Clarence Clemons

Clarence Clemons

Tenor Sax icon Tenor Sax

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June 18, 2011 (Age 69) died

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January 11, 1942 Birthday

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Norfolk County, Virginia, U.S. Birthplace

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Clarence Clemons was a saxophonist and vocalist best known for his work with Bruce Springsteen's back up group, The E Street Band. Clemons was featured prominently on Bruce Springsteen's breakout hit album, "Born To Run" and on subsequent albums. He recorded and toured with Springsteen and the band from 1973 through 1989. More than just a back up musician, Clemons became a crowd favorite for his outsized personality on stage. Clemons also released several albums of his own and had a Top 20 hit with "You're a Friend of Mine," a duet with Jackson Browne in 1985. He also performed with Aretha Franklin, Ringo Starr. In 1999 Springsteen called the E Street Band back for a reunion tour and Clemons would remain with the group until his death following a stroke in 2011 at the age of 69.


Clarence Clemons published his autobiography, "Big Man: Real Life & Tall Tales" in 2009. Clarence Clemons attracted the attention of the Cleveland Browns and Dallas Cowboys football teams in college but a serious car accident cut his football career short. Clarence Clemons one of the 'Three Most Important People In The World' in the 1989 film "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure."

Early Life

Clarence Clemons was born in Norfolk, Virginia in 1942. He was the eldest of 3 children and grew up singing in the church choir. He began playing the alto saxophone at age 9, played the baritone sax in high school but ultimately settled on the tenor sax. Clemons was also a gifted athlete and earned both a football and music scholarship to Maryland State University where he majored in sociology. While in college he joined the band The Vibratones and after graduation he continued to playing with them while taking a day job as a counselor for troubled children. After leaving the Vibratones in 1965 Clemons continued playing gigs in New Jersey clubs at night while working days until 1971 when he sat in with Bruce Springsteen. Soon after Clemons quit his day job and joined Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.