As a longtime fan of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, I was quite saddened to hear of the recent death of Clarence Clemons, the saxophonist of the band. He was an integral part of it since the 1970's.
As Timothy Egan noted in his New York Times tribute, it really was inspirational to see Clemons and Springsteen together onstage as well as on the awe-inspiring 1975 album cover of Born to Run. They demonstrated that the racial integration could succeed in rock music.
Clemons, who was born on January 11, 1942, grew up in a religious household which was imbued with gospel music. He played alto sax and later switched to tenor after hearing the Coasters' 1958 hit Yakety Yak.
After attending from Maryland State College on a football and music scholarship, he worked as a youth counselor in Newark, N. J. and played gigs with the Jersey Shore musicians. He branched out through the years and had a 1985 Top 20 hit, You're a Friend of Mine with Jackson Browne. He graced other albums that featured Aretha Franklin, Twisted Sister and even Lady Gaga.
Here he is playing the Jungleland solo with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on March 17, 2008: