You're A Friend Of Mine

Album: Hero (1985)
Charted: 18
  • songfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • Written by Narada Michael Walden (who also produced the track) and Jeffrey Cohen, this ebullient duet between Clarence Clemons and Jackson Browne is a testament to long-lasting friendship. Clemons was already well known as the saxophonist in Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band – with wailing solos on "Born To Run" and "Jungleland," among others – but decided to try a solo effort while The Boss was still riding high from the massive success of Born in the U.S.A. The move paid off with two hit singles: "You're A Friend Of Mine" and "I Wanna Be Your Hero."
  • Clemons played sax on another Walden and Cohen collaboration: Aretha Franklin's "Freeway of Love," a #3 hit earlier in the year.
  • Clemons and Browne really were friends – they met years earlier when Browne did a show with Springsteen. "Doing 'You're a Friend of Mine' was such a thrill for me to be asked," Browne told Rolling Stone in 2011, shortly after Clemons' death from stroke-related complications. "It probably wasn't a song that was appropriate to have Bruce on. Maybe that would've been too obvious. But I was happy to be on that record."
  • Walden also built a strong friendship with Clemons. "I never cried when he passed because his presence is so strong with me," Walden explained in a 2012 interview. "I can talk to him at all times. Even now."
  • Actress Daryl Hannah, who was dating Browne at the time, provides backing vocals and appears in the music video. The clip features Clemons and Browne jamming in a living room, with the help of Walden on drums, while Hannah relaxes on the sofa and occasionally films the guys with a camcorder.
  • This was used in the 1987 pilot episode of the sitcom My Two Dads, starring Paul Reiser and Greg Evigan as two old friends who reunite to raise a daughter who may or may not belong to one of them.
  • The WWF (World Wrestling Federation) used this in a 1986 montage depicting the feud between rival wrestlers "Rowdy" Roddy Piper and "Ace" Cowboy Bob Orton.
  • This was the biggest solo hit from a member of the E Street Band. Two years earlier, the group's guitarist/mandolinist Steven Van Zandt hit #63 on the Hot 100 with "Forever" (as Little Steven). Before he joined E Street in 1984, guitarist Nils Lofgren bubbled under at #109 with the 1981 single "Night Fades Away."
Please sign in or register to post comments.

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Steven Tyler of AerosmithSongwriter Interviews

Tyler talks about his true love: songwriting. How he identifies the beauty in a melody and turns sorrow into art.

Yacht Rock!Song Writing

A scholarly analysis of yacht rock favorites ("Steal Away," "Baker Street"...) with a member of the leading YR cover band.

Crystal WatersSongwriter Interviews

Waters tells the "Gypsy Woman" story, shares some of her songwriting insights, and explains how Dennis Rodman ended up on one of her songs.

Max Cavalera of Soulfly (ex-Sepultura)Songwriter Interviews

The Brazilian rocker sees pictures in his riffs. When he came up with one of his gnarliest songs, there was a riot going on.

80s Video Director Jay DubinSong Writing

Billy Joel and Hall & Oates hated making videos, so they chose a director with similar contempt for the medium. That was Jay Dubin, and he has a lot to say on the subject.

Soul Train Stories with Stephen McMillianSong Writing

A Soul Train dancer takes us through a day on the show, and explains what you had to do to get camera time.