Beliefnet
The Prophet of Pop

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Last week the music world was shocked by the death of one of the legends of classic rock, Clarence “Big Man” Clemons.  What has become clear in the aftermath is that the Big Man was not only an amazing musician and performer, but a great person and friend.  Bruce Springsteen delivered the eulogy at his funeral, and it is incredibly touching.  Leave it to The Boss to capture the life of a person so poignantly.  It is honest, real, and clearly full of love.  Here is the opening, check out the rest at his website:

“I’ve been sitting here listening to everyone talk about Clarence and staring at that photo of the two of us right there.  It’s a picture of Scooter and The Big Man, people who we were sometimes.  As you can see in this particular photo, Clarence is admiring his muscles and I’m pretending to be nonchalant while leaning upon him.  I leaned on Clarence a lot; I made a career out of it in some ways.

Those of us who shared Clarence’s life, shared with him his love and his confusion.   Though “C” mellowed with age, he was always a wild and unpredictable ride.  Today I see his sons Nicky, Chuck, Christopher and Jarod sitting here and I see in them the reflection of a lot of C’s qualities. I see his light, his darkness, his sweetness, his roughness, his gentleness, his anger, his brilliance, his handsomeness, and his goodness.  But, as you boys know your pop was a not a day at the beach.  “C” lived a life where he did what he wanted to do and he let the chips, human and otherwise, fall where they may. Like a lot of us your pop was capable of great magic and also of making quite an amazing mess.  This was just the nature of your daddy and my beautiful friend.  Clarence’s unconditional love, which was very real, came with a lot of conditions.  Your pop was a major project and always a work in progress.   “C” never approached anything linearly, life never proceeded in a straight line. He never went  A… B…. C…. D.  It was always A… J…. C…. Z… Q… I….!  That was the way Clarence lived and made his way through the world.  I know that can lead to a lot of confusion and hurt, but your father also carried a lot of love with him, and I know he loved each of you very very dearly.

It took a village to take care of Clarence Clemons.  Tina, I’m so glad you’re here.  Thank you for taking care of my friend, for loving him.  Victoria, you’ve been a loving, kind and caring wife to Clarence and you made a huge difference in his life at a time when the going was not always easy. To all of “C’s” vast support network, names too numerous to mention, you know who you are and we thank you. Your rewards await you at the pearly gates.  My pal was a tough act but he brought things into your life that were unique and when he turned on that love light, it illuminated your world.  I was lucky enough to stand in that light for almost 40 years, near Clarence’s heart, in the Temple of Soul.”

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