HOMAGE TO THE EIGHTIES
Eighties music is a freak of nature. It will never be known as an influential time in music history. But regardless, people still love it. Bands like The Killers and Franz Ferdinand bathe in the aural delights of the eighties. But our love for eighties music seems to be based more on nostalgia than on its contribution to music.
Duran Duran knew how to make hits, but no one ever talks about them changing the course of rock and roll or pop history. The Police were great too, but their sound was more of an amalgam of influences rather than an influence itself.
If you allow your mind a quick recollection of rock music's truly influential acts, you'll notice a gaping, 10-year hole. The timeline goes something like this: The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Neil Young, The Sex Pistols, Joy Division, Kraftwerk - then we hit fast-forward on our walkmans through a sea of synth pop and glam rock - until we arrive at Nirvana.
But there is one thing that the eighties will always be known for besides cheesy pop tunes: the saxophone solo. Few bands brave the sax solo these days, and that's a shame. Billy Ocean took it on in 1985. "Caribbean Queen" is at once a sign of all that is right and wrong about eighties music.
Here are ratings on a bunch of saxophone solos from the eighties. I don't necessarily agree with the ratings, but it's fun to reminisce...