Clarence Clemons' Five Best Saxophone Solos with the E Street Band

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Update, 6/19/11: We are unbelievably saddened to say that the Big Man has passed away.

Clarence Clemons, longtime saxophonist in Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, has suffered a stroke. We don't yet know the extent of it, but this is grave news regardless: The Big Man has been suffering from deteriorating health recently. Our most ardent well wishes go to him right now.

And to celebrate Clemons' contributions as arguably the most significant saxophone player in rock and roll history, we present his five best solos.

5. "The Ties That Bind"

Not as balls-to-the-wall as some of these others, but a whale of a thing nonetheless. Spolier alert: Every song on this list comes off of the Boss' upper-echelon, first-ballot-hall-of-fame albums. Coincidence?

4. "Badlands"

Clemons goes toe-to-toe with a Boss guitar solo on this one and at worst comes out even. The way it falls off into the build is just... the sort of thing you can only sound embarrassing describing.

3. "I'm Going Down"

The second-best screamer(s) on this list (you already know...). Seriously: It would take one thousand Kenny G's to win a fight against a single Clarence Clemons. And maybe not even then.


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17 comments
Longmeadow99
Longmeadow99

Great tribute.....Love the solo on "Bobby Jean" it adds so much to that song. Glad I took my daughter to 2 Springsteen concerts, she loved Clarence. And if you saw Springsteen 2 years ago, he was still in his prime!!!!

Dmlawton52
Dmlawton52

His greatest solo is being played elsewhere, on a different plane. His loss is irreplaceable.Saw them in '78 on the "Darkness" tour. They were on fire. Best concert ever. Rest in peace, Big Man.

ken
ken

as  great as  he  played  on earth, heaven  will be that much  sweeter

Redbob
Redbob

Tis a sad day, God Bless the Big Man Thanx fur the memories!

SNLoopz
SNLoopz

RIP, Big Man. Heaven got a big dose of soul today with your passing. But keep on playing from on high, because we'll always be listening. Glad to say, tho we never met, you're a friend of mine.

Cathy
Cathy

Thank you. I am heartbroken along with millions of others and  these videos brought a smile to my face. NIce tribute.

Rconley
Rconley

Don't know how you can do this list without Thunder Road

Scrum
Scrum

I loved his sax solo and appearance in Aretha Franklin's Freeway of Love video.

Iain
Iain

I think Jungleland should have been number one.

pinnert
pinnert

drive all night was his most beautiful

Joe Piechowski
Joe Piechowski

There's only one problem with this list. His best sax solo will be the next one he has when he's feeling better and back onstage with Bruce and the rest of the E Street Band.

Liz Hughes Wiley
Liz Hughes Wiley

Wonderful tribute...thanks for this.  I think the solo on Jungleland has always been incredible and will always move me deeply -- in this case, in part because the video also the late keyboardist, Danny Federici, another incredible member of the band.  Get well soon, Clarence, indeed!!

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