The saxophone is a very versatile instrument that can be used in many ways in music.
You can hear the smooth, powerful sound of the saxophone in a variety of music genres, from jazz to pop hits.
So for today's article we have selected the best saxophone songs of all time.
1. "Careless Whisper" by George Michael
Let's start with one of the greatest saxophone songs in music history.
if you likespontaneous mosquitoor not, you probably know the saxophone riff of the song by heart.
George Michael released it in 1984 and the song quickly achieved worldwide success, reaching number 1 in almost 25 countries.
In one of the interviews thaticonic singerhe said that he based the song on events from his childhood.
He also said that he remembers exactly when he came up with the idea for the iconic saxophone riff, when he was handing money to a bus driver before heading to Bel Air.
2. „Brown Sugar“ de los Rolling Stones
But the saxophone is not only used in soft ballads and jazz classics.
It can also be heard on rock hits like the Rolling Stones' "Brown Sugar."
While the saxophone doesn't seem to be the focus here, it's hard to imagine music without it.
Written by Mick Jagger, Brown Sugar was released as the opening track and lead single from the 1971 album Sticky Fingers.
3. "Thrift Store" by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
Another popular saxophone song is "Thrift Shop" by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.
It's one of those songs where the saxophone is essential - and where it works perfectly.
"Thrift Shop" was a huge hit when it was released and continues to be a frequent hit on the radio and club playlists.
No wonder, because the song is extremely catchy and uplifting.
Plus, Macklemore's rapping is always on point.
4. David Bowie's "Young Americans"
"Young Americans" is a rock classic, recognizable by its saxophone introduction.
The song is from Bowie's album.album of the same nameand it is undoubtedly one of his greatest successes.
The entire album marked Bowie's immersion in soul music.
And while "Young Americans" doesn't sound like your typical soul track, the backing vocals and David Sanborn's saxophone solo definitely make it soulful.
5. "Moaning" by Charles Mingus
Charles Mingus was one of the most outstanding and innovative jazz musicians and composers.
And his rendition of "Moanin'" has one of the most iconic sax riffs of all time.
This jazz standard has been performed and performed in a variety of ways, but there is something about Charles Mingus's version that sets it apart.
Maybe it's the way the baritone sax takes over the melody.
6. Sade's „Soft operator“
There's no question: “Smooth Operator” would be a very different song if it didn't have a saxophone.
As the song title suggests, the song is very soft, romantic, and laid back.
And it is one of Sade's emblematic songs.
It was first released on Sade's debut album Diamond Life in 1984 and later became one of thethe best songs of the 80s.
7. "Midnight City" from M83
"Midnight City" is an upbeat and dreamy electro pop song released in 2011.
It was recorded by the French electronic band M83 but achieved international success.
In fact, "Midnight City" was hailed as one of the best songs of 2011.
This song also proves that the saxophone can fit into any type of musical genre or style, including electro-pop and synth-pop.
8. "Moondance" de Van Morrison
Van Morrison is widely considered one of the greatest musicians of all time.
His career spans seven decades, and that's pretty impressive.
When you think of Van Morrison's greatest hits, "Moondance" immediately comes to mind.
It is a remarkable song, characterized by soft saxophone sounds and simple melodies.
After all, Van Morrison was not only a singer-songwriter, but also a talented saxophonist.
9. "I'll Always Love You" by Whitney Houston
"I'll Always Love You" is by far one of thoseThe most popular love songs of all time..
It's a timeless classic and Whitney Houston's trademark, although it was originally written and recorded by Dolly Parton in 1973.
Along with Whitney's amazing vocals, the song features smooth saxophone lines.
A saxophonist Kirk Whalum obviously contributed the best to the music.
He also toured with Whitney Houston for over seven years, playing saxophone solos during the song.
10. „Baker Street“ de Gerry Rafferty
Baker Street is arguably one of the most popular saxophone songs of all time.
If you don't know it by name, you'll recognize the iconic saxophone riff right away.
The song was written and recorded by Gerry Rafferty, a Scottish singer-songwriter who was a founding member of Stealers Wheel.
Although he achieved international success with Stealers Wheel, he also recorded several solo hits, including the popular sax song "Baker Street."
