Day 147: A song that features your favorite wind instrument.
“Don’t Answer Me” – The Alan Parsons Project
I love horns. If a song has horns, I’m that much more likely to like it. I’m not sure why, it just is. But my favorite wind instrument isn’t actually a horn. It’s a reed. And that reed would be the saxophone. If I had to be specific, I’d most likely say the alto sax.
I remember writing many years ago in a live show review that there’s always a place for sax in rock music, and I’ll stand by that statement to this day. There’s just something about the timbre of the instrument that lends itself to rock music. No matter the mood. “Smooth, but with a bit of growl” is the best way I can describe it.
And apparently, lots of people agree with me, because it shows up all over the place. So much so that I didn’t have to think hard to come up with lots of songs. In fact, it was harder whittling the list down.
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The Alan Parsons Project (the band, not Dr. Evil’s moon laser) had a string of hits in the early 80s. Their best-known song may be “Eye In The Sky,” but there were certainly many others.
Alan Parsons was the sound engineer on Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon among other things. He knows his way around a studio and a mixing board. One of the interesting things is, even though the band is named after him, he doesn’t sing. Eric Woolfson did a lot of the vocals, although there were other artists that provided lead vocals over the course of their albums.
I first came upon “Don’t Answer Me” on MTV. It comes from the 1984 Ammonia Avenue album. The video had a clever comic book-like motif, reminiscent of Dick Tracy in a way (minus the two-way wrist radio that at one time seemed like complete science fiction), that initially caught my attention. But the song stuck with me much more than the video.
At the time, I always hoped to hear it more on the radio, but another single from the album, “Prime Time,” seemed to get all the attention, at least on the rock stations I listened to. Much to my chagrin. I’m still not sure why I didn’t just buy the album way back then, but it actually took me another 25 years to get around to getting it.
The song (and to a lesser extent, the early part of the video’s storyline)—thanks to a combination of minor and sustained chords—has a sad feeling to it that hit home with me. In fact, it always kind of ripped my heart out. And the mournful sax solo toward the end of the song did nothing to lighten the mood.
This song came out right about the time I started getting really interested in (and rejected by) girls, so perhaps the sad feel of the song hit home for me in that way. I don’t know. Years of therapy and shock treatments have thankfully removed most of my memories from those years.
Alright, so I’m making that up.
In reality, the memories remain, despite years of therapy and shock treatment…