‘You’re a Friend of Mine,’ Clarence Clemons with Billy Preston

Clarence Clemons sings with Ringo Starr's All-Starr Band in 1989.

Clarence Clemons sings with Ringo Starr’s All-Starr Band in 1989.

Between Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band’s Tunnel of Love Express Tour in 1988 and their reunion tour, 11 years later, one of the things Clarence Clemons did was tour with the first edition of Ringo Starr’s All-Starr Band, in 1989. And one of the songs he sang — as a duet with Billy Preston — was “You’re a Friend of Mine,” the upbeat pop song that he and Jackson Browne made into a Top 20 hit in 1985.

The song, in fact, represents the biggest chart success that any E Streeter has had outside the group. And judging by the clip below, in which Clemons strolls into the audience during his solo, near the end, it was a real show-stopper on the tour. (He never sang it at an E Street Band concert).

The Big Man, who was born on Jan. 11, 1942, died in 2011.

I think most rock fans would agree that Starr’s first All-Starr Band was the best. Joining Starr, Clemons and Preston in the lineup were E Street guitarist Nils Lofgren, plus Joe Walsh, Levon Helm, Rick Danko, Dr. John and Jim Keltner. You can catch at least a glimpse of most of them in the clip.

New Jersey celebrated its 350th birthday from Sept. 2014 to Sept. 2015. And in the 350 Jersey Songs series, we marked the occasion by posting 350 songs — one a day, for almost a year — that have something to do with the state, its musical history, or both. The complete list is here.


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