11. „Donna Lee“ de Charlie Parker
Of course, the saxophone is primarily associated with jazz music.
And "Donna Lee" is afamous jazz songcomposed by saxophonist/composer Charlie Parker, with claimed authorship of Miles Davis.
Charlie Parker was an important figure in the development of bebop, a style of jazz characterized by instrumental virtuosity and rapid chord changes.
Parker primarily played alto saxophone, and "Donna Lee" is just one example of her unforgettable skill and creativity.
12. "Walk on the Wild Side" by Lou Reed
"Walk On The Wild Side" is certainly one of them.The best rock songs of all time..
It's Lou Reed's signature song, with simple melodies, Reed's distinctive voice, and a saxophone solo.
It was released on Transformer, Lou Reed's second solo album, produced by David Bowie and Mick Ronson.
The baritone sax solo on "Walk On The Wild Side" is played by Ronnie Ross; In fact, he also taught David Bowie to play the saxophone.
13. Making "money" Pink Floyd
"Money" comes from Pink Floyd's legendary rock album "The Dark Side Of The Moon".
It was written by Roger Waters and became the band's first American hit.
In essence, it's quite an anxious song based on anti-establishment ideas and the saxophone solo fits the bill perfectly.
The solo part of the song was performed by English saxophonist Dick Parry, who also contributed to other Pink Floyd songs such as "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" and "Us and Them".
14. "Now who can it be?" of men at work
"Who could it be now?" is one of the great saxophone songs that will remind you of other eras of music.
This Men At Work classic was released in 1981 and became the band's best-known song.
While recording the song, producer Peter McClan asked band member Greg Ham to play something on the saxophone to get the sound.
In the end, Ham's saxophone improvisation was used as the song's solo.
15. "Okay" by Kendrick Lamar
Yes, the saxophone can also sound good in rap and hip hop.
On his 2015 track "Alright," Kendrick Lamar mixes saxophones into instrumental sections.
But the song also features saxophone licks as the backdrop to Lamar's verses.
Lyrically, "Alright" deals with personal struggles and ideas of hope, and the song's chorus has been sung multiple times at Black Lives Matter protests.
Overall, it's a powerful song, both musically and lyrically; no wonder it was voted the best song of the year by many publications.
16. „Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)“ de Katy Perry
"Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)" was a huge hit when it was released.
It's upbeat, youthful, and uplifting, and it's a perfect song to get you ready for a night out, especially since it will remind you to take it easy.
However, this pop hit wouldn't be the same without his saxophone solo.
Additionally, the music video features guest appearances by Kenny G, a famous smooth jazz saxophonist.
Although Kenny G doesn't play the saxophone on the recording, it's great to see him in the video.
17. „On the brink of glory“ by Lady Gaga
Another famous pop song with saxophone is "The Edge Of Glory" by Lady Gaga.
The song is taken from Lady Gaga's amazing studio album Born This Way.
In short, it's a lively and energetic track with lyrics that revolve around the final moments of life.
The song really sounds like a celebration of life and the saxophone lines complement it perfectly.
The sax on the song was played by Clarence Clemons of The E Street Band.
18. "Sir Duque" de Stevie Wonder
"Sir Duke" is a famous popfunky musiccomposed by Stevie Wonder, a true living legend.
This is by far one of the best saxophone songs out there.
In addition to saxophone licks, the song also features trumpets and a rhythm that can be associated with both funk and jazz.
Ultimately, Stevie Wonder wrote the song as a tribute to Duke Ellington, a jazz icon who changed jazz history.
So in a way, Sir Duke is a celebration of jazz music.
19. "Born to Run" by Bruce Springsteen
Even if the saxophone isn't the most important instrument in the "Born To Run" song, it's hard to imagine this middle section without it.
The saxophone solo was performed by Clarence Clemons.
Regardless, the song deserves a place on this list of the best songs for saxophone.
After all, "Born To Run" is an American anthem and one of the greatest rock songs of all time.
20. "I Can't Go For That (I Can't Do It)" by Daryl Hall and John Oates
"I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)" is a catchy '80s song with saxophone.
In terms of radio play, it is one of theThe greatest hits of all time.
After all, Hall and Oates were a huge hit back then.
