R.I.P. Clarence Clemons (1942–2011); watch some vintage E Street Band videos from Philly shows
We’re saddened by the news about the passing of the Big Man, Clarence Clemons, yesterday at the age of 69. Those of us from Philly have had a long-standing love affair with Clarence, his boss (The Boss), and The E Street Band since Springsteen’s early days. WXPN and World Cafe host David Dye was one of Bruce and the band’s most ardent supporters back when David was a DJ on WMMR in the ’70s. Hearing Bruce, Clarence, and the band on WMMR back when Bruce’s debut album Greetings From Asbury Park, NJ was released in 1973 was the first time many of us discovered The Boss. Word spread quickly in Philly about the incredible live performances from this scrawny rock-and-roll kid and his sax player. As history has been passed down, I am sure there are many more people who said they were at some of those legendary shows in 1974-1975 at venues such as The Main Point, Widener College, and the Tower Theatre. Even before Bruce hit both the cover of Time and Newsweek magazines the week of October 27th, 1975, Philly music fans were already hip to the secret of The Boss, The Big Man, and The E Street Band. Rock-and-roll mythology has a way of evoking great memories. I hope I speak for the many who today have a sadness in our hearts over the loss of Clarence. It is our memories of Clarence, with Springsteen and his fellow E Streeters, that brings this moment in time such meaningfulness. That’s what the power of music does.