Top 10 Saxophone Solos in Pop and Rock

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Top 10 Saxophone Solos in Pop and Rock

VOICE OVER: Matt Campbell
Script written by Aaron Cameron.

Just the sax, ma'am, just the sax. In this video, http://www.WatchMojo.com counts down our picks for the top 10 saxophone solos in pop and rock. While the saxophone is most commonly used in classical and jazz music, many pop and rock musicians have adapted the instrument into their sound. For this list, we are looking at the saxophone solos as well as the riffs that have become iconic in the pop and rock genres. So sit back and enjoy the soothing sound of this classic woodwind instrument.

Special thanks to our users slabz, Stroya, davisandrew44, Hans Gougar, Ranen Garcia, shadeslayer995, Paola Garcia, Ricardo Brown, davisandrew44 and bbaker21 for submitting the idea on our Suggest Page at http://www.WatchMojo.comsuggest
Transcript
Script written by Aaron Cameron.

Top 10 Saxophone Solos in Pop and Rock


Just the sax, ma'am, just the sax. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 saxophone solos in pop and rock.

While the saxophone is most commonly used in classical and jazz music, many pop and rock musicians have adapted the instrument into their sound. For this list, we are looking at the saxophone solos as well as the riffs that have become iconic in the pop and rock genres. So sit back and enjoy the soothing sound of this classic woodwind instrument.

#10: "Never Tear Us Apart" (1988)
INXS

It may be hard to imagine now but the late 80s ballad we all know and love was originally written as a Fats Domino influenced blues song. Revamped and sweetened with a haunting sax solo from the band's Kirk Pengilly, the song became a top 10 hit in many countries and hit #7 on the Billboard Hot 100. The dramatic pause just before the sax kicks in prepares us for an emotional musical journey through the use of our favorite woodwind instrument.

#9: "The Edge of Glory" (2011)
Lady Gaga

Released on Gaga's Born This Way album, the 2011 hit inadvertently became a tribute to guest saxophonist and E-Street Band member Clarence Clemons when The Big Man passed on later that year. Clemons was contacted on a Friday afternoon to record and by 3AM the following morning had completed his part, which is even more remarkable as he flew from Florida to New York just for the session. With few sax-based tunes on the charts, having Clemons appear on the track was seen as a bold move on Gaga's part and actually helped the pop tune stand out.

#8: "Money" (1973)
Pink Floyd

Notable for Roger Water's distinct bass-line, David Gilmour's bluesy guitar solos, and the track's odd time signature, “Money” is also home to one of the most famous and recognizable sax solos. Played by Dick Parry, who also saxes it up on “Us and Them”, the solo is played on a tenor saxophone and is backed by the groovy bassline, chaotic drums and vintage keyboard. Due to his ability to really, really play Parry toured with the band from 1973 to 1977 and appeared on two additional Pink Floyd albums.

#7: "Who Can it Be Now?" (1982)
Men at Work

Written by singer Colin Hay and propelled by Greg Ham's intoxicating sax hook, this classic pop track put the sax in the forefront of 80s pop. The band’s first single, the track hit #2 in their native Australia but fared slightly better in America where it hit #1, kicking off the decade's bizarre but endearing obsession with the land Down Under. Hooky and confidant, it can be noted that the final version of Ham’s snappy sax groove that was used was recorded during the band’s rehearsal.

#6: "Urgent" (1981)
Foreigner

A #4 Hot 100 single off their landmark album 4, this track features hot, soulful sax from Motown legend Junior Walker. While working on the song the band decided they needed a Walker-style saxophone line and were able to get the real deal when they learned he was playing a show blocks away from the studio. Then in a mellow disco-mode, Walker came into the studio and laid down a classic sounding sax solo that’s as iconic as any of Junior’s past work.

#5: "The Logical Song" (1979)
Supertramp

As one of the band's biggest songs on both sides of the Atlantic, listeners by the million may have been sucked in by the opening electric piano, but they stay for that saxophone. Recorded by the band's John Helliwell, this solo was recorded in a bathroom, as the band was into experimenting with different acoustics. The track also features the sounds of some popular toys of the time such as an electronic football game and the popping of the board game Trouble. A playful tactic for a playful tune.

#4: "Old Time Rock and Roll" (1978)
Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band

Forever linked to a pantsless Tom Cruise, this down home rocker has been a radio staple since first released in 1978. While Seger gave the song an uncredited co-write, and most definitely sang it, the sax was most likely played by Silver Bullet Band’s Alto Reed. The sax solo is bluesy, soulful and compliments the singer’s gruff vocals with a vintage style that is nostalgic yet fresh. The perfect tune for rocking out while no one is watching.

#3: "Born to Run" (1975)
Bruce Springsteen

Give it up for the Boss! Known now as the song that finally thrust the Boss into the limelight, this sax-assisted track established the Springsteen sound, but also took six full months to record. This heartland rock anthem features a sax solo performed by the legend Clarence Clemons himself, a friend and bandmate to Springsteen. The duo created classic after classic of great saxophone heavy tracks, including the nearly ten minute “Jungleland”. However it is “Born to Run” that Clemons is known for as it captivates listeners and fans alike from the first note.

#2: "Careless Whisper" (1984)
George Michael/Wham!

Released as both a Wham and George Michael single, this 80s hit had a slow birth before it matched the sound Michael heard in his head. First recorded at the famed Muscle Shoals Studio, it was soon re-recorded in London, England. The singer and his producer then tried 10 different sax players before settling on the right sound, and finally ended up choosing session player Steve Gregory. But even then it wasn't an easy ride, the breathing patterns were near impossible for Gregory, resulting in the track being slowed down while he recorded.

Before we unveil our top pick here are a few honourable mentions.

“Midnight City” (2011)
M83

“Smooth Operator” (1985)
Sade

“(I've Had) the Time of My Life” (1987)
Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes

“Last Friday Night” (2011)
Katy Perry

“Modern Love” (1983)
David Bowie

#1: "Baker Street" (1978)
Gerry Rafferty

Named for the street that Sherlock called home, “Baker Street” is undoubtedly the song Gerry Raffety will be remembered for, thanks to Raphael Ravenscroft's wailing sax line. Originally intended to be sung, and later demoed on electric guitar, Ravenscroft suggested he play the line on an alto saxophone when a guitarist failed to arrive at the studio. This iconic sax track singlehandedly caused increases in saxophone sales as well as the instrument becoming more frequent in pop and rock music.

Do you agree with our list? What’s your favourite saxophone riff or solo? For more horn-blowing Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
Comments
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You should have mentioned "Turn the Page" in the bit about Bob Seger...
Also, Steely Dan's "Deacon Blues"!!
Two omissions: Spandau Ballet's "True" and Rolling Stones' "Waiting on a Friend" (featuring the legendary Spnny Rollins).