Let the broken hearted love again
On June 18 one of the shining sounds of this world went silent when saxophonist and E Street Band member Clarence ‘Big Man’ Clemons died.
With his passing came the end of something that was a massive part of my life – and the lives of many, many fans the world over. Many people reading this won’t get it – but that’s okay. Springsteen fans are used to it. Either you get it or you don’t – and if you don’t get it, there’s no point me trying to explain it. Like I say – it’s okay, you don’t have to get it.
I heard my first Springsteen song when I was 12. Sherry Darlin’ is hardly the most profound song in the songbook, but it’s fun and it was a great introduction for me, even if for the next couple of weeks, until I heard Hungry Heart and Fade Away I thought this Bruce Springsteen fella must play the sax…..I was 12, what can I say? If Sherry Darlin’ caught my attention, Fade Away turned my world upside down- and I became a lifetime member of the E-Street Nation.
Oddly enough the day I first heard Sherry Darlin I was reading my first Stephen King book – yes at 12, yes precocious – and I’ve been hooked on both men ever since. They both painted pictures in my head, made me feel things just with their words (and while I was way too young yet for half of what Springsteen’s music was going to make me feel over time, what I did feel was real). I was too young to really understand most of what I was reading and listening to, but I was old enough to understand that I wanted to do what they did: I wanted to use words to paint pictures for people.
One of the things I loved about Bruce’s music was that it didn’t seem to conform to anybody else’s ideas of what music should or shouldn’t be. One minute it was fun, the next it was sad, then it was inspiring, then it was profound. There were guitars and drums and accordions and organs. And a saxophone.
The music stood alone but the saxophone made it something – not better, just something more. Maybe it was the relationship the two men actually had that was what made it so special, I don’t know.
When I decided I wanted to be a writer, one of the top things I wanted to do was interview Springsteen and his band and write about them. I wanted to be able to thank them in person, in some way, for all the pleasure their music has brought me over the years, the friends I have made because of their music- and also for all the times Bruce and his heart stopping, pants dropping, groundshaking, Viagra taking E.STREET.BAND held my heart and my hand – through good times, bad times, dark times – even though they didn’t know it.
I wish could return the favour, and I pray they know that millions of people the world over feel the same way and that it brings them a little comfort to know they are so loved.
Suddenly I feel as though the show has got to the encore, they’re preparing to bring the curtain down and I’m not ready. I’ve not got my interview, I’ve not written my article. Worst of all, I’ve not said thank you.
Whenever I feel down, I listen to Bruce - it’s a 32 year habit I’m hardly likely to kick. Usually it breaks through my funk and helps me figure out what to do next. It makes me feel better. It’s taking a bit longer this time though.
Clarence Clemons is gone. Sherry Darlin’ will never be the same again. Things I should care about or even worry about – like my missing Kobo e-reader, deadlines, and that pile of overdue bills in the corner – just don’t seem to matter. Other things that are of no importance, suddenly seem to fill my vision. Like where the spinning wheel in my writing room should go. I’m not even sure why I have the spinning wheel in here, other than it reminds me of my mother and when I look at it, I feel …comforted.
And today, comforted is good.