Sax: ’83-’85

Madness – It Must Be Love – 1983


Spandau Ballet – True – 1983

This one doesn’t fit into the rest of the song. I was having enough trouble understanding the meaning of this song – the solo just makes it more confusing.

Oingo Boingo – Little Guns – 1983

This song is almost entirely made up of deranged solos. I guess there isn’t much more to say about “tiny people with little guns” than just that.

Donna Summer – She Works Hard For the Money – 1983

Nothing expresses how hard a woman can work for her money like sax drama.

David Bowie – Modern Love – 1983

When you don’t know how to finish a song, you can always bring in a sax which will distract people from noticing your slow fade out.

Quarterflash – Take Me to Heart – 1983

I do like the little different entrance warnings the player gives each time a solo begins, but I could have done without the increasingly repetitive sax toward the end.

Pink Floyd – The Gunner’s Dream – 1983

Not only did this actually add something meaningful to the song, it also gave me goosebumps the first time I heard it. True story.

Billy Ocean – Caribbean Queen – 1984

This would be fine, if the solo was cut off about halfway.

Spandau Ballet – With the Pride – 1984

I’d never heard this song before – I was just tipped off to it. I think there’s a good reason I’d never heard it though. That being said, I can’t fault the solo – it’s in line with the rest of the song. Kind of lame.

Sade – Smooth Operator – 1984

What can I say? He’s a smooth sax operator?

Sheila E – The Glamorous Life – 1984

I think it’s really lame when solos just keep going and the song fades out. That being said, it’s a catchy friggin solo that improves this mediocre song.

Wham! – Careless Whisper – 1984

An overdramatic solo to match the overdramatic song. Good lead in for the next part.

Wang Chung – Dance Hall Days – 1984

Though it was really an afterthought in the song, this solo is pretty good relative to many of the others. 1984 apparently was the year of mildly pleasing sax solos.

Bruce Springsteen – Dancing in the Dark – 1984

Nothing like sax in the dark.

Alan Parsons Project – Don’t Answer Me – 1984

Its near-jazzy sound doesn’t really fit in with the straight singing. Almost makes the guy seem a bit like a square, unafraid to overblow his voice the way his sax player will.

Huey Lewis & the News – The Heart of Rock & Roll – 1984

Somehow I am not convinced that the sax solo is the heart of rock & roll.

Icehouse – Don’t Believe Anymore – 1984

This song was basically the unfortunate blending of two unique motifs: 1) Competent 80′s new wave ballad 2) Overblown extended sax recurring nightmare

Sade – When am I Going to Make a Living – 1984

Sade is one of the few 80s artists who actually deserves the sax accompaniment.

Chicago Bears – Super Bowl Shuffle – 1985

Appropriate: a terrible solo, from a terrible song.

Corey Hart – Never Surrender – 1985

Ah, 7th grade. The year I learned to add vibrato to my playing…I am impressed they used a 7th grader here though.

Huey Lewis & the News – Back in Time – 1985

You can’t make up for a crappy song with no lyrics by increasing the number of sax solos.

INXS – What You Need – 1985

I really like INXS. Which is why it’s such a shame that their sax solos are so mediocre.

Sting – Fortress Around Your Heart – 1985

If it wasn’t for the fade out…

Dire Straits – Your Latest Trick – 1985

I couldn’t even include all the solo parts – there were just too many. There was more sax than singing, and in case you forget how the sax solo goes there’s a depressing trumpet rehash of it.

James Brown – Living in America – 1985

Appropriate, because living in America is all about the sax solo.

Clarence Clemons & Jackson Browne – You’re a Friend of Mine – 1985

This isn’t really a sax solo in a 80′s song. It’s more like an 80′s solo in a sax song.

Glenn Frey – You Belong to the City – 1985

The truth is, the song really couldn’t be anything without the sax.

The Cure – A Night Like This – 1985

As dirty as the solo is, it matches the sound of The Cure pretty well.

Tina Turner – One of the Living – 1985

I can’t really complain that it’s any less intense than the song, but I complain about everything else.

Tina Turner – We Don’t Need Another Hero – 1985

I was going to give this one a D, but I actually really like Tina Turner’s singing of the beginning of the sax part. I can tell she’s totally into it.

Double – The Captain of Her Heart – 1985

This is one I’d never heard before. Even though the solo is pretty much the epitome of smooth jazz (I mean this in a negative way) it still felt like relief from the awkward synth “piano”.

Bryan Ferry – Don’t Stop the Dance – 1985

Seriously, whoever was controlling the reverb knob got a bit out of control after awhile. Totally ruined a perfectly fine solo.

Tears for Fears – The Working Hour – 1985
Short: Long:

According to the rubric I’ve already been working with, the length and frequency of sax really hurts the grade here. Even for the long clip here (2:39!), I cut out many sax parts. But damn, I pretty much love this solo. If you’re going to have this much sax, definitely do it like this guy.


  1. Posted January 3, 2015 at 12:59 am

    OK, needless to say, I disagree with many of the evaluations…but it doesn’t matter because this is an excellent resource :) I know this project has not been updated for quite some time, but I appreciate what is available.

  2. lexi
    Posted February 29, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    Does anybody know a website where I can find the sheet music to Careless Whisper?

  3. Posted November 25, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    Trying to perfect “Careless Whisper” , Tennor Sax , found your web page and lost 2 hours. Thank you.
    Must say I like Billy Ocean-Caribbean Queen, and Sade – Smooth Operator.
    So many on your list such as Hazel O’Connor-Will You, Duran Duran-Rio . I am still to do a few more pages.
    Inspiration to get playing more (as apposed to going out) thank you.

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