Sax: ’86-’89

OMD – If You Leave – 1986


Simple, well played, appropriate.


Cameo – Candy – 1986


I suppose if the solos were shorter we’d have to hear more of the lead singer’s voice…


Eddie Money – I Wanna Go Back – 1986


About as memorable as the song is.


The Rammers – Ram it – 1986


This cheesy song NEEDED a cheesy sax solo to really be complete. If I hadn’t caught the (obvious) sexual allusions throughout the “rap” parts of this song, the sax part would have driven it home.


Kenny Loggins – Danger Zone – 1986


I can’t believe I never noticed this solo, having listened to this song hundreds of times. The weird thing about this one is that it is maybe not even a solo – it’s mostly in the background. It really is a perfect fit though. It would definitely have an A if it hadn’t annoyed me with the slow fade out.


Eddie Money – Take Me Home Tonight – 1986


Another solo I somehow never consciously noticed, though I’ve heard the song many times. Probably because it never ruined my day.


Huey Lewis & the News – Hip to be Square – 1986


The only problem with this solo is the very long sax buildup to the actual sax solo. Just when you think you’ve gotten the required saxophone out of the way, the actual solo begins. It’s not bad though, and not very long.


Eric Carmen – Hungry Eyes – 1987


The absolute worst, and the inspiration for this page. I really think they auditioned a bunch of people for the part, and chose the most horrible player. *Update* – I’m told this is not actually a sax player, just a keyboard. I wouldn’t be surprised.


Tim Capello – I Still Believe – 1987


One of the worst. I didn’t even know where to pull the solos from, they were so dense in this song. I ended up going with two: (1) the ridiculously “dark” beginning and (2) the end, where the sax sounds like a woman being murdered.


Sting – Englishman in New York – 1987


This one fits in so nicely with the rest of the song, it slipped right by me until it was pointed out by someone. I can almost overlook the long sax fadeout. But not quite.


Breathe – Hands to Heaven – 1987


Just plain overdone. The solo needs to complement the song, not try to improve it.


Debbie Gibson – Only in My Dreams – 1987


This was a happy song, until the sax player did a little too much crack.


George Harrison – Got My Mind Set on You – 1987


Call it “Appropriate Blaring”, but I actually think it works.


INXS – New Sensation – 1987


A sax solo is extra lame when it is just one in a run of many different instrument solos.


INXS – Never Tear Us Apart – 1987


INXS loves the saxophone. When this one comes in, I almost cringe it’s so ridiculously dramatic.


Lisa Lisa & the Cult Jam – Lost in Emotion – 1987


The singer and saxophonist were definitely recorded in different rooms.


Icehouse – Electric Blue – 1987


You can tell this guy’s talent was wasted on this terrible solo. The little run at the end was him saying “Hey! I’m actually a pretty good sax player!”


Pink Floyd – The Dogs of War – 1987


I’m not really that into the barking of the dogs of war I guess.


The Sisters of Mercy – Dominion/Mother Russia – 1987


It’s kind of weird to make the sound level of your sax solo so much lower than the rest of the song. It’s like they became suddenly regretful of including this solo but didn’t want to hurt the player’s feelings.


T’Pau – China in Your Hand – 1987


Here’s what I think happened here: the sax player was late and walked in right when the song (which was totally unmemorable) was completely over. He then busted out his most intense solo, pulling all the other musicians back into the music for a mini-encore. The solo is pretty rad, but I have to dock it a bit for excessive vibrato and persisting into the fade.


Dan Fogelberg – Lonely in Love – 1987
Short: Long:

I really don’t care that the playing is good. You can’t save a pop song by continuing to add more and more saxophone. If you have to add 3+ minutes of saxophone solos to compensate, then you should probably just go back to the drawing board. What about more cowbell instead? Since I really couldn’t decide what sax parts to remove to make this fit in a reasonable amount of time, I’m posting two versions – the “short” one is just the most solo-like part, and the “long” is all the saxophone parts, including the vocal/saxophone callbacks. Enjoy.


Glenn Medeiros – Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love for You – 1987


A bit shocking – it starts so suddenly and then scales down to about the level of the vocals. I’m glad they left it at this though.


Paula Abdul – Forever Your Girl – 1988


This solo started before the song really started. So the mood that is broken is one of optimism, like “I hope this is a great song!”


Billy Ocean – Get Outta My Dreams, Get into My Car – 1988


I’m still shaking from this one.


Boy Meets Girl – Waiting for a Star to Fall – 1988


Doesn’t really add much to the song (except another shot at that refrain after), but a pretty good solo nonetheless.


Beach Boys – Kokomo – 1988


Ah, relaxing on the beach….wait I’m suddenly in a stadium with some sax player!


Alf – Season 3 and 4 Theme – 1988


The first theme to Alf had pretty high production values for a TV theme, with lots of synth instruments. In 1988, someone decided that the synth was dead, but that sax would live forever. They were a little late on this fad, but I can’t say I’m upset about it – this theme is pretty freaking catchy.


W.G. Snuffy Walden – Roseanne Theme – 1988


When the knowledge that Roseanne was coming on wasn’t enough to compel me to turn off the TV, this theme song certainly helped.


Steve Winwood – Roll With It – 1988


Pretty solid.


Gloria Estefan – Get on Your Feet – 1989


I’m *almost* on my feet.


Tina Turner – Simply the Best – 1989


Much better than her Thunderdome sax solos. Tina Turner really got the formula down by 1989.


The Jets – Chip ‘n’ Dale Rescue Rangers


I have to say, I feel very conflicted about this one. For one thing, I totally did not expect a very smooth saxophone to start up right when the song seemed to be winding down. And just when that solo seemed to be winding down, I really didn’t expect it to end up kicking it up a notch. Nick, the guy who emailed me about this solo, put it best: “It really is quite something as just when you think it’s over the sax finds another gear and rockets off into the distance.” All that said, there really wasn’t much to complain about in the solo.


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