Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Bruce Springsteen says goodbye to Clarence Clemons

Family and friends gathered for a private memorial service in Palm Beach, Florida on Tuesday to say goodbye to Clarence Clemons.

The Palm Beach Daily News reports Bruce Springsteen, playing solo, offered a softened, almost tender version of “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out,” the song that recalls his first meeting with Clemons in an Asbury Park bar on a snowy day.

Bruce then went on to eulogize his late friend – breaking down only once, when describing that first meeting – as a man not only big in stature, but big in heart and spirit.

He said Clemons was hardly the uncomplicated man many thought him to be.

“Clarence was a man of unconditional love, but his love came with a lot of conditions,” he said, drawing chuckles and murmurs of agreement from many in the assemblage. “He was a complex guy … an ongoing project. But when you were in his presence, it was like being in a sovereign nation.”

In addition to the gospel song “Take My Hand Precious Lord” and a thundering version of “How Great Thou Art” by the chapel’s organist, the music included a mournful saxophone solo of “Amazing Grace” performed by Clemons’ nephew.

Held at the Royal Poinciana Chapel, the service ended with a rollicking, upbeat rendition of “You’re a Friend of Mine,” Clemons’ 1985 hit with Jackson Browne, performed by Springsteen, the E Street Band and Browne.

A private reception in the chapel’s fellowship hall followed the service.

The lyrics for Clemons’ “You’re A Friend Of Mine” were included in the memorial program from Clarence’s service; you can check it out here.

Clemons asked Victoria, his fifth wife, to scatter his ashes at a cherished spot in Hawaii and to do so with “all of the special women in his life” – including his previous wives.

Photo credit: Shannon Donnelly/Palm Beach Daily News

Clarence Clemons Clarence Clemons

Clarence Clemons & Jackson Browne – You’re A Friend Of Mine (1988)

See also:

VIDEO: U2 pays tribute to Clarence Clemons in Anaheim
VIDEO: Bon Jovi pays tribute to Clarence Clemons in Denmark
Springsteen sax man Clarence Clemons passes away at 69
Bruce Springsteen issues statement regarding Clarence Clemons
Clarence Clemons recovering from stroke
Bruce Springsteen saxophonist Clarence Clemons suffers stroke
VIDEO: Bruce Springsteen rocks Boston with Dropkick Murphys
Super Bowl Flashback: Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band (2009)