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Usually makes me cringe.
This Onion A.V. Club "Inventory" article seems apropos here (even though I strongly disagree on "The National Anthem" and even "Jungleland"):
Born to Run has a sax solo, as does Only the Good Die Young by Billy Joel, and those two are fine. Although the forum will probably disagree, I think foriegner's Urgent is great.
Clarence Clemons can do it. Everyone else needs to stop.
What about Steve Mackay's solos on "Funhouse"(THE STOOGES) and Rudi Thompson's ones on "Germ Free Adolescents"(X-RAY SPEX)...Neat...
I've always liked Steve Berlin's (of Los Lobos) sprawling solos on "Fireplace," from R.E.M.'s DOCUMENT. It's totally different from his more traditional Lobos sax work, and it's completely unexpected on an R.E.M. track as well.
The sax on Funhouse is some of the wildest music I've ever heard. Ditto with pretty much any song by The Sonics. I think the Sax is a great asset in garage rock, as well as in live improvisational bands. I'm certainly never upset to see one when I go to shows.
As I'm reading this, I'm listening to early live Pere Ubu with Allen Ravenstine rockin' the sax. No complaints here.
Oh- and essential for Half Japanese! masterful playing, that is.
The Sax is great. As long as they explore the sonic elements it has to offer then it wont sound dull at all. The trick is knowing what works and what doesn't. A recent Deerhunter track has some amazing work on it, check that out.
The E Street Band gets away with it because its so ingrained into their catalog now. Some of their records have it sound very out of place. Thats the E-Street spirit though.
Radiohead, Sufjan Stevens, Primal Scream and others are fine examples of this tool at good use.
No one's mentioned another Mackay - Andy Mackay of Roxy Music. Roxy wouldn't be Roxy without him, and he also makes a brilliant cameo appearance on Mott the Hoople's "All the Way from Memphis."
David Bowie plays sax on a lot of great songs of his. I approve.
Billy Hicks killed on the saxophone.
wow. that's a deal-breaker.
Oh, and "Baker Street" is great!
To me, it heavily depends on the tone of the saxophone and whether it actually adds anything. In a lot of mainstream songs that use the sax, it is absolutely awful.
I second the Stooges' Fun House; that is probably the best example of the sax adding emotion to an album as it joins the insanity of the last three songs.
A lot of King Crimson songs, especially my favorite "Starless," have good use of the sax. Also I have to mention a song I've been rocking out to all day, Faust's "It's a Rainy Day, Sunshine Girl," which adds a perfect sax riff in its final minute.
I think the results are not consistent. In many pop songs the sax sounds as if it's just a distraction. I enjoy the sax in many Springsteen songs and songs by the English Beat and side 4 of Todd Rundgren's Something/Anything and in many Steely Dan songs.
rock and pop songs? I think it's fine- it added a level of "class" to the proceedings, if done correctly. As long as it's not Kenny G., of course.
Sax can be great in rock songs if the songs are built for them. But in some cases, it just seems tacked on.