Furthermore, the song became even more popular after Simply Red used the sample in their hit "Sunrise".
21. "Too Hot" by Kool & The Gang
In 1979, R&B funk group Kool & The Gang set out to make soft, soulful music.
And with "Too Hot" they succeeded in the sensitive and romantic soul style.
Finally, including the saxophone is always a safe bet.
"Too Hot" also caught the attention of rapper Coolio, who covered the song for his second studio album Gangsta's Paradise.
22. "Here's That Rainy Day" by Stan Getz
Stan Getz's rendition of "Here's That Rainy Day" sounds very soft and relaxing.
It is a famous saxophone song first recorded in the 1950s.
Many artists have covered the song over the years, including Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald.
So when you need a relaxing soundtrack for a rainy day, you can't go wrong with this smooth saxophone classic.
23. "Modern Love" by David Bowie
And when you need something to lift your spirits, listening to Bowie and "Modern Love" is always a good idea.
The song is featured on David Bowie's legendary rock album Let's Dance, released in 1983.
Needless to say, the music is an absolute delight and the sound of the saxophone fits the bill.
Even Tony Visconti, Bowie's longtime producer, has admitted that he thinks "Modern Love" is the best song on the album.
24. "Deacon Blues" de Steely Dan
One song that appears frequently on saxophone playlists is Steely Dan's "Deacon Blues."
It's a somewhat eclectic song, largely because the song's title was inspired by American football player Deacon Jones.
However, the music is fresh and catchy and has a fantastic saxophone solo.
Also, we can hear a bit of the David Bowie vibe.
25. "Just the Two of Us" by Grover Washington starring Bill Withers
"Just The Two Of Us" is one of those upbeat songs that is sure to make your day.
But it's also very relaxing, and that bright sax part softens it as well.
Lyrically, it's a song about love and dedication and the fact that anything is possible if you put your mind to it, or if you try.
In short, we are talking about a classic from the 80s and one of the most famous saxophone songs.
26. "Urgent" from foreigner
Foreigner's "Urgent" features funky vibes, powerful vocals, and an incredible sax solo.
The saxophone on the song was played by Motown artist Junior Walker.
The song was released in 1981 and was declared the best foreign song of all time by many publications.
Whether you agree or not, the power (and coolness) of the saxophone in music is undeniable.
27. "Only the Good Die Young" by Billy Joel
"Only The Good Die Young" is a well-known upbeat saxophone song.
Billy Joel was inspired by his high school crush named Virginia Callahan, and you can hear that in the youthful vibe of the song.
The saxophone part of the song was performed by Richie Cannata, an American saxophonist, producer, and studio owner.
28. "Autumn Leaves" by Nat King Cole
and if you takesaxophone lessonsand you want to expand your repertoire, learning jazz standards is always a good idea.
"Autumn Leaves" is a definite classic and an easy song to play on the sax, even if you're a beginner.
The music was composed by Joseph Kosma and has lyrics by the French poet Jacques Prevert.
It has been covered by many artists over the years, but is still primarily associated with American jazz icon Nat King Cole.
29. "Mono de bronce" by Beastie Boys
Many of the best saxophone playlists include the Beastie Boys' "Brass Monkey" to show just how versatile the saxophone really is.
This quirky hip-hop song was a hit in the '80s; He may not have made it to the top 10, but he's been a part of countlessparty playlists.
Although it may be unexpected, the saxophone plays an important role in this song.
30. "Singing Bird" by Kenny G
If you like slow, soulful saxophone songs, this is for you.
Kenny G's "Songbird" has a great sax hook and is one of the most famous instrumentals overall.
In 1987, the song became the first instrumental to reach the top five on the Billboard Hot 100 chart (since 1985's "Miami Vice Theme").
Therefore, the song focuses entirely on the saxophone and the unmistakable playing of Kenny G.
31. „Caribbean Queen (No More Love On The Run)“ de Billy Ocean
"Caribbean Queen" is a typical '80s pop song; you can feel it in the sound.
Adding to the iconic '80s vibe, the song features Billy Ocean's excellent vocal performance and a bluesy saxophone solo.
The saxophone solo was performed by Vernon Jeffrey Smith, an American saxophonist, producer, and singer.
