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E Street's Clarence Clemons: "This Is the Best the Band's Ever Been"

September 21, 2009 6:26 PM ET

Last week, Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band saxophonist Clarence Clemons stopped by our offices and answered questions directly from our Twitter followers. (Ironically, Clemons dropped by while we were in the midst of trying to get tickets for Springsteen's Madison Square Garden show!) This time around, we got "The Big Man" to talk about his new book Big Man, life on the road ("Every night is a new night, I love these long tours"), the band's ever-changing set lists and how a car running over his foot won't make him miss soundcheck.

Clemons also recounts that legendary rainy day in Asbury Park, New Jersey, when he first encountered a young Springsteen and asked if he could play along with him. "Halfway through that first song, I knew, right then, I envisioned me sitting here with you right now," Clemons tells RS. For more from the Big Man, check out our video above.

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

More Song Stories entries »
 
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