For the first time ever comes the inside story of Clarence "Big Man" Clemons--his life before, during and beyond the E-Street Band, including unbelievable, never-before-told adventures with Bruce Springsteen, the band, and an incredible cast of other famous characters recounted by himself and his best friend, television writer/ producer Don Reo.
Here are just a few things you'll get from reading it:
The truth behind the final hours of making Born To RunThe real story of how the E-Street Band got its nameWhat happened when Clarence and Ringo Starr were sitting in a hotel room and Clarence got the call that Bruce was breaking up the bandHow Bruce and Clarence met that dark, stormy night at the Student PrinceThe E-Street band's show at Sing-Sing prison where all of their equipment blows out right as they take the stageThe secret that Robert De Niro told Clarence and Bruce they had to keep for 25 yearsBut that's merely a glimpse. This is not your average rock book. It is something creative, something unique, something new. It is the story of E-Street. It is the story of stories. It is the story of the Big Man.
As the saxophonist for the E Street Band, the famed backup band for Bruce Springsteen, Clemons has lived a kind of pop music celebrity that's rare these days, a life spent rising and staying at the top of the album charts and performing before stadiums packed with tens of thousands of people. Along the way, he's mastered the art of telling yarns that are entertaining, whether plausible or dubious. It's a skill acquired during long hours waiting for gigs, traveling to gigs and recovering from gigs (Clemons now suffers from knee, hip and other joint ailments). His storytelling prowess is on display in this memoir, written with friend and producer Reo (My Wife and Kids; 'Til Death). The book is part episodic memoir (printed on white pages) and part bull session ( legends printed on gray pages). The authors trade chapters about how the E Street Band got its name, how Spring-steen and Clemons met and why Big Man decided not to cut his hair, among other things. The intent is to give readers, especially fans, an idea of life behind the music by sharing the stories bandmates told each other. It's a novel approach to memoir that unfortunately skimps on serious insight and Springsteen's music and too often settles on nostalgia and celebrity name-dropping. Fans of Springsteen (who contributes a foreword to the book) will no doubt be more tolerant and eager to savor every page.
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An amusing and genuine account of one of rock's greatest and unique partnerships. A must-read for any E Street fan, but also a story that appeals to anyone who admires and appreciates true friendship and not doing things the conventional way. If Clarence and Bruce teach us anything, it is that any two people, no matter how different they look, act or appear, can become brothers in every sense of the word and overcome and persevere despite all of the prejudices and pressures against that happening. An inspiring account of an inspiring duo who have touched and educated millions about what can be.
Rest in peace, Big Man! You lived your life well, and left us a beautiful memory of it in your songs and your words.
Sparks Fly on E Street
The book is divided up between white pages and the mythical gray pages. These "gray pages" are much like the trumped up stories Bruce told in the early days on stage. I totally get it and they are entertaining. However I admit skimming through those to get to real content. Just like when Springsteen intros 10th Avenue Freezeout, it's entertaining, but sometimes I just want to get to the song.
You won't find anything too scandalous here, but you will learn of the personal relationship between Bruce and Clarence. You will also learn of the intense physical pain of the Big Man's later years. Playing with Springsteen is an apparent pain, literally!! Those physical shows have really taken a toll on the band.
This is a good read and kudos for the authors for taking such a unique approach. Everything here reaffirms my belief that that Springsteen and the E Streeters are the real deal. The ultimate bar band success.
Best friends for life
I could actually hear Clarence telling this story. So much of my own life is within these pages. Best friends, no matter what color their skin or language I find the very best in people. During my most difficult struggles in life Bruce and the E street band have kept me company . The most amazing concert I was blessed to see was in 1980 the River Tour. I can't help but wonder how Bruce will be without Clarence. He would want you to move ahead. He will always be by your side!