Great Rock Albums of 1986: Clarence Clemons- Hero


In spite of my adamant stance of being a metalhead in 1986, there were still a few non-metal albums which caught my attention in the right way. One of these albums was the solo album, “Hero,” from Bruce Springsteen’s famous saxophonist, Clarence Clemons. Here’s my controversial statement for the week: While Bruce deserves all the honours he has received for more than the past four decades, his E Street Band hasn’t gotten so much of the honour they deserve for making him sound so great for so long. Of course, everyone who knows Bruce knows Clarence and what he could do with the sax. That alone made me want to check out this album.


Let me dispel one myth some people had about Clarence’s solo album. That myth was that it would be nothing but saxophone instrumentals. True, there is one such song, “Liberation Fire,” and it proved that a saxophone could make an 80s synth pop song sound good, but the big man does sing on all the other tracks and he has a good voice. On the second track, “Temptation,” he combines his vocal and saxophone talents very well.

“Hero” did produce a couple of singles for the top forty crowd. MTV gave “Your a Friend of Mine” quite a lot of airplay back in the day. What made this song single-worthy was that Jackson Browne produced it and sings on it as does film star Daryl Hannah. Actually, her vocals are pretty good. “I Wanna Be Your Hero” was also released as a single. This tune sounds a little more like Bruce Springsteen although, I’m convinced that Clarence wanted to make his own sound with this album. Although the start of the song eerily reminds me of “Mickey” by Toni Basil.

The remainder of the tracks follow the 1980s pop/rock formula. No song more so than “It’s Alright With Me Girl.” Not a bad song but it could be called ‘dated’ these days. Although Clarence does his magic with the sax making it a little better than the average pop song. However, being my contradictory self, the cover of the Walker Brothers hit, “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore” is performed well by Clarence and his band. I’d like to know which lady accompanies him on the vocals. The jazzy blues sounding “Cross the Line” is also another great combination of Clarence’s sax playing and vocals and “Kissin’ On You” has a great funky vibe. I think Clarence has a lot of fun on this one.

Track Listing:

  1. You’re a Friend of Mine
  2. Temptation
  3. It’s Alright With Me Girl
  4. Liberation Fire
  5. The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore
  6. I Wanna Be Your Hero
  7. Cross the Line
  8. Kissin’ On You
  9. Christina


Clarence Clemons

Clarence Clemons- vocals, saxophone, percussion

Jackson Browne, Daryl Hannah- vocals on “You’re a Friend of Mine”

Kitty Beethoven- vocals

Princess Loria- vocals

Jennifer Hall- vocals

Liz Jackson- vocals

Sundari- vocals

Brenda Joy Nelson- vocals

Tina B.- vocals

Richard Walsh- vocals

Craig Thomas- vocals, saxophone

Lotti Golden- vocals

Darlene Love- vocals

 Norman Mershon- vocals

Tony ‘Rocks’ Cowans- guitar

Carlos Pepper- guitar

Lewis West- guitar

Billy Loosigian- guitar

Corrado Rustici- guitar

Vernon ‘Ice’ Black- guitar

Stuart Kimball- guitar

Bob Messano- guitar

Maurice Starr- bass

John Siegler- bass

Doug Wimbish- bass, drums

Preston Glass- acoustic guitar, keyboards, vibraphone

Booker T Jones- keyboards, organ

Walter Afanaseiff- keyboards, sound effects

Frank Martin- keyboards

David Sancious- keyboards

David Scher- keyboards

William Beard- drums

Anton Figg- drums

Premik McFly- saxophone, baritone sax

Greg ‘Gigi’ Gonaway- glockenspiel, percussion

Bill Sebastian- glockenspiel, percussion

Randy Jackson- bass, drums, percussion

Michael Rado- harp

Back in 1986, Clarence Clemon’s “Hero” album wouldn’t normally have been my cup of tea but there’s just something about it. It’s an easy listening, enjoyable album whether you’re a Springsteen fan or not.

Next post: Jackson Browne- Lives in the Balance

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6 Responses to “Great Rock Albums of 1986: Clarence Clemons- Hero”

  1. The only instrument sexier than a guitar is a sax. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Man, check out those guns on Clarence.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Nice list of musicians. I see quite a few I know. And without the E Street Band, Bruce is not the same Bruce. To me, it was the whole package.

    Liked by 1 person

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