32. "Just Friends" by Charlie Parker
Another notable performance by Charlie Parker is his rendition of "Just Friends", a popular jazz standard.
The song was written by John Klenner in 1931 with lyrics by Sam M. Lewis.
And it's been covered many times by different artists, but Charlie Parker's version definitely stands out.
After all, he was one of the most influential saxophonists.
33. "She Works Hard for Money" directed by Donna Summer
"She Works Hard For The Money" was released in 1983 and quickly became a huge hit.
It's part of Donna Summer's highest-grossing album of the decade.
So it was a life-changing hit, and the song certainly stands the test of time: it's still fun and danceable.
Musically, the song marked the rise of the new wave style mixed with post-disco and funky rhythms.
In addition to the guitar solos, the saxophone naturally also plays an important role in the composition.
34. "Slave" de los Rolling Stones
Compared to many Stones hits, "Slave" is a rather slow and mellow song; contrary to its thought-provoking title.
However, the Stones know how to write a good rock-blues number, and this song is proof of that.
The Who's Pete Townshend provided backing vocals while Sonny Rollins contributed his incredible saxophone playing.
35. "It's okay in New York if you like saxophones" from Fear
"New York's Alright If You Like Saxophones" was released in 1982 and was successful thanks to its unexpected mix of genres.
It is basically a punk rock song, but it also contains distinctive saxophone licks associated with jazz-style music.
However, the song is considered one of the most notable songs with saxophone.
Well, after listening to it, it certainly is hard to forget.
36. "One Step Further" by Madness
And the same goes for "One Step Beyond": the music video intro is hard to forget.
Anyway, the music is very catchy and lively, and the saxophone plays an important role in it.
The Madness version is a cover: the song was originally written by Jamaican ska singer Prince Buster.
37. „Tequila“ de The Champs
"Tequila" by The Champs probably has one of the most memorable saxophone melodies in music history.
It has become so simple and yet so popular.
In general, the music is a mix of surf rock, Latin music, 1950s rock 'n' roll, and blues, and it still sounds great.
It was recorded in the 1950s and has been a major part of pop culture ever since.
38. "River" by Duran Duran
"Rio" is Duran Duran's signature song and one of the most popular songs of the 1980s.
The band explained that Rio is a metaphor for the United States and the song expresses a desire to succeed there.
Well, they certainly managed to make their dreams come true.
39. "Prelude to a Kiss" by Duke Ellington
"Prelude To A Kiss" is an old ballad composed by Duke Ellington.
The song was recorded in the 1930s and there have been many versions and interpretations of the song over the years.
It is also a perfect tune to practice and improve your saxophone technique and improvisation skills.
But it's no less comforting for a lazy listening session on a rainy Sunday afternoon.
40. "Time of My Life" by Bill Medley and Jennifer Wernes
"Time Of My Life" is by far one of the most popular songs with saxophone solos.
The song was featured in the legendary 1987 film Dirty Dancing and has become a timeless classic.
"Time Of My Life" won several awards, including the Oscar for Best Original Song.
And the prominent saxophone part of the song was played by the brilliant soloist Gary Herbig.
41. "Us and Them" machen Pink Floyd
Another Pink Floyd song with saxophone is "Us And Them", the longest song on The Dark Side Of The Moon album.
The first verse is about going to war, and the song continues to touch on themes of social unrest and discrimination.
Musically, it's a progressive rock song that contains elements of jazz (here comes the saxophone).
The saxophone part on the recording was played by Dick Parry.
42. "Just As You Are" by Billy Joel
"Just The Way You Are" is a 1977 saxophone romance song.
The song was a huge hit when it was released and won Grammy Awards for Record of the Year and Song of the Year that year.
After all, the saxophonist on the song is Phil Woods, a well-known alto saxophonist and jazz musician.
43. "Maneater" de Hall & Oates
As mentioned above, Hall & Oates were a popular duo in the 1980s.
And "Maneater" is probably one of his biggest hits.
The song reached number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1982 and remained at the top for several weeks.
The saxophone was played by Charles DeChant, an American saxophonist and keyboardist known for his collaborations with the famous duo.
44. The Stooges' "Fun House"
The saxophone complements this rock song by The Stooges very well.
