Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Boots Randolph

Boots Randolph performing at Nashville's Centennial Park in 1964.

Legendary Nashville saxophone player and session man Boots Randolph passed away this afternoon in a Nashville hospital. He was 80 years old.

Randolph did his best work in the 60's and 70's; he isn't particularly well-known to younger music fans. He's best recognized for his one big hit, "Yakety Sax", which was later used as the theme music for The Benny Hill Show. He gained respect as a member of Nashville's "A-Team" of session musicians, a group that included Chet Atkins and Floyd Cramer. Randolph can be heard on a number of Nashville-produced hits of the early 60's, including Elvis Presley's "Return To Sender" and Roy Orbison's "Oh, Pretty Woman". He even worked with REO Speedwagon on their cover of "Little Queenie" from their early classic LP R.E.O./T.W.O.

Uh, yeah, I met Boots Randolph once, too. Before the breast cancer, Mrs. S. managed a limousine company here - running a limo company in Nashville, the list of famous people she's met is even more impressive than mine. Her clients included Boots Randolph's management. At the time, Randolph did a regular theater show with Danny Davis, and when my parents came down for a visit, she got us free tickets for their show. After the show, Randolph and Davis came down to talk to us for a couple of minutes. Randolph and Davis were really closer to my parents' generation of musicians, and they were impressed that they got the chance to meet the two men.