Your Favorite Sax Solos

Slate's Culture Blog
June 1 2011 12:32 PM

Your Favorite Sax Solos

Lastweek, Jonah Weiner wrote about thereturn of the sax solo to pop music , name-checking some of the most notablesax cameos in pop history. We asked whichsongs you'd add to his list , and hundreds of you heeded our call. You can find hours upon hours of saxy sax recommendations in the original comment thread, but these 12tracks got the most love from Brow Beat readers. (Well, with a bit of fudging lestSteely Dan and Pink Floyd take over the entire list, we went with the mostpopular nomination for each band.)

In rankedorder, here's your crowdsourced, 70s-heavy, summer sax playlist:

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Bruce Springsteen, "Jungleland,"1975 solo by Clarence Clemons

This 10-minute epic was far and away the biggest vote getter on Brow Beat, but it'sa potentially divisive choice: Last year, the A.V. Club placed it at No. 5 onits list of " 10Great Songs Nearly Ruined by Saxophone ." Writes Josh Modell: "The firsthalf of the incredibly lengthy solo in 'Jungleland' adds depth to a prettyincredible song, but then everything just devolves into a strutting cheesefactory." Judge for yourself on this live version from 1984, featuring Clemons:

 

Billy Joel, "Just the Way YouAre," 1977 solo by Phil Woods

 

Duran Duran, "Rio," 1982 solo byAndy Hamilton

 

Rolling Stones, "Brown Sugar,"1971 solo by Bobby Keys

 

Pink Floyd, "Money," 1973 solo byDick Parry

 

Foreigner, "Urgent," 1981 solo byJunior Walker

 

Bob Seger, "Turn the Page," 1973 soloby Alto Reed

 

DavidBowie, "Young Americans," 1975 solo by David Sanborn

No. 1 with a bullet on theA.V. Club's list ("imagine the greatness [the song] could've achievedwithout the constant nagging and yipping"), but a personal favorite of thisparticular blogger.

 

SteelyDan, "Aja," 1977 solo by Wayne Shorter

 

GatoBarbieri, "Europa," 1976 sax instrumental cover of a Santana cover

 

Earth,Wind & Fire, "Reasons" (live version from Gratitude ) 1975 solo by Don Myrick

 

Jr.Walker and the All Stars, "What Does it Take (To Win Your Love)," 1969 solo byWalker


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Nina Shen Rastogi is a writer and editor, and is also the vice president for content at Figment.