Courtney Love has offered up her opinion on the music of New Jersey’s favorite son, Bruce Springsteen. While prefacing her assessment with the assertion that “he’s a nice guy,” Love took to her biweekly video diary and emphatically declared her problem with the Boss’ music is that “saxophones just don’t belong in rock ‘n’ roll.”
(The video diary was later taken down without explanation.)
From Bob Seger's Silver Bullet Band to X-Ray Spex and myriad points in between, the saxophone has a long history with rock 'n' roll. While the horn in question’s place in the pantheon of rock has taken a back seat in recent decades, we here at TODAY feel that the much-maligned (at least by Love) saxophone has earned its spot as a bona fide rock staple.
Want proof? Here are five iconic rock tracks featuring gloriously gratuitous saxophones.
'Walk on the Wild Side' by Lou Reed
Would Lou Reed’s colorful tale of liberation, reinvention and transgression be half as compelling without Ronnie Ross’ signature saxophone fade out?
'Us and Them' by Pink Floyd
Dick Parry’s mournful saxophone solo helped turn Pink Floyd’s “Us and Them” into the soulful centerpiece of their opus "The Dark Side of the Moon," one of the most acclaimed (and highest selling) albums in rock history.
'A Night Like This' by The Cure
Though more revered for their high hair, smeared lipstick and gothic anthems of existential angst, The Cure inched toward the mainstream on 1985’s "The Head on the Door" by employing Ron Howe’s swooning sax solo to the tail end of their (surprise) heartbreaking single “A Night Like This,” with end results that cross the line from melancholy into magical.
'Urgent' by Foreigner
Motown legend Junior Walker single-handedly turned Foreigner’s 1981 ode to lusty booty calls into radio gold with the help of his hook-laden horn-honking. It wouldn’t be half the song it is without it.
'Mirror in the Bathroom' by The English Beat
While the saxophone played a huge role for many New Wave bands, the secret weapon of The English Beat, Saxa (born Lionel Augustus Martin), made the ska band legendary with his contributions to their 1980 debut album, "I Just Can’t Stop It." It featured this incendiary ode to narcissism and one of the horn player’s most haunting solos.
Alex Smith is an editor and producer for TODAY.com. His favorite sax solo is on "Fun House" by The Stooges.