9 Reasons Why Courtney Love Is Wrong About Saxophones In Rock ‘n’ Roll
SHE really is fun to have around, but Courtney Love isn’t exactly known for being right very often. While talking about Bruce Springsteen, she said she liked him, but didn’t really like his music and had a leave a show she’d been taken to.
Fair enough. Not everyone like Bruce Springsteen. And his shows go on for roughly 378 hours. And those cut-off shirts he wears need sorting out too.
However, while talking about The Boss, she said that “saxophones don’t belong in rock ‘n’ roll.”
Slag Springsteen all you want, but don’t attack saxophones! That’s an appalling slight on an instrument that, if used correctly in rock ‘n’ roll, is one of the most hair raising instruments in the pantheon of pop. It’s the acoustic equivalent of a fuzz guitar! It’s the instrument that can freestyle over your rigid rock!
With that, we’re here to give you some examples of hot sax action in rock records. We’re purposefully avoiding anything that could be lumped in with soul or reggae, because catholic musos don’t like to mix the two (as seen with people moaning about hip hop and soul acts being inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, despite the fact that ‘rock ‘n’ roll’ is surely an attitude, rather than a definitive sound)..
Let’s hear it for saxophones! It’s not all Kenny G noodling y’know?
The Sonics ‘Have Love Will Travel’
In this track, the sax appears, swaggering into view as lively as it is drunk sounding. The Sonics, one of the prototype punk bands from a time when punk wasn’t even a phrase that had been coined, are grade A rock ‘n’ roll, who counted a sax player as a permanent member in their band.
The Champs ‘Tequila’
Ace rock ‘n’ roll instro ‘Tequila’ would be nothing without the sax. Replace the sax motif with any other instrument and you’ve got an inferior record on your hands.
Lou Reed ‘Walk On The Wild Side’
Lou Reed is a man much valued by the punk scene and from his famous ‘Transformer’ LP, stand-out single ‘Walk On The Wild Side’ has some lovely sax work, which gives the song a certain late-night amphetamine edge.
Little Richard ‘Long Tall Sally’
The true king of rock ‘n’ roll (think it’s Elvis? Gimmebreak!) Little Richard wasn’t afraid of someone parping wildly all over his red-hot records. In ‘Long Tall Sally’, the sax goes crazy and a generation of British beat kids decided that they wanted to make crazy rock ‘n’ roll too.
Big Jay McNeely ‘Psycho Serenade’
One of the most demented rock ‘n’ roll records ever cut, Big Jay McNeely knew how to make a sax sound evil. Responsible for one of the finest music-related photographs ever taken, McNeely and his band go ten types of crazy, complete with sax, on the wonderful ‘Psycho Serenade’.
The Stooges ‘Fun House’
Iggy and his Stooges were the godfathers of American punk music. If you cut them, they’d bleed rock ‘n’ roll all down their grotty jeans. So what they say, goes. And on their infamous ‘Fun House’ LP, you’ll find a lungload of sax.
David Bowie ‘Young Americans’
Bowie wasn’t afraid of throwing the kitchen sink at his work, and in ‘Young Americans’, he showed that you can be pretty smooth with the sax and still make something good.
Rolling Stones ‘Can’t You Hear Me Knocking?’
The Stones knew that a wild sax can make your records sound more demented, more drunk and generally hotter. On ‘Sticky Fingers’, they cut ‘Can’t You Hear Me Knocking?’ which, thanks in part to the crazy saxophone, sounded like an amazing drunk and raucous night out.
X Ray Spex ‘Art-i-ficial’
British punk certainly didn’t shy away from a sax, as shown in the near atonal ‘Art-i-ficial’ by the tremendous X Ray Spex. Jarring noise rock was pinned together by some hamfisted sax playing. Without it, X Ray Spex could well have found themselves Just Another Punk Band.