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Big Man

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The inside story of Mr Clarence 'Big Man' Clemons, his life before, during, and beyond the E-Street Band, including unbelievable, never-before-told adventures with Bruce Springsteen.

About the Author

Clarence Clemons was the legendary saxophonist in Bruce Springsteen's E Street band. Don Reo is a writer/producer of many award-winning television shows. He lives in California.


As the saxophonist for the E Street Band, the famed backup band for Bruce Springsteen, Clemons has lived a kind of pop music celebrity that's rare these days, a life spent rising and staying at the top of the album charts and performing before stadiums packed with tens of thousands of people. Along the way, he's mastered the art of telling yarns that are entertaining, whether plausible or dubious. It's a skill acquired during long hours waiting for gigs, traveling to gigs and recovering from gigs (Clemons now suffers from knee, hip and other joint ailments). His storytelling prowess is on display in this memoir, written with friend and producer Reo (My Wife and Kids; 'Til Death). The book is part episodic memoir (printed on white pages) and part bull session ("legends" printed on gray pages). The authors trade chapters about how the E Street Band got its name, how Spring-steen and Clemons met and why Big Man decided not to cut his hair, among other things. The intent is to give readers, especially fans, an idea of life behind the music by sharing the stories bandmates told each other. It's a novel approach to memoir that unfortunately skimps on serious insight and Springsteen's music and too often settles on nostalgia and celebrity name-dropping. Fans of Springsteen (who contributes a foreword to the book) will no doubt be more tolerant and eager to savor every page. (Oct. 21) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

Clemons, the saxophonist in Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band for the last 35 years, and his friend Reo offer something distinctive in the rock autobiographical canon. In a series of first-person vignettes and set pieces that don't always follow a strict chronology, Clemons writes about his close personal and musical relationship with Springsteen, what music means to him, touring around the world, and his more recent struggle with chronic pain. Interspersed are digressive third-person chapters comprising humorous observations and embellishments (e.g., playing pool with Fidel Castro and meeting Norman Mailer). Verdict This is the first memoir from an E Street Band member, and its approach distinguishes it in the Springsteen scholarship. Clemons's larger-than-life persona and love of storytelling shine. Essential reading for Springsteen fans. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/09.]-Jim Collins, Morristown-Morris Twp. Lib., NJ Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

You want to be him but you cannot. Because in all the world, there is but one Clarence 'Big Man' Clemons - Bruce SpringsteenClemons rattles off his anecdotes with equal parts charm, humour and a palpable love of the life he's been afforded - Q

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