The year is 1846, in Paris.
A man called Adolphe Sax took the conical bore of a french horn and applied it to a longer, thinner instrument. After some decided scratching of his rather magnificent beard, he decided to use a single reed, like a clarinet to vibrate the air. He made the whole instrument out of brass, because of the malleability and ductility of the metal. Also because of ( here I extrapolate) of the bling factor. And thereby was created the wobbliest and smokiest and perhaps the sexiest of all musical instruments, the saxophone.
In celebration and really, mostly because I feel like it, here are the best saxophone pieces in popular music.
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band: Born To Run
Clarence Clemmons lets it rip in the Springsteen tune, turning an otherwise ordinary springsteensy rock ballad into its a into an feverish, breathless journey into, well, New Jersey I suppose. But still, add Clarence Clemmons to any song and it becomes a thousand times better.
John Coltrane: My Favourite Things
My favourite things was originally written for The Sound Of Music for (what I assume was) Julie Andrews to traipse around the mountains singing, irritating the fuck out of some innocent Nazis.
But thats when it did not have a horn solo.
This song is a true testimony to what the saxophone can do to a music. John Coltrane takes the insuffertably saccharine and turns it into an introspective journey into the soul. Brilliance.
Pink Floyd: Us and Them
So far, I have been unable to write a list based article (the highest of literary journalism) without including Pink Floyd. With this one this one pointless trying, because of the absolute brilliant horn section in Us and Them.
The smoky, sultry, evocative instrument is at its smokiest, sultriest and evocativest in this song, weilded by Dick Parry, like a baus. So listen instead of reading.
The Rolling Stones: Brown Sugar
Ah, the Stones. Or, what is now best known as the original Moves like Jagger. Bobby Keys lets it rip on the sax in this one, to create perhaps the fun Stones tune at all time. So far, we’ve seen the Sax seduce, here it makes you dance. It is the happiest of all Sax songs, even Mr. Saxxobeat (sic. I think.)