Accessibility links

Breaking News

Saxophonist 'Boots Randolph' Dies

Boots Randolph, a saxophone player best known for his 1963 hit "Yakety Sax," died July 3 in Nashville, Tennessee.

He was 80. He had suffered a cerebral hemorrhage June 25 and had been hospitalized in a coma.

Publicist and spokeswoman Betty Hofer said he had been taken off a respirator earlier Tuesday.

A Nashville nightclub fixture for 30 years, Homer Louis "Boots" Randolph recorded more than 40 albums, with 13 hitting the pop charts from 1963 to 1972. As a session musician, he played on Elvis Presley's "Return To Sender," Roy Orbison's "Oh, Pretty Woman," Brenda Lee's "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree," and songs by Buddy Holly, Johnny Cash, REO Speedwagon, and others.

In a 1990 interview with the Associated Press, Randolph said "'Yakety Sax' will be my trademark. I'll hang my hat on it. It's kept me alive. Every sax player in the world has tried to play it. Some are good, some are awful."

He credited TV's "Benny Hill Show" with reviving the song, more than 20 years after it was on the charts. Born in Paducah, Kentucky, Randolph grew up in rural surroundings and learned to play music with his family's band.

He said he didn't know where or why he acquired the nickname "Boots," although his web site at the time of his death suggested it was to avoid confusion because he and his father shared the same first name. Survivors include his wife, a son, a daughter, and four grandchildren.