Rock Songs With Saxophone

Nothing sounds quite like the saxophone. It’s one of those timeless instruments that can transform any song into a heartfelt ballad, a swinging groove, or a great rock hit.

Finding the best rock songs with saxophone required listening to great music, which wasn’t a chore. Check out the results in the list below.

“Born To Run” by Bruce Springsteen

Song Year: 1975

“Born To Run” has one of the most easily-recognizable saxophone solos in the history of saxophone solos. The great Clarence Clemons delivers a powerful performance that gets better with each listen.

The tune is one of those classic rock hits that’s vaguely about growing up and things changing but could also be applied to many different situations. The saxophone that supports the driving rhythm makes it that much more enjoyable.

“Back In Time” by Huey Lewis and the News

Song Year: 1985

Huey Lewis and the News wrote a few hit songs for the film series Back To The Future, and this is one of them. It’s not the one that most people know, but it’s the one that has an epic saxophone part.

Johnny Colla is the man behind the magic, bringing a delightful saxophone solo to the forefront of a tune supported by a sick horn section.

“Turn the Page” by Bob Seger

Song Year: 1973

Bob Seger’s heartbreaking song from 1973 opens with a lonesome, moaning saxophone solo that you recognize immediately. Before Seger even begins singing, you’re captivated by the story-telling prowess of Alto Reed.

The song is all about a man who lives a lonely life, traveling from show to show, bearing the brunt of criticisms and abuse from his audience. The thing that makes the song work is the whining saxophone in the background. 

“The Edge of Glory” by Lady Gaga

Song Year: 2011

Only one song on this list is from the 21st century, and it’s “The Edge of Glory” by Lady Gaga. This song resembles old rock songs of ages past, and it utilizes our favorite instrument: the saxophone.

This song works so well with the saxophone rocking in the background because Lady Gaga got none other than the legendary Clarence Clemons to play for her.

“Jungleland” by Bruce Springsteen

Song Year: 1975

From the opening piano riff to the very first words, Springsteen takes his audience on a rollercoaster of emotion with his excellent rock ballad. It resembles the rhapsodies of old, and it tells a heart-wrenching tale of growing up on the streets of the East Coast.

With Clarence Clemons on the saxophone, it’s easy to see why the saxophone breaking about three-quarters of the way through the song is so potent and memorable.

“You Can Call Me Al” by Paul Simon

Song Year: 1986

If you watch the music video of this classic from Paul Simon, one of the first things you’ll notice is a saxophone sitting beside him. That’s just one of the ways that Simon features a saxophone in this song.

The stellar horn arrangement also includes a saxophone in the background. If you’re going through a midlife crisis, a good saxophone riff might be just the thing to bring you back.

“Moondance” by Van Morrison

Song Year: 1970

Few people had the soft, sultry, romantic voice that made Van Morrison a pleasure to listen to. Not only are his songs vocally exciting and catchy, but the instrumental background is always well-arranged.

“Moondance” feels like an old-school jazz or swing tune, and the piano, clarinet, and saxophone all contribute to that feeling. It makes you want to get up on the dance floor with your special someone and practice all the old moves.

“Urgent” by Foreigner

“Urgent” by Foreigner

Song Year: 1981

This list could be filled to the brim with songs from Foreigner. So much of the band’s music featured saxophone solos and background riffs. Without the saxophone, it’s hard to imagine Foreigner would be the same band.

The song “Urgent” really delivers on its message, largely thanks to the stunning work of the band’s saxophonist. This is one of those actual rock songs that helped define the 1980s.

“Just The Way You Are” by Billy Joel

Song Year: 1977

Billy Joel appears on this list with one of his most lovely songs, featuring the saxophone in all its romantic glory.

Mark Rivera played with Joel for over 40 years, showing his unbeatable talent on songs like this one.

It’s worth noting that the saxophone adds to the flowing feel that makes this song so pretty. It’s the perfect love song if you need something to woo your special person.

“Brown Sugar” by The Rolling Stones

Song Year: 1971

A list of rock songs would not be complete without at least one song from the Rolling Stones. Arguably one of the most famous rock bands in music history, the Stones left their mark in more ways than one.

This song makes particularly good use of the saxophone and delivers a nice, driving rhythm with the supporting electric guitar that’s hard to beat. With Mick Jagger’s vocals at the center of all, “Brown Sugar” is a real rock classic.

“Walk on the Wild Side” by Lou Reed

Song Year: 1972

The 1970s saw a slew of rock musicians taking on tough topics and putting them against the backdrop of excellent, hard-driving tunes.

Lou Reed takes a slightly different approach in this tale about streetwalkers, cross-dressers, and the crazy parts of life on the street.

The saxophone adds an eerie element to this Lou Reed classic. It’s almost like the soundtrack to the darker side of the 1970s.

“One More Night” by Phil Collins

Song Year: 1985

Phil Collins sings with so much soul and vigor that every one of his songs comes across like an epic ballad. On songs like this one, you feel like he’s restraining himself.

The saxophone lends itself to communicating the groove, soul, and tenderness of this particular tune. Without it, “One More Night” would sound completely different.

The saxophone paired with the piano, the background singers, and Collins’ tender vocals makes this one of the sweetest recorded songs.

“Us and Them” by Pink Floyd

Song Year: 1973

Pink Floyd made waves in the music world, especially with tunes like “Us and Them.” Not only does the saxophone play a critical role in the song’s rhythm, but it also helps set the tone.

The song has a strong jazz influence and is slightly quieter and more laid back than other hits from Pink Floyd. It’s all about how pointless war is and how far-reaching its destruction can be – even reaching those not on the battlefield.

“You Belong To the City” by Glenn Frey

Song Year: 1985

Glenn Frey made a name for himself for years as one of the key members of the famous band, the Eagles. You’ve seen a few songs from them on this list already.

Then Glenn Frey did what so many frontmen struggle to do: he made it as a successful solo artist. He proved he could make it on his own with hits like this one.

The song opens with a notable saxophone riff. It takes off from there, leading to an excellent rhythmic masterpiece.

“Hip To Be Square” by Huey Lewis and the News

Song Year: 1986

Huey Lewis and the News could fill this entire list. With expert saxophonist Johnny Colla playing for them, it’s no wonder all their songs have a great saxophone feature.

This song is arguably one of their most famous. Apart from “Power Of Love,” they made a name for themselves with this hit.

The saxophone part does more than its fair share to make this song a real jam.

“Scenes From An Italian Restaurant” by Billy Joel

Song Year: 1977

Another great hit from Billy Joel is his rhapsody that tells the tale of two folks meeting for dinner to talk about the old days. The song transports you back in time to their younger days.

Mark Rivera, on the saxophone, works as the song’s backbone. Next to Joel’s piano, nothing is quite as prominent as that beautiful moaning saxophone.

“(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life” by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes

Song Year: 1987

As far as love songs go, this classic has to be one of the best-known from the 1980s. Made famous in cinema, it quickly became a favorite among all generations.

The saxophone popping out staccato notes in the background makes the whole song jive easily from one verse to the next. If it doesn’t make you want to dance, nothing will.

Top Rock Songs With Saxophone, Final Thoughts

It’s not hard to find great saxophone parts in rock music. There were some great saxophonists in the heyday of rock and roll, and they made their mark with tunes like the ones on our list.

Check out more of the best rock songs on our website, and let us know if we missed anything!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *