Musician Clarence Clemons of the E Street Band speaks at the Bridgestone Super Bowl XVLII Half Time Show Press Conference held at the Tampa Convention Center on January 29, 2009 in Tampa, Florida.
So long, Big Man
They didn't call Clarence Clemons "The Big Man" for nothing. While Bruce Springsteen was the E Street front man, Clemons was usually the stage's biggest presence, shredding on the saxophone. Clemons died on Saturday at the age of 69. But the memories he leaves on sports and music are as big as the man himself and the stages on which he played.
The Boss' boss
In music, do compliments get any bigger than Bruce Springsteen bowing to you before a TV audience of millions? That was the scene in Tampa in 2009, when the E Street Band performed one of the most memorable Super Bowl halftime shows in recent memory, warming up the crowd before the Arizona Cardinals and Pittsburgh Steelers provided one of the most thrilling finishes in Super Bowl history.
Saxophone for the gridiron?
Clemons was always close to football. He was injured in a car accident the day before a scheduled tryout with the Cleveland Browns in the 1960s. He missed the tryout, and the former Maryland State College center / defensive end was done with playing. Clemons is seen here performing during halftime of a game between the Tennessee Titans and the host Miami Dolphins in 2010.
When Clemons left the stage, he took the cool with him. Here he brings fellow E-Streeter Patti Scialfa to laughter during the Super Bowl XLIII Halftime Show news conference on January 29, 2009, in Tampa, Fla.
Clemons' impact on the E Street band was so significant, the song 'Tenth Avenue Freeze Out' inlcudes the lyric: "When the change was made uptown/And the Big Man joined the band/From the coastline to the city/All the little pretties raise their hands."
Workin' the mic
Springsteen may be the frontman, but Clemons could handle the mic as well. The oldest and tallest of the original E Street Band, Clemons would often be introduced by The Boss as, "the biggest man you ever seen."
Getting there a different way
Playing at Super Bowl XLIII was in part a dream come true for Clemons, who long before had different visions of the big game. 'I finally made it to the Super Bowl,' Clemons told the Cleveland Plain Dealer earlier this year. 'Maybe if I had made [the Browns], I might have taken them there, I don’t know.'
Holding up his end
Bruce Springsteen, holding the mic, said of Clemons, "His loss is immeasurable and we are honored and thankful to have known him and had the opportunity to stand beside him for nearly forty years. He was my great friend, my partner, and with Clarence at my side, my band and I were able to tell a story far deeper than those simply contained in our music. His life, his memory and his love will live on in that story and in our band."