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Springsteen on Clarence Clemons: ‘Too Fucking Big to Die’

Jun 30, 2011

Pride of New Jersey: the Boss pays tribute to the fallen member of the E Street band.

 Springsteen on Clarence Clemons: Too Fucking Big to Die

I admit that it wasn’t until the outpouring of tribute paid to Clarence Clemons upon passing away June 18th that I really got a feel for just how passionately New Jersyans are about Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

Being from Massachusetts, I imagine my only real point of comparison for the pride elicited by E Street is something like we Beantowners feel for the Red Sox. And Springsteen and his crew had been winning constantly, since the early ’70s.

Springsteen delivered the eulogy at Clemons’s funeral service on June 21 in Palm Beach, Florida — and he’s now released the speech on his website. The Boss reveals himself as “weird, insecure” and touchingly relays how Clemons made him feel safe.

His conclusion: Clemons is “too big to die. And that’s just the facts.” Spoken like a true boss. It’s almost enough to make you wish you were from New Jersey. Almost.

Check Springsteen’s site for the full transcript, and see below for an excerpt.

From the first time I saw my pal striding out of the shadows of a half empty bar in Asbury Park, a path opening up before him; here comes my brother, here comes my sax man, my inspiration, my partner, my lifelong friend. Standing next to Clarence was like standing next to the baddest ass on the planet. You were proud, you were strong, you were excited and laughing with what might happen, with what together, you might be able to do. You felt like no matter what the day or the night brought, nothing was going to touch you. Clarence could be fragile but he also emanated power and safety, and in some funny way we became each other’s protectors; I think perhaps I protected “C” from a world where it still wasn’t so easy to be big and black. Racism was ever present and over the years together, we saw it. Clarence’s celebrity and size did not make him immune. I think perhaps “C” protected me from a world where it wasn’t always so easy to be an insecure, weird and skinny white boy either. But, standing together we were badass, on any given night, on our turf, some of the baddest asses on the planet. We were united, we were strong, we were righteous, we were unmovable, we were funny, we were corny as hell and as serious as death itself. And we were coming to your town to shake you and to wake you up. Together, we told an older, richer story about the possibilities of friendship that transcended those I’d written in my songs and in my music. Clarence carried it in his heart. It was a story where the Scooter and the Big Man not only busted the city in half, but we kicked ass and remade the city, shaping it into the kind of place where our friendship would not be such an anomaly. And that… that’s what I’m gonna miss. The chance to renew that vow and double down on that story on a nightly basis, because that is something, that is the thing that we did together… the two of us. Clarence was big, and he made me feel, and think, and love, and dream big. How big was the Big Man? Too fucking big to die. And that’s just the facts. You can put it on his grave stone, you can tattoo it over your heart. Accept it… it’s the New World.

[via Vulture]

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