Famous Saxophone Solos & Riffs

Reading Time: < 1 minuteFebruary 24, 2022

Many of the big Pop hits (approx. 1 out of 3) between 1978 and the late 80s have saxophone riffs and/or solos. This had an enormous impact on the popularity of the instrument during that period, resulting in a large increase of sales. No wind instrument was – and still is – as popular in Pop music as the saxophone. For this article I have listed some of the best ranking hits with saxophone between 1972 and 2015.

Most listeners have often no idea who it is they hear play saxophone on those hit songs. Often credits were missing from the release info and radio and TV hosts generally didn’t bother to mention their name. What many average listeners – and even some Jazz fans – don’t know is that there were a handful of top level Jazz saxophonists (like Sonny Rollins, Stan Getz, Michael Brecker, Phil Woods, David Sanborn and Branford Marsalis) that featured on many known Pop hits. Obviously in these articles I will make sure the credits aren’t missing.

Since I am from The Netherlands – and thus have particular memories from those years – the tracks I have selected are mostly hits listed at the Dutch Top 40, the Dutch single Top 100 / Dutch Mega Top 100, as well as the US Billboard and UK Singles OCC. I would not be surprised if you think some tracks are “missing” … there are hundreds, if not thousands of known Pop songs with sax licks and/or solos, to many to mention all and blog about.

Enjoy this short stroll down “memory lane” …

I will “divide” the tracks I like to share with you – into 4 parts: