Famous Saxophone Solos & Riffs (Part 2 – The 80s)

Reading Time: 6 minutesFebruary 24, 2022
Just the Two of Us (1980)
#11 (Top 40), #16 (NL Single Top 100), #2 (US Billboard Hot 100)


In 1980Winelight” was released, an album that received 2 Grammy Awards: “Best Jazz Fusion Opname” and “Best R & B Song” for “Just The Two Of Us, with vocals by Bill Withers.

Grover Washington Jr. (1943 – 1999) was an American Jazzrock / Jazz-fusion / Funk / Soul saxophonist. He worked with many famous musicians an bands: Bob JamesSteve GaddMarcus MillerPatti LabelleB.B. KingTommy Flanagan, Herbie Hancock, Ron CarterThe Four Tops en Lalah Hathaway.

Urgent (1981)
#1 (Billboard Rock Tracks), #4 (US Billboard Hot 100)

Saxophonist: JUNIOR WALKER

Urgent” is a song by British-American rock band Foreigner.

Autry DeWalt Mixon Jr. (1931 – 1995) better known as “Junior Walker” was an American “Motown” saxophonist. His own band was known as: “Jr. Walker & the All Stars“.

Who Can It Be Now? (1981)
#49 (NL Single Top 100), #1 (US Billboard Hot 100), #45 (UK Singles OCC)

Saxophonist: GREG HAM

Men At Work was an Australian pop band. In 1981 they released their first single: “Who can it be now?“. In 1982Who can it be now?” reched the number 1 chart position in America. In 1982 they received a Grammy for “Best new Artist“.

Greg Ham (1953 – 2012) was an Australian songwriter, actor en multi-instrumentalist (sax, flute, organ, piano & synthesizer) and is mostly known from his work with Men At Work.

Forget Me Nots (1982)
#23 (Top 40), #24 (NL Single Top 100), #2 (US Billboard Hot Dance Music), #4 (US Billboard Hot R&B), #8 (UK Singles OCC)


Forget Me Nots” is a song of American singer-songwriter Patrice Rushen.

Gerald Albright (born in 1957) is an American Jazz saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist. He worked with many famous bands and artists, such as: The Temptations, Quincy JonesWhitney Houston, Phil CollinsChaka KhanRachelle Ferrell and many others.

Waiting On A Friend (1982)
#9 (Top 40), #17 (NL Single Top 100), #13 (US Billboard Hot 100), #50 (UK Singles OCC)

Saxophonist: SONNY ROLLINS

Born in 1930 in New York, Rollins is one of the most legendary and influential saxophonists that had a great impact on younger generation saxophonists. Hij started with piano, but switched via alto sax in 1946 over on tenor sax. In the 70s and 80s Sonny Rollins played – besides “mainstream Jazz” also R&B, Pop and Funk. It is during that period he worked with the Rolling Stones where he played on tracks as: “Slave“, “Neighbours” and “Waiting on a Friend“, all on the album “Tattoo You“. 

Maneater (1982)
#17 (Top 40), #18 (NL Single Top 100), #1 (US Billboard Hot 100), #6 (UK Singles OCC)


Maneater” is a hit song of the American duo Hall & Oates with a 4-week long #1 positie in the “Billbord Hot 100“.

Charles “Mr. Casual” DeChant is a Amerikacan multi-instrumentalist you can here on “Maneater” as well as in Hall & Oates’ tracks “One on One”,  “Say It Isn’t So” (extended versie) and “I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do)”. DeChant did also work with: Mick Jagger, The Temptations, Tina Turner, Billy Joel, Bonnie Raitt, and The Average White Band.

True (1983)
#4 (Top 40), #5 (NL Single Top 100), #4 (US Billboard Hot 100), #1 (UK Singles OCC)

Saxophonist: STEVE NORMAN

True” is a song of the English band Spandau Ballet.

Steven Antony Norman (born in 1960) is an English multi-instrumentalist. In the 80s he is member of Spandau Ballet, but in the 90s the band stops to exist. He emigrates to Ibiza where he works as percussionist en songwriter with various artists like: Ten City and DJ Frankie Knuckles.

Careless Whisper (1984)
#9 (Top 40), #17 (NL Single Top 100), #13 (US Billboard Hot 100), #50 (UK Singles OCC)

Saxophonist: STEVE GREGORY 

Careless Whisper” is the debute of George Michael als solo-artiest in 1984, later reissued on Wham!‘s album “Make It Big“.

The catchy sax riff played by Brit Steve Gregory (born in Londen in 1945) is characteristic for this track. Steve plays besides alto sax (in Careless Whisper) also soprano, tenor en baritone saxophone.

Smooth Operator (1984)
#19 (Top 40), #12 (NL Single Top 100), #1 (US Billboard Adult Contemporary), #5 (US Billboard Hot 100), #19 (UK Singles OCC)


Smooth Operator” is a song by Nigerian-British singer Sade. The song was composed by Raymond St. John (bassist/guitarist) and originally was named “Diamond Life“.

Stuart Colin Matthewman (born in 1960) is a English songwriter, multi-instrumentalist en record producer. 

