What's the Best Sax Solo in Pop Music History?

Slate's Culture Blog
May 23 2011 6:15 PM

What's the Best Sax Solo in Pop Music History?

Today in Slate , Jonah Weiner considers the return of the saxsolo to pop music . Lady Gaga'snew album Born This Way featurestwo prominent saxophone appearances on the songs " Hair "and " Edge of Glory " courtesy of the E Street Band's ClarenceClemons. This after Katy Perry's 2010 single "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)," which features an "ingenious" sax solo around the three-minute mark, a "flurry of ecstatic screeches" that serves as "a goofy blast from the past" promptingWeiner to propose that the beleaguered woodwind may finally be emerging fromits long, Kenny G-induced P.R. nightmare and becoming cool again. (Since the '90s, it has been "the wimpiest weapon in thesmooth-jazz arsenal," he writes.)

Weiner goes on to name-check several of pop music's mostnotable saxy sax cameos,such as:

Advertisement

The Rolling Stones' "Can'tYou Hear Me Knocking"


Creedence ClearwaterRevival's "Long As I Can See The Light"


Bruce Springsteen's "Bornto Run"


Billy Joel's "NewYork State of Mind"


Lou Reed's "Walk onthe Wild Side"


and INXS's "What You Need"


Readers , in turn, cried out in support of such sax-friendly groups asMorphine, Quarterflash, and the Dave Matthews Band, and offered their ownnominations for inclusion in the Sax Solo Hall of Fame:


The Rolling Stones' "Waitingon a Friend" (sax solo by Sonny Rollins, notes commenter Still Anonymous)


Gerry Rafferty's "BakerStreet"


and Foreigner's "Urgent"


Personally, I feel I would be remiss if I didn't include George Michael's Careless Whisper , a song that I love only semi-ironically:

 
And now, we're throwing it to you. What's the best sax solo in pop music history? Which rock songs have been elevated by the saxophone's "irreducible  musicality ," as Weiner puts it? Give us your nominations in the comments, and if we get enough for a solid playlist we'll round up the best in a future post.

Follow  Brow Beat on Twitter . For more culture coverage, like  Slate  Culture  on Facebook.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Hong Kong’s Protesters Are Ridiculously Polite. That’s What Scares Beijing So Much.

The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You: It Spreads Slowly

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

A Jaw-Dropping Political Ad Aimed at Young Women, Apparently

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:05 PM Today in GOP Outreach to Women: You Broads Like Wedding Dresses, Right?
Music

How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

How Tattoo Parlors Became the Barber Shops of Hipster Neighborhoods

This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century

Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 8:34 AM This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century To undertake a massively ambitious energy project, you don’t need the government anymore.
  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 1 2014 12:20 PM Don’t Expect Hong Kong’s Protests to Spread to the Mainland
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 2:16 PM Wall Street Tackles Chat Services, Shies Away From Diversity Issues 
  Life
Outward
Oct. 1 2014 6:02 PM Facebook Relaxes Its “Real Name” Policy; Drag Queens Celebrate
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 5:11 PM Celebrity Feminist Identification Has Reached Peak Meaninglessness
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 9:39 PM Tom Cruise Dies Over and Over Again in This Edge of Tomorrow Supercut
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 6:59 PM EU’s Next Digital Commissioner Thinks Keeping Nude Celeb Photos in the Cloud Is “Stupid”
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 1 2014 4:03 PM Does the Earth Really Have a “Hum”? Yes, but probably not the one you’re thinking.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?