Bruce Springsteen's Eulogy for Clarence Clemons

Categories: Obituaries
born to run.jpg
​It took a week to make it onto the web, but you can finally read Bruce Springsteen's eulogy for saxophonist Clarence Clemons in which he called Clemons "the man with a Ph.D. in saxual healing ... the next black president of the United States even though he's dead."

Clemons died June 18 from stroke complications. His funeral was held in Palm Beach June 21 and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie ordered flags lowered to half-staff the following Thursday.

Springsteen posted his words from Clemons's funeral to brucespringsteen.net, as he did in 2008 when he eulogized late E Street organist Danny Federici as "the only member of the E Street Band to be physically thrown out of the Stone Pony."

The funeral featured performances from the E Street Band, Jackson Browne, and a solo performance from Springsteen of "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out," the popular Born to Run song that mentions Clemons joining the band.

We've compiled the highlights from Springsteen's eulogy:

"From the early days when Clarence and I traveled together, we'd pull up to the evening's lodgings and within minutes 'C' would transform his room into a world of his own. Out came the colored scarves to be draped over the lamps, the scented candles, the incense, the patchouli oil, the herbs, the music, the day would be banished, entertainment would come and go, and Clarence the Shaman would reign and work his magic, night after night.

"Clarence's ability to enjoy Clarence was incredible. By 69, he'd had a good run, because he'd already lived about 10 lives, 690 years in the life of an average man. Every night, in every place, the magic came flying out of C's suitcase... A visit there was like a trip to a sovereign nation that had just struck huge oil reserves...

"As a young child my son Sam became enchanted with the Big Man... Clarence was a towering fairy tale figure, out of some very exotic storybook ... a dreadlocked giant, with great hands and a deep mellifluous voice... In Sammy's eyes, 'C' must have appeared as all of the African continent, shot through with American cool, rolled into one welcoming and loving figure... Sammy decided to pass on my work shirts and became fascinated by Clarence's suits and his royal robes. He declined a seat in dad's van and opted for "C's" stretch limousine, sitting by his side on the slow cruise to the show...

"Of course, also enchanted was Sam's dad, from the first time I saw my pal striding out of the shadows of a half empty bar in Asbury Park, a path opening up before him; here comes my brother, here comes my sax man, my inspiration, my partner, my lifelong friend.

"Standing next to Clarence was like standing next to the baddest ass on the planet. You were proud, you were strong, you were excited and laughing with what might happen, with what together, you might be able to do. You felt like no matter what the day or the night brought, nothing was going to touch you...

"Clarence was big, and he made me feel, and think, and love, and dream big. How big was the Big Man? Too fucking big to die. And that's just the facts. You can put it on his grave stone, you can tattoo it over your heart...

"Clarence doesn't leave the E Street Band when he dies. He leaves when we die."


Read Bruce Springsteen's full eulogy for Clarence Clemons at brucespringsteen.net.
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