Friday, June 24, 2011


Clarence Clemons & Bruce Springsteen
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.

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.

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