"Steve himself told me the story about how on a wet, cold Wednesday evening i... more
"Steve himself told me the story about how on a wet, cold Wednesday evening in early 1984 he received a call through his usual ‘fixer’ to attend the studio ASAP. Session musicians do not have much idea what they are going to be recording until they arrive, and this was the case for Steve and another saxophonist who was ahead of him in the cue. As usual there was a lot of waiting around and the guy infront of Steve threw in the towel saying, ‘it’s only going to be some crappy B side anyway so I’m off’. Steve waited and then discovered that the solo wasn’t that easy to play in the written key, as his old Selmer Mark VI tenor didn’t have a top F# key. So, the engineer slowed the tape down so that Steve could record the solo a semitone lower than intended. Once the tape was put back to the normal speed, a ‘unnatural’ saxophone sound was created that sounded a bit like an Alto in the Paul Desmond vibe, but lacking a bit more depth and darkness to the sound. George Michael had just arrived at the studio and said ‘that’s the one, that’s the sax solo I want’. This could be down to that whole 80?s synth concept where sounds became increasingly ‘manufactured’, or just that George never recognised it was ‘wrong’. Either way, the song became a worldwide hit and the sax solo ranks alongside ‘Baker St’ in the pop saxophonists repertoire."