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Jack Tribute: Clarence Clemons, E Street Band Saxophonist

Vince Bucci, Getty Images

Six days after suffering a massive stroke, saxophone legend and longtime E Street Band member Clarence Clemons has died at the age of 69.

Despite initial reports that Clemons was responding well to treatment – and despite a pair of brain surgeries to repair the damage wrought by the stroke – his condition worsened as the week wore on, and he died on Saturday, June 18.

Though Clemons was best known for his tenure in Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, and his saxophone was an unmistakable part of many classic Springsteen songs, he had a successful career as an artist in his own right, releasing eight albums under various solo guises and scoring a Top 20 hit with his 1985 Jackson Browne duet, ‘You’re a Friend of Mine.’

Clemons also stayed busy as a guest performer on other artists’ albums, building an impressive list of cameo credits that included Aretha Franklin’s ‘Freeway of Love’ and two tracks on Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way.’ In addition, he appeared in a number of television series and films, including ‘Diff’rent Strokes’ and ‘Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.’

Since reuniting with Springsteen and the E Street Band in 1999, Clemons maintained a busy touring and recording schedule despite a litany of health issues, including knee, back and hip problems. It is unknown whether the next Springsteen album, reportedly due in early 2012, will include any of Clemons’ work.

Jack loves all the work he did with Bruce Springsteen, but one of our guilty pleasure songs from Clarence Clemons was “Your a Friend of Mine from the mid-80’s which featured Jackson Browne and Darryl Hannah. We also featured “Dancing in the Dark and some of his latest work with Lady Gaga. You’ll be missed big man, you were the greatest sax player of the rock era.

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[Rolling Stone]

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