Tuesday, August 27, 2013

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Clarence Clemons

Artist:Clarence Clemons f/Jackson Browne
Song:You're A Friend Of Mine
Album:Greatest Hits of the 80's

Of course Clarence Clemons Jr. is best known and beloved as the long time sax player for Bruce Springsteen. But he recorded a few solo albums in the 80s and You're A Friend Of Mine was a top 20 hit in 1985. It was his only hit single. He was born Jan. 11, 1942 in Chesapeake, VA. His father owned a fish market. His grandfather was a preacher so Clemons listened to gospel music as a child. His father gave him an alto sax for Christmas. Clemons switched to tenor sax after listening to his uncle's King Curtis records. Clemons attended Maryland State University on music and football scholarships. A potential NFL career ended when he was seriously injured in a car crash. So he turned to music. Clemons worked as a counselor at the Jamesburg Training School for Boys in Newark, NJ while playing in bands at night. Of course his big break came in 1972 when Bruce Springsteen invited Clemons to jam with his band at a club in Asbury Park. And the rest is history. They knew each other but had never played together. Clemons said it was instant magic. Clemons' fame led him to play sessions and guest solos on records. He opened a club in Red Bank, NJ in the early 80s and formed The Red Bank Rockers. The album Rescue was released in 1983. Springsteen produced it with veteran session musician Ralph Shuckett. Clemons wasn't the lead singer. That was John Bowen. That album was unsuccessful. Clemons met producer Narada Michael Walden when Clemons played sax on the 1985 Aretha Franklin hit Freeway Of Love which Walden wrote and produced. Walden produced the 1985 album Hero and wrote and produced You're A Friend Of Mine. It reached #18 on the Billboard Hot 100. The video helped as it featured Jackson Browne and his then girlfriend Daryl Hannah who was a big movie star at the time. Clemons released one more album in 1989. But the Springsteen band was always his priority. A solo career was always going to take a back seat. Rescue and Hero are available on CD as a twofer from Collectables. But for those who just want You're A Friend Of Mine, I suggest this 3CD various artists budget comp from Sony. Clemons recorded a few solo CDs with his band Temple Of Soul. But mostly he worked with Springsteen until his death from a stroke on June 16, 2011 at age 69. Here's the video for You're A Friend of mine featuring Jackson Browne with appearances by Daryl Hannah and Narada Michael Walden on drums.

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