1. Careless Whisper — George Michael
Very little needs to be said about this George Michael masterpiece — the song reached number one in twenty-five countries. Ask anyone to name “the saxophone song” and this is what they will say. The song has gone on to be covered by countless artists, and served as inspiration and material for the YouTube classic Sexy Sax Man.
2. Baker Street — Gerry Rafferty
This twice gold-certified mega-hit from Scottish songwriter Gerry Rafferty started what is known as the “Baker Street Phenomenon” — after the song’s explosive rise to popularity, there was a massive surge in saxophone sales. Saxophonist Rafael Ravenscroft, who played the iconic riff, stated that it is in fact out of tune.
3. Who Can It Be Now? — Men at Work
Better known for the Australian national anthem ‘Down Under’, Men at Work get inside the mind of a paranoid shut-in in this 80’s pop classic. Unlike the others, the saxophone in this track has a particular ‘talkative’ quality which gives the song its unique sound.
4. Let’s Stick Together — Bryan Ferry
Bryan Ferry’s take on this 12-bar-blues classic from 1962, also recorded with its alternate lyrics by Canned Heat (as ‘Let’s Work Together’) features bouncy saxophone throughout, and a toe-tapping solo.
5. Midnight City — M83
The only entry on this list from this millennium and the lead single from their sixth album, M83’s ‘Midnight City’ combines a great retro feel with a catchy — if screechy — hook, and ties it all together with some subtle sax.