Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Saxiest Songs Ever

The saxophone is one of the coolest instruments out there. Here are some of the best songs featuring the sax, a sax solo or perhaps a strong sax part in the brass section. Pick your 15 saxy favorites from the list below, and present a mix CD to that special someone on Valentine's Day! Thanks to all of my fellow friends and DJs who weighed in with their selections! Is it my imagination, or were saxophones used to excess during the 80s?

Maneater - Hall & Oates (80s)
True - Spandau Ballet (80s)
Careless Whisper - Wham! (80s)
Caribbean Queen - Billy Ocean (80s)
What You Need - INXS (80s)
Who Can It Be Now - Men at Work (80s)
Rio - Duran Duran (80s)
Only the Lonely - The Motels (80s)
I Want a New Drug - Huey Lewis & the News (80s)
Being With You - Smokey Robinson & The Miracles (80s)
Mercy, Mercy Me (the Ecology) - Marvin 80 (Soul)
New York State of Mind - Billy Joel (vocalists)
Harden My Heart - Quarterflash (80s)
You Belong to the City - Glenn Frey (80s)
My Pre-Rogative - Bobby Brown (80s)
Waiting on a Friend - The Rolling Stones (rock)
Walk on the Wild Side - Lou Reed (rock)
Shine on Crazy Diamond - Pink Floyd (rock)
Mr. Saxobeat - Alexandra Stan (dance)
Edge of Glory - Lady Gaga w/Clarence Clemons (dance)
** The big man, Clarence Clemons, received accolades from numerous voters! **
Rosalita - Bruce Springsteen (rock)
Jungleland - Bruce Springsteen (rock)
Thunder Road - Bruce Springsteen (rock)
Born to Run - Bruce Springsteen (rock)
Dancing in the Dark - Bruce Springsteen (rock)
Baker Street - Gerry Rafferty (rock)
One Step Beyond - Madness (rock)
Tender Years - John Cafferty & The Beaver Brown Band (rock)
Brown Sugar - The Rolling Stones (rock)
Us and Them - Pink Floyd (rock)
Heart to Heart - Kenny Loggins (rock)
Gaucho - Steely Dan (rock)
Tequila - The Champs (50s rock)
The Wanderer - Dion (60s rock)
Runaround Sue - Dion (60s rock)
Show Me What You Got - Jay-Z (hip hop)
Brass Monkey - The Beastie Boys (hip hop)
Candy - Cameo (funk)
Papa's Got a Brand New Bag - James Brown (funk)
Get on the Good Foot - James Brown (funk)
Pick Up the Pieces - Average White Band (funk)
Super Freak - Rick James (funk)
Respect - Aretha Franklin (Motown)
Inner City Blues - Marvin Gaye (Motown)
Dancing in the Street - Martha & the Vandellas (Motown)
Sir Duke - Stevie Wonder (Motown)
You are the Best Thing - Ray LaMontagne (soul)
Rehab - Amy Winehouse (soul)
Soul Man - Sam & Dave (soul)
My, My, My - Johnny Gill (soul)
New York State of Mind - Billy Joel (lounge/pop)
Oh Babe What Would You Say - Hurricane Smith (70s/pop)
Yakety Sax (Theme from Benny Hill Show) (soundtracks)
Cantina Bar Theme from Star Wars (soundtracks)
Just the Two of Us - Grover Washington, Jr. (smooth jazz)
Europa - Gato Barbieri (smooth jazz)
Smooth Operator - Sade (smooth jazz)
Calabria - Enur f/Natasja (dancehall/dance)
Robi Rob's Bariqua Anthem - C & C Music Factory (90s/dance)
Sex Sax - Drop the Lime (dance)
Sax in Miami - DJ Mpulse (dance)
The Saxy Track - Rhythm Factory (house)
Songbird - Kenny G (ballads)

For the jazz cats, here's a few more selections:

Round Midnight - Sonny Rollins
Confirmation - Charlie Parker
Giant Steps - John Coltrane
On Green Dolphin Street - Eric Dolphy
The Girl from Ipanema - Stan Getz

To an extent, the saxophone seems to be going out of style in a digital world. Hope that the producers will bring it back, or even sample some saxophones!

What songs would you add to the list above?


  1. Thank you for sharing this list, Greg. All great songs. However, I do have one song that should be added to the list. "Europa" by Gato Barbieri is a great sax tune. Here's a link to the song where he performs live with Santana, the original artist of the song.


    See you in a few weeks at the next NJDJN meeting.


  2. Mike,

    Thanks for the hot pick! Did Carlos Santana also perform that on guitar. I have added it to the list above under the category "smooth jazz."

    Yes, see you at an NJDJN meeting soon!