Bruce Springsteen delivered an emotional eulogy for saxophonist Clarence Clemons on Tuesday, June 21. Around 150 friends and family members gathered at the Royal Poinciana Chapel in Palm Beach, Florida to remember the late E Street Band member in a memorial service, and The Boss moved them to tears with his send-off.
The Palm Beach Daily News reported that the 61-year-old rocker played solo to a "softened" version of "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out" before delivering his eulogy for The Big Man. It was said that he broke down once when he described his first meeting with his friend of nearly 40 years in an Asbury Park bar on a snowy day.
Bruce remembered the 69-year-old musician as "a man not only big in stature, but in heart and spirit". He also said, "Clarence was a man of unconditional love, but his love came with a lot of conditions. He was a complex guy ... an ongoing project. But when you were in his presence, it was like being in a sovereign nation."
During the service, Clarence's fifth wife, Victoria, told those who were invited to the funeral that the musician has asked her to scatter his ashes at a cherished spot in Hawaii with "all of the special women in his life", including his previous wives. The service was attended by three of his four ex-wives, in addition to Jackson Browne as well as current and former members of the E Street Band.
The service, which was started a bit late because of a last-minute rehearsal for the performers, ended on an upbeat note. Bruce joined forces with the E Street Band and Jackson to perform a "rollicking" rendition of Clarence's 1985 hit with Jackson, "You're a Friend of Mine".
Clarence died on Saturday, June 18 of complications from a stroke he suffered a week earlier. The saxophonist, who contributed to Lady GaGa's new songs "The Edge of Glory" and "Hair", showed a slight improvement during his hospitalization, but his health has since declined.