"I want you to think about the beautiful symphonic sound that came out of one man's saxophone.
I want you to think about Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band of Brothers.
I want you to think of Clarence Clemons.
This man just carried music and music carried him until this day."--Bono, last night in Anaheim.
Clarence Clemons. Photo by Danny Clinch,
© 2011 BruceSpringsteen.Net
I sort of lost track of Bruce when he broke up the E Street Band although I always liked the 'old' stuff and especially his solo albums Nebraska and The Ghost of Tom Joad. For my money, "Highway Patrolman" is the best song he ever wrote.
I saw the rejuvenated, reunited E Street Band live, once, on The Rising tour in Ottawa, ON (in 2003) and I've always loved the way he tells stories through complex imagery and lyrics--much like the post I wrote last week about lieder and its ultimate influence on rock and roll. The Rising was also a very "healing" record for me. I'm a native New Yorker and the whole record is about the tragedy and after-effects of the events of Sept. 11, 2001.
That said, this isn't usually a blog about Springsteen (or this great sax player.) But we'll end with something opera-related, the lyrics from the second verse of classic Bruce track "Jungleland."
"The midnight gangs assembled, and picked a rendezvous for the night,
They'll meet `neath that giant EXXON sign that brings this fair city light,
Man there's an opera out on the Turnpike,
There's a ballet being fought out in the alley,
Until the local cops, cherry tops, rips this holy night.
The street's alive, as secret debts are paid,
Contacts made, they vanished unseen.
Kids flash guitars just like switch-blades, hustling for the record machine,
The hungry and the hunted explode into rock 'n' roll bands,
That face off against each other out in the street,
down in Jungleland."
And here's the song, complete with Clarence's magnificent sax solo. Enjoy, and we'll get back to classical music tomorrow.