When you think about saxophone’s role in rock music, whether you realize it or not, you probably think of Raphael Ravenscroft. The British Telegram reports that Ravenscroft, the man behind one of the most regonizable sax parts in the history of popular music, died over the weekend at age 60. The cause of death is suspected to be a heart attack.
Ravenscroft had a long and successful career in rock and pop, playing sax for artists like Pink Floyd, ABBA, and even sprinkled in some session work for Daft Punk. But he’ll forever be associated with the instantly unforgettable hook and solo from Gerry Rafferty’s 1978 smash “Baker Street” — if you think from the title that you don’t know it, trust us, you actually do — which ensures he will be heard and remembered for as long as there’s classic rock radio. (Or Simpsons reruns.)
Listen to Ravenscroft’s trademark performance below — which the late saxophonist actually found annoying, saying in a 2011 radio interview that to his ears, his part was “out of tune…by enough of a degree that it irritates me at best” — and also check out rapper Beenie Sigel’s underrated “Feel It in the Air,” which sampled Ravenscroft’s soulful hook to solo track “A Whole Lot of Something Going On.”
Compact Discs: Sound of the Future