Clarence Clemons Biography

Born: 01/11/1942
Birthplace: Norfolk, Va
Died: 06/18/2011 (Palm Beach, Fla)

Clarence Clemons was one of rock music's most well known and beloved sidemen. Since 1972, Clemons played saxophone in Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band. His bold, but melodic saxophone hooks were a perfect match for Springsteen's songs. Clemons' soulful and jovial manner made him the ideal partner for Springsteen's cool, everyman appeal. More than bandmates, the two were close friends, sharing a camaraderie that came through on stage and connected with audiences year after year. Clemons also acted in films, like Martin Scorsese's New York, New York, and on television shows such as Different Strokes. In 1993, he jammed on stage with President Bill Clinton at the inaugural ball. Nicknamed the Big Man, Clemons was 6 feet 4 inches tall, towering over Springsteen on stage. He was also a talented athlete, attending Maryland State College on a football and music scholarship. He was headed to the NFL, trying out for the Cleveland Browns and the Dallas Cowboys, but a car accident resulted in a knee injury that ended his football career. When he wasn't making music with The Boss, Clemons played saxophone on records by Twisted Sister and Aretha Franklin. He sang with Jackson Browne on the Top 20 hit "You're a Friend of Mine" in 1985. Most recently, Clemons played saxophone on Lady Gaga's album "Born This Way," and was featured her video "Edge of Glory." His death was due to complications after a stroke he suffered at his home in Singer Island, Fla.