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Transcript of "Clarence Clemons"
by Amanda Dalquist
"Tall as John Henry and twice as strong"
this means that he is a big man with both size and personality, like the Tall Tale figure John Henry
I chose this song because as a big fan of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, I am also a big fan of the Big Man - Clarence Clemons. When he died in 2011, I wanted to write a song that honored his legacy and what an influence he was on both me as well as rock and roll.
Generalized Meaning of Song
Explicit and Implicit Meaning
Questioning for Meaning
"In a worn out Jungleland"
this means that Jungleland, which is a reference to Asbury Park, is tired and fatigued and falling apart
"The earth shook when he stomped the floor"
Clarence was a mover shaker in society and had a huge impact on rock and roll
Level 1: Who was Clarence Clemons?
Level 2: Explain the meaning of the repeating line: "Clarence Clemons, he ruled the world..."
Level 3: Evaluate the effect that the life and death of Clarence Clemons had on the rock and roll world.
"So he hopped onto that turnpike
In a suicide machine"
(Symbolism: represents a motorcycle, freedom)
They dueled it out in the Backstreets
Rode Stone Ponies in the rain (
I: looks like a duel in an alley in the rain, but with musical instruments instead of weapons, S:riding stone ponies which represents playing at The Stone Pony - a local bar and music club that Bruce and Clarence played at)
"And Clarence Clemons,
He ruled the world
With the saxophone in his veins."
Explicit: there are saxophones in this veins
Implicit: The saxophone was a powerful instrument that drove his life
"He lived his life as an enigma
He lived his life in light"
Explicit: He lived his life as a rare person and in the light,
Implicit: He was a special, rare individual who lived his life in a way to brighten others through his music
I think the artist is overall trying to say that Clarence Clemons was an amazing and influential musician who will be missed in his death. When they say "Clarence Clemons said, "To be a man, you gotta follow all your dreams," this means that he was inspiring people to create better lives for themselves by living his own dream of playing rock and roll, even after his initial dream of football was taken from him. When they say "He lived his life as an enigma, he lived his life in light", they mean that he was a rare individual playing a saxophone in a white rock and roll band, especially considering that the Civil Rights Movement had only just happened a decade earlier. Finally, the line "Clarence Clemons, he ruled the world and his saxophone made it right" refers to the fact that he was a leader in his field and his music will continue to make many people feel good about themselves because of his music and his life.