Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Clarence Clemons and Jackson Browne - "You're a Friend of Mine"

You're a Friend of Mine - Hero

(Debuted October 26, 1985, Peaked #18. 18 Weeks on the Chart)

The music world was saddened last year when it was announced that Clarence Clemons passed away after suffering a stroke. While "The Big Man" was best remembered as Bruce Springsteen's right-hand man in the E Street Band, he was also a solo artist who fronted his own band called the Red Bank Rockers. One solo project came to him after he contributed the memorable saxophone part to Aretha Franklin's hit "Freeway of Love." Called Hero, the album contained a duet with Jackson Browne (and his then-girlfriend Darryl Hannah in an uncredited role) called "You're a Friend of Mine." It was produced by Franklin's producer Narada Michael Walden (who is shown in the video playing drums), who also co-wrote the song.

The song was a Top 20 hit, probably due in part to Springsteen's popularity (he was still charting singles from the Born in the U.S.A. album at the time). However, it had its own charm upon the first few listens. Unfortunately, that charm wore thin on repeated airings and the song began sounding a lot like much of the other material that was being played around it. The song boasts a great saxophone -- as it should -- but it gets dragged down by the rest of the material.

Today, hearing that line "you can count on me until the day you die" is a sobering reminder that the Big Man is now gone. He's still missed.

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