RIP, Bobby Keys

The Rolling Stones, Delaney & Bonnie, Eric Clapton, Joe Cocker, George Harrison, Dr. John, Graham Nash, Humple Pie, Harry Nilsson, The Faces, B.B. King, Barbra Streisand, John Lennon, Carly Simon, Gary Wright, Ringo Starr, John Martyn, Donovan, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Martha Reeves, Etta James, Warren Zevon, Leo Sayer, Eric Carmen, Billy Preston, Jim Carroll, Joe Ely, Sheryl Crow & Trisha Yearwood.

That list represents just some of the artists Bobby Keys played his sax with over the course of his career. If there had been no stand-out tracks in that body of work it would still have been impressive. You don’t get the call to play on so many records and perform with so many very talented people without being worthy of that call. But there are not just stand-out tracks, but moments where the hook, the thing that stands out in the song and nudges it from good to great is that amazing saxophone playing Bobby did.

Without the sax, Honky Tonk Woman isn’t the same song:

And John Lennon’s Whatever Gets You Through The Night absolutely hangs off Keys’ sax the way a circus tent hangs off the pole in the middle:

Had Me A Real Good Time, by the Faces, once the sax kicks in, sounds like its name:

If I had to pick one song… if someone said, what was Bobby’s finest moment, I’d give it to the middle break in this song by the Stones:

Rest in peace, Bobby. You will be missed.

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