The saxophone part was handled by Steve Mackay, who also added some improvisation.
'Fun House' is taken from the band's album of the same name; although the album was initially unsuccessful, it eventually gained many fans.
45. "Yakety Sax" de Boots Randolph
What better way to end than with this iconic saxophone tune?
"Yakety Sax" is one of those saxophone tunes that everyone knows.
Thanks to its humorous and whimsical tone, it has been used numerous times in comedic interludes and soundtracks.
The song was composed by Boots Randolph, but it also became Benny Hill's signature song.
All in all, "Yakety Sax" is one of the most popular saxophone songs of all time.
Best Saxophone Songs - Final Thoughts
As you can see, thesaxophoneIt is such a versatile tool.
You can hear it on rock hits, jazz standards, and even hip hop songs.
With that said, our list of the best saxophone songs is pretty diverse too, but that also means there's something for everyone.
If you're a saxophone student looking for inspiration or just enjoy your sound, we hope you've found something you enjoy!
The best songs for piano.
best acoustic guitar songs
And with good reason: Careless Whisper is one of the most famous saxophone solos of all time.What is the most popular sax? ›
The Alto Saxophone is the #1 type in terms of worldwide sales. It has become very popular due to the size and versatility of tone. The Alto is used in all types of musical scenarios, from jazz to classical.What is the most complex saxophone song? ›
At a head-spinning pitch of 286 beats every minute, backed by a chord progression that demands the utmost level of preparation and performance, the Giant's steps by John Coltrane, recorded in 1959, is touted as the ultimate challenge in the history of jazz.What are the 4 most commonly used saxophones? ›
- soprano saxophone (highest pitched)
- alto saxophone (most common beginner instrument)
- tenor saxophone (common choice, especially in jazz)
- baritone saxophone (lowest pitch)
The alto saxophone is easier to play than the soprano saxophone, and so it is a good choice for beginners. A simple comparison of the length of the soprano and alto saxophones shows that they are about the same, 70 centimeters long.Who is the best sax player today? ›
- Chris Potter.
- Melissa Aldana.
- Joshua Redman.
- Donny McCaslin.
- Miguel Zenón.
- Greg Osby.
- Seamus Blake.
- Kamasi Washington.
The saxophone is used in a wide range of musical styles including classical music (such as concert bands, chamber music, solo repertoire, and occasionally orchestras), military bands, marching bands, jazz (such as big bands and jazz combos), and contemporary music.What is a cool song for alto sax? ›
Songs include: Another Brick in the Wall · Billie Jean · Dust in the Wind · Easy · Free Bird · Girls Just Want to Have Fun · Hey Jude · I'm a Believer · Jessie's Girl · Lean on Me · The Lion Sleeps Tonight · Livin' on a Prayer · My Girl · Piano Man · Pour Some Sugar on Me · Reeling in the Years · Stand by Me · Sweet ...What sax is best for rock? ›
Tenor is the usual saxophone for rock, and it makes very little difference what make. You just need a good one as with any style of music.What is a famous piece of music written for the saxophone? ›
Ingolf Dahl's Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Wind Orchestra is one of the most celebrated concerti for the instrument.
