of rock n roll (if you're in a hurry - and if so why? - it starts at 4:19):



We'll miss you.

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