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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Clarence Clemons and the greatest pose in rock history

The death of Clarence Clemons means that nothing can ever be quite the same any more in the world of the E Street Band. He wasn't the most original saxophonist but his playing was integral to their sound. He wasn't the most animated live performer but Springsteen gave him the starring role in the band's inner drama.

I still can't get over the fact that when it came time to shoot some pictures for Springsteen's third album "Born To Run", he just turned up at the studio of Eric Meola with Clarence. Not on his own, not with the whole band, just with Clarence. He knew what would make not just a great shot but a defining shot. Whenever you saw him live after that there would always be a moment or two when they would snap into that pose. It could be that photo session was the most important day's work he did with the band.

It's a common misconception about big rock stars that they leave all the image mongering to somebody else, that they're only interested in the music and that they're above manipulating the people around them. Not so.