goodbye, Bigman


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If you’ve ever heard the Springsteen song “Jungleland”, you’re already a fan of Clarence Clemons – he’s the force behind the magical saxophone interlude.  He’s also the guy who makes the “Rosalita” jump a little lighter, he’s the guy who makes “Meeting Across the River” operatic.

He suffered a stroke last week and the news came today that he passed away.  Until I read this, from another one of my very favorite people in rock and roll:

Eddie Vedder’s show tonight in Hartford….”Ed received the news onstage; he was in the middle of a story/dedication wishing Clarence a speedy recovery when one of his crew approached, leaned towards his ear and put a hand on his shoulder. Ed dropped his head for a long pause, welled up and delivered one hell of a version, replete with some improvised lyrics in the last verse:

I love him/I don’t want him to go out this way/I need him/I want him to come back today

The song ended with a string of ‘I can’t find a better man’ with one ‘I can’t find a bigger man’ thrown in.”  (credit Pete Ferraro)

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never heard it ’til now


So I am cruising along in the Jetta, listening to E Street Radio (Sirius channel 10, 24-7 Bruce Springsteen) and i notice on the display that the current song is a live performance from the Boston Music Hall from 3/25/1977, so HELL YES i am gonna turn it up. Well, he and the band were in the middle of Rosalita, doing that signature intro to all the band members, and i am having so much fun listening to vintage live Bruce, and singing along until he did the cutest thing. Well, he did the cutest thing in ’77, but you’re still with me, right? OK OK OK: So you know that verse in Rosalita that goes:

But now you’re sad, your mama’s mad 
And your papa says he knows that I don’t have any money (papa says he knows that i don’t have any money, papa says he knows i don’t have any moooneeeey)
Well tell him this is last chance! To get his daughter in a fine romaaaaance 
Cuz a record company, Rosie, just gave me a big advance!

well, here is how he sang it in Boston on March 25, 1977:

But now you’re sad, your mama’s mad 
And your papa says he knows that I don’t have any money (papa says he knows that i don’t have any money, papa says he knows i don’t have any moooneeeey)
Well tell him this is last chance! To tell him this guy’s no creep!
Cuz I just got my picture, Rosie, on the cover of Time and Newsweek! 

Oh it was just so precious. I had never heard it until now, and now suddenly became our late 70’s East Brunswick kitchen with BOTH of those magazines covers on our formica table in the mail stack. Damn.

bruce time-1