In the wake of E Street Band soul man Clarence Clemons’ death Saturday (June 18), of complications from a stroke suffered just one week ago, fans are remembering the legendary saxophonist by revisiting his contributions to music, from his solo work to his nearly four-decade run as Bruce Springsteen’s bandmate.
Clemons’ history on the Billboard charts dates back to 1975, when Bruce Springsteen’s anthemic “Born to Run” hit No. 23 on the Hot 100. Most recently, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer added his trademark stylistic flair to Lady Gaga’s current single, “The Edge of Glory,” and “Hair,” also from Gaga’s Billboard 200-topping album, “Born This Way.”
With “The Edge of Glory” peaking at No. 3 so far on the Billboard Hot 100, the song is the highest-charting title to sport a Clemons sax solo since Aretha Franklin‘s “Freeway of Love” also sped to No. 3 in 1985. Clemons also appears in “The Edge of Glory” video, which premiered just two days ago and features him wailing on his sax alongside Gaga.
Here’s a look at five of the Big Man’s biggest Billboard hits, including his 1986 vocal turn with Jackson Browne (as well as an uncredited Daryl Hannah, Browne’s then-girlfriend).
“Born to Run,” Bruce Springsteen
No. 23, Hot 100, 1975
“Dancing in the Dark,” Bruce Springsteen
No. 2, Hot 100 / No. 1 (six weeks), Mainstream Rock, 1984
“Freeway of Love,” Aretha Franklin
No. 3, Hot 100 / No. 1 (five weeks), R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, 1985
“You’re a Friend of Mine,” Clarence Clemons & Jackson Browne
No. 18, Hot 100, 1986
“Secret Garden,” Bruce Springsteen
No. 19, Hot 100 / No. 5, Adult Contemporary, 1997