You're A Friend Of Mine

Album: Hero (1985)
Charted: 18
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Songfacts®:

  • 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."

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