Monday, June 20, 2011

The Boss, The Big Man, the music, my life

So far, so good. I haven't "lost any friends" on Facebook.

If you're "friends" with me on Facebook (the Bryan guy, not The Brew Lounge page), you've likely seen me reeling off the first 16 of 30 "top" Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band songs/videos linked from YouTube.

I rarely venture here into my personal life in areas where beer doesn't intersect, but the news of Clarence, The Big Man, Clemons' death this past weekend has me in a sharing mode as I've been thrown into a whirlwind trip down memory lane.

Being a product of the Northeast region of the country, I became a huge fan of Springsteen's music and lyrics as a pre-teen nearly 30 years ago. My brother-in-law, one of the most important men in my life in those years, was a major factor in the introduction. His drum wailing on Paradise by the "C" with the recorded version on in the background is one memory, amongst many, that I'll never lose.

Obviously, I was just a bit young to have experienced him and the band in its early years at places like the Stone Pony, The Point, Tower Theater, and NYC clubs as people I know just a few years older than I did in the 70s and early 80s.

Nonetheless, their music is indigenous to and resonates more in the Northeast than anywhere else. Not to say the music can't be appreciated and loved by people around the country and world. It's the first-hand experience of life along the northeast and mid-Atlantic seaboard that cannot be captured anywhere else.

That, on the other hand, is what can make the band's music downright repulsive to others. I realize, and respect, that.

When they say the 'show goes on', it's so difficult at this point to see the stage, typically anchored by Clemons, missing his large presence on tambourine, saxophone, and supporting vocals. The band has so many identifiable and strong characters, yet given his long and special relationship with Springsteen it becomes nearly impossible to see future concerts without him. At least we have the music.

As I've posted up these videos beginning yesterday morning after the news of Clarence Clemons' death broke, I wondered if there would be any hate mail or unfriending activity on Facebook because of the perceived annoyance of posting 30 video links to Springsteen's music.

For the sake of sharing with those of you not on Facebook, or not inclined to wander over there (and it being a semi-closed network, in a sense), here's a rundown of the video links that I'm posting up over there, due to conclude by Wednesday.

Grab a beer, enjoy a trip down memory lane, and raise a toast to The Big Man. And, if you feel like sharing a few of your favorites as well, please do.

#30 If I Should Fall Behind (watch for The Big Man at 2:45, beautiful)
#29 You're Missing (The Big Man in a supporting role)
#28 My City of Ruins (not necessarily a focus on Clemons but what he was a part of with the Band)
#27 My Hometown
#26 Brilliant Disguise
#25 She's the One (love the red suit)
#24 Kitty's Back (an absolutely great, great song with fun pictures, too, that many are probably not familiar with)
#23 Atlantic City
#22 Reason to Believe
#21 Glory Days (wow, more than 25 years old. how young everyone looks!)
#20 No Surrender (still a favorite after all these years. saw this fun version in person back in '04 up in north Jersey)
#19 Prove it All Night (provin' it all night at 5:27)
#18 Streets of Philadelphia
#17 Spirit in the Night (killin' it at 3:57)
#16 Johnny 99
#15 Out in the Street (The Boss lets The Big Man out in the street at 2:25)
#14 Cadillac Ranch (One of the first songs to get me hooked on Springsteen and the E Street Band in the early '80s. Clarence opens up his engine and lets it roar beginning at 1:31)
#13 Backstreets
#12 4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy) (Clemons gets all patriotic on the 4th of July around 4:20)
#11 The River
#10 Darkness on the Edge of Town
#09 Racing the Street (racing across the pond, around 3:22 and again later, a wonderful rendition)
#08 Thundercrack (this song, if you've never heard it, is as big as The Big Man, who takes over around 3:43)
#07 Rosalita (Clarence jumps a little higher starting after 1:05)
#06 Jungleland (Undeniable sax after 3:03)
#05 Paradise by the "C" (Not sure why I don't call this #1, I LOVE this song. This is at least 50% Big Man. My brother-in-law used to play along on drums. Clemons does is thing around 0:40)
#04 Born to Run (Simply an E Street Band celebration; catch the Big Man at 2:12)
#03 Badlands (Clemons wanders into the Badlands at 3:05)
#02 Thunder Road (The Big Man really starts to take it home Thunder Road around 4:05. If you didn't get goose bumps in any of the previous 28 songs, this should do it.)
#01 Tenth Avenue Freeze Out (If #5 was 50% Clemons, this is near 100%. Vintage awesomeness from the cornerstone of the houserocking, pants dropping, brain-shocking, earthquaking, booty-shaking, Viagra-taking, lovemaking, sexifying, electrifying, women shrieking, grown men crying, legendary E Street Band.)

We will resume our beer talk tomorrow. Until then, RIP Clarence Clemons, and thanks for the music!

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