Freeway Of Love (1985)
#31 (Top 40), #27 (NL Single Top 100), #1 (US Billboard Hot Black Singles), #3 (US Billboard Hot 100)
Unchain My Heart (1987)
#27 (Top 40), #27 (NL Single Top 100), #17 (UK Singles OCC)


Freedom of Love” is a Grammy-Award winnend song from the platinum album “Who’s Zoomin’ Who?” by the American singer Aretha Franklin.

Clarence Anicholas Clemons jr. (1942 – 2011) was an American saxophonist and actor. 

Clemons was a leading member of the E Street Band (de band of Bruce Springsteen – zie Deel 1). He worked with many artists and bands, like: Grateful DeadRingo StarrRoy OrbisonJackson BrowneTwisted Sister, and Lady Gaga (zie Deel 4).

Unchain My Heart” is a song written by Bobby Sharp and was for the first time recorded in 1961 by Ray Charles. In 1987 Joe Cocker covered this song and named his album the same.

When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going (1985)
#1 (Top 40), #1 (NL Single Top 100), #1 (UK Singles OCC)


When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going” was a single from 1985 by British singer Billy Ocean.

Vernon Jeffrey Smith is an American saxophonist from New York. He worked with many different known artists, like: Daryl Hall (Hall and Oates), Corey Glover (Living Color), Paula Abdul, Heather HeadleyTamia and he is co-founder of the band The Family Stand.

We Don’t Need Another Hero (1985)
#7 (Top 40), #27 (NL Single Top 100), #2 (US Billboard Hot 100), #2 (UK Singles OCC)

Saxophonist: TIM CAPPELLO

We Don’t Need Another Hero” is part of the movie soundtrack Mad Max (3) Beyond Thunderdome.

The in 1955 in America born Tim Capello is a multi-instrumentalist, composer and vocalist and got world fame due to his work with Tina Turner. He also worked with other known artists, such as Peter Gabriel, Ringo Starr, Bob Dylan and others.

One More Night (1985)
#8 (Top 40), #8 (NL Single Top 100), #1 (US Billboard Hot 100), #4 (UK Singles OCC)

Saxophonist: DON MYRICK

One More Night” is a song from the 3rd solo album “No Jacket Required” by British drummer, singer en composer Phil Collins.

The in 1940 in Amerika born Don Myrick payed soprano, alto en tenor sax with Earth, Wind & Fire (zie deel 1), Grover Washington jr. and Santana. At the age of 53 (1993) he was accidentally shot by a police officer. Phil Collins released the track “For A Friend” in 1993 as tribute.

Your Latest Trick (1986)
#26 (UK Singles OCC)

Your Latest Trick” is a single from 1986 by British band Dire Straits from the album “Brothers in Arms“. 

Michael Brecker played sax on the studio version, Chris White played live on world tours (live videos).


Michael Leonard Brecker (1949 – 2007) was an American Jazz saxofonist en composer. He played in famous Jazz bands, such as Brecker Brothers en Steps Ahead and worked with many famous Jazz musicians, such as: Horace SilverHerbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Chet Baker, Quincy JonesCharles Mingus, Jaco Pastorius, McCoy Tyner, Pat Metheny, Elvin JonesFrank Sinatra, Diana Krall and many more. He also worked with many know Pop musicians, like:  Steely Dan / Donald FagenLou ReedJoni Mitchell, Eric Clapton, Billy Joel, John Lennon, Aerosmith, Frank Zappa, Bruce Springsteen, Roger Daltrey (The Who), Parliament-Funkadelic, Al Jerreau, and many others.

Saxophonist: CHRIS WHITE

Chris White (born in 1955) is a English Jazzrock saxophonist. He was on tour with Dire Straits from 1985 to 1995. He also played with: Robbie Williams, Paul McCartney, Chris De BurghTom JonesBryan Ferry and Mick Jagger.

Englishman In New York (1987)
#9 (Top 40), #32 (US Billboard Mainstream Rock), #84 (US Billboard Hot 100), #51 (UK Singles OCC)


Englishman in New York” is a single by British singer Sting, from his 2nd solo-album “…Nothing Like the Sun“. 

Branford Marsalis (born in 1960 in Amerika) is mostly known in the Jazz scene, he played with: Art Blakey and Clark Terry.  As Buckshot LeFonque (zie deel 3) he founded his own Jazz-Hop project. He also worked with Pop artists, such as Tina Turner (“Break Every Rule”, 1986) and Grateful Dead (“Without a Net”, 1990).

Never Tear Us Apart (1987)
#7 (Top 40), #9 (NL Single Top 100), #5 (US Billboard Mainstream Rock), #7 (US Billboard Hot 100), #24 (UK Singles OCC)

Saxophonist: KIRK PENGILLY

Never Tear Us Apart” is a song of the Australische rockband INXS.

Kirk Pengilly (born in 1958) is an Australian musician, primarily known as member of INXS. Kirk plays saxophone and guitar and did backing vocals.

Small World (1988)
#19 (US Billboard Adult Contemporary), #25 (US Billboard Hot 100)

Saxophonist: STAN GETZ

Small World” is a track by Huey Lewis and the News, an American band from San Francisco. Their most know sings are “Power of Love”, “Stuck with you” and “Hip to be Square”.

Stan Getz, (Stanley Gayetsky,  1927 – 1991) was an American tenor saxophonist, mostly remembered from is fusion between jazz and latin / bossa nova in the 60s, working together with Astrud Gilberto, João Gilberto, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Jan Johansson and Charlie Byrd.