One such solo, James Coltrane's sax solo over his composition, Giant Steps, is thought to be one of the most complex, virtuosic and inventive solos ever played.Why is sax so easy? ›
Is saxophone hard to learn? In terms of learning the saxophone, it's one of the easiest instruments. The scales run up and down the keys, making it perfect for beginners or people who are switching from the piano or other woodwind instruments with similar technique.What is the most popular saxophone in jazz? ›
With its rich and warm tones, and its relatively lightweight body, the Tenor Saxophone is considered the mainstay instrument in the genre, and has been widely associated with some of the world's most popular jazz musicians such as John Coltrane and Charlie Parker.Who was the fastest sax player? ›
Jazz saxophonist Johnny Griffin, who played with stars such as Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane, died, aged 80, Friday July 25th, at his home in western France.Who is the famous saxophone player in the 80s? ›
In the 1980s, smooth jazz saxophonists such as Kenny G (Kenny Gorelick, born 1956, soprano, alto, tenor), Bob Mintzer (tenor) and David Sanborn (born 1945, alto, soprano) played a radio-friendly style of fusion called smooth jazz. Other notable smooth jazz saxophonists include Dave Koz, Jeff Kashiwa, Brandon Fields.Who was a famous saxophone player in the 70s? ›
Extremely popular in the 70s and 80s, Grover Washington Jr. is credited with having inspired greats such as Kenny G and Steve Cole. Another incredibly versatile musician on this list, he could also expertly play the alto, tenor, soprano, and baritone saxophones.What is the deepest sax? ›
In terms of size and weight, the contrabass is an absolute giant. The baritone saxophone is considered to be rather big and unwieldy – it's not something you'd want to carry around on foot for long – but the tubing that makes up a contrabass is twice the length of a baritone!What is a small sax called? ›
The sopranissimo saxophone (also known as the piccolo or soprillo saxophone) is the smallest member of the saxophone family. It is pitched in B♭, one octave above the soprano saxophone.What age should you start sax? ›
We typically recommend seven or eight as the minimum starting age for saxophone lessons. Alto saxophones are best suited for younger students due to their size, roughly two feet in length. The alto sax is also the most popular type of saxophone for beginners, due to its compact size and lower weight.Is it easier to play alto or tenor sax? ›
For younger players, I always recommend they learn to play the alto saxophone because it's easier to manage. It's smaller, and it's lighter. It's easier to carry and handle. If you're a smaller person, you might find the alto suits you better too.
Saxophone is simply an easier instrument than clarinet overall, and is more commonly used in rock music. It's the natural choice. That being said, oboists often find clarinet easier because the embouchure is a bit firmer, which they're used to.Who is considered the best tenor sax player? ›
John Coltrane is not only perhaps the most influential tenor saxophonist of all time, he is also one of the most influential musicians of all time.How much is a good sax? ›
Beginner saxophones usually range in cost from $800 to $2,700. Intermediate, or step-up saxophones usually range in cost $2,000 to $3,000 and entry level pro saxophones (still largely played by advanced students) around $3,000 and up.Who are two of the most important jazz saxophonist playing today? ›
There are so many great tenor sax players today. Aside from past masters such as Rollins and Shorter there's a legion of younger “post bop” players such as: Chris Potter, Donny McCaslin, Kamasi Washington, Walter Smith 111, Ben Wendel among others. Try any one of these for a great listen.Is playing saxophone a skill? ›
This skill is developed over several years and requires a lot of practice. So, to really answer your question, “Is the saxophone hard to learn?” … The truth is, certain people will have an easier time learning the saxophone than others. But, everyone will need to practice!What do you call a man who plays a saxophone? ›
saxophonist. noun [ C ] /sækˈsɒf. ən.ɪst/ us.What to call someone who plays the saxophone? ›
Word forms: saxophonists
A saxophonist is someone who plays the saxophone.
Groove Jam (From Fortnite) - Saxophone Version - song and lyrics by Groove Jam, Video Game Dances, Fortnite Game Music | Spotify.What pop song has a saxophone? ›
Never Tear Us Apart - INXS. Careless Whisper - George Michael. Maneater - Hall & Oates. Edge of Glory - Lady Gaga.What is a cool song on alto saxophone? ›
Songs include: Another Brick in the Wall · Billie Jean · Dust in the Wind · Easy · Free Bird · Girls Just Want to Have Fun · Hey Jude · I'm a Believer · Jessie's Girl · Lean on Me · The Lion Sleeps Tonight · Livin' on a Prayer · My Girl · Piano Man · Pour Some Sugar on Me · Reeling in the Years · Stand by Me · Sweet ...
- Right Here WaitingSaxophone Dreamsound.
- Two HeartsStarlite Saxophones.
- Reach OutSaxophone Dreamsound.
- Get Outta My Dreams, Get into My CarStarlite Saxophones.
- ManiacSaxophone Dreamsound.
- GhostbustersStarlite Saxophones.
- Don't Dream It's OverSaxophone Dreamsound.
- Say Say SaySaxophone Dreamsound.
Although there are many saxophone brands used by professional saxophonists, the two most popular are Selmer and Yamaha. Selmer saxophones have a long tradition as being the favorite of many professional performers, especially the Selmer Mark VI model, which was manufactured from 1954 through 1973.