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Saxophone Solos – What Do These 5 Songs Have in Common?

By September 20, 2013 December 20th, 2017 saxophone articles, saxophone solos

sax-solosWhat Do These 5 Songs Have in Common?

Yes, they all have an awesome sax solo in them,

but do you know what all these solos have in common?

Money (Pink Floyd)

Logical Song (Supertramp)

Urgent (Foreigner)

Brown Sugar (Rolling Stones)

The Wanderer (Dion)

The pentatonic scale, the pentatonic blues scale

They are constructed using the simple 5 and 6 note blues scales that I base my improvisation lessons on… here on the site in the Improvisation section, and the ones that make up the improve eBook course How To Play Killer Blues & Rockin Sax Solos With 7 Notes or Less.

I thought it would be interesting and possibly inspiring for some to hear solos you’ve probably heard countless times and not even realized this.

When you do realize it, and then discover that these scales are very easy to play and theoretically simple to understand, then you are a lot closer to being able to play them, plus many others yourself.

The truth is, if I had the time I could sit here all day long and make a list of sax solos as long as my arm (and yours!) that fit into this category, but I’m sure you’ll get the picture with these 5 quite varied solos that I picked at random.

Remember, you have all the tools here to start your improvisational journey and do what most can’t, and that is to play a good improv solo over just about any piece of music. Total beginners at this can start with the lessons in the Improvisation section at the link above. These start with just 1, 2, and 3 note solos so very easy. To really continue and dig deeper into blues and rock soloing, there’s even more information, exercises, examples etc in the Killer Blues eBook course which has the link above as well.




Since this post was written I have written and recorded a some new songs which include a few of the above solos

so check them out and download them. They include the entire sheet music and play-a-long backing track:


The Wanderer

Brown Sugar

Brown Sugar is featured in the How To Play Killer Blues With 7 Note Or Less and is studied and dissected and actually only uses 5 notes. The link for this course is above.


  • jake jake says:

    Of the many sax solos I love, the one that really inspired me to pick up the sax was the solo from Urgent. I have been dying to play that solo. Finally getting the high F to start flowing after a year. After reading your e-book and looking at scales, it is amazing how many solos are derived from these various scales we are learning. Can’t wait until it starts coming together and flows easier. Thanks

  • Tim56 Tim56 says:

    Johnny: Outstanding tunes to use! Do you have printed music for these? I don’t have your E book, but now I will get it. Tim

    • Johnny Johnny says:

      Hey Tim, Brown Sugar is in the eBook and has several video’s on it to dissect the solo so you can see just how it relates to that particular scale. The rest of these songs were just picked at random so no, I don’t have any notes for them.

  • Lou Canning Lou Canning says:

    Hi Johnny I submitted a comment & it had disappeared

    • Johnny Johnny says:

      When a comment is submitted it sits in a waiting list for approval. This is done so we don’t get spammers.
      Just post your comment, click the submit button and forget about it for a while…next time you come back it’ll probably be there.

  • Leave it to Johnny for preserving those awesome songs that we all love so much. HEY EVERYBODY: You should head over to Johnny’s site on johnnyferreira.com and check out the new song that he did “Sax Twist” He did all of the backtrack music on his MAC cpu and I tell you, it sounds so good, you would think he was up on stage playing and someone recorded his performance. And his Sax playing on that song?!? Man oh man. Go check it out!

  • Hey Johnny, I actually started going through what you have to teach on the improvisation link, just checking it out. I will get heavily into learning it though once I finish your ebook How to play Saxophone. I’ve learned half of the major scales-I do mean really learning them, up the scale, down the scale, staccato, slurring, tenuto, etc.. Thanks Johnny!

  • Lou Canning Lou Canning says:

    Lou Canning

    Hi Johnny love the site I no u are a busy man & I have bought most of your songs & sheet music u put up love the Blue but I find it frustrating when u go up to the higher octave to p,ay the tunes & itโ€™s off putting trying to mimic you when you do this,I would love u to do a few lessons on the Ornaments & embellishments u talk about & do in sons like Fly Me To The Moon,wonderful world & mack the knife,night train & Ainโ€™t no Sunshine Iโ€™m sure I would have no problem paying u for that lesson or vid u would put up, I asked this of u b4 but u said u were to busy,I can c that the site is getting bigger especially the new part were guys & girls are putting up there own vids,the songs I mentioned above are very well known sing & if u put it out there I think us beginners would pay for your time,just if u could slow down things in a video as how to do the little things that matter.i need to ask u a ? About mack the knife I bought last night from ur site as I said I contribute to u as I love what u do.will get the sheet music & ask the ?s if u donโ€™t mind please respond to my ? Thanks Lou

    September 20, 2013Reply

  • Hey Johnny, i’m from the Netherlands and i would like to buy youre ebook but i don’t want to use paypal because of the privacy, i have heard too many stories of acounts that were lost and other shit stuf about paypal. Is there another way like I-deal to pay the amount and have me sent the book ? You’re doing great, love everything !! X Lida

  • Tim56 Tim56 says:

    Lida: I have been using paypal for years in the states. I have not heard of the problems you take of? So, I would give it a try. I have done many tunes on Johnny’s site and have had no problems. Good luck. Tim

  • Hi Lida, I too have bought almost all of Johnny’s sheet music/backtrack bundles and have never had any issues when paying with paypal. Same goes with his ebooks.

  • Hey Johnny: I’m really looking forward to playing solos like this! Is that what “How to Play Killer Blues” will teach me how to do? Is the “Improvisation” lessons kind of like what I will be learning in How to Play Killer Blues revolves around? I haven’t looked at the Killer Blues ebook yet, as I didn’t want to try to get ahead of myself and start learning things that I wasn’t ready for. But I’m definitely progressing towards that point. It’s only a matter of time!

    • Johnny Johnny says:

      Yes exactly, that is my point. All these solos are comprised of the simple 5 and 6 note scales I teach in Killer Blues.
      The Brown Sugar solo is the one we dissect and study really closely but all these fall into the same category…that was the point of this post.

  • Johnny Johnny says:

    Michael, you can have a look at the scaes in Killer Blues. Now that you know the regular major scales, see how they relate and then learn the blues and pentatonic scales in the book to start getting a feel for them.

  • Hey Johnny: I already started looking through it this morning- I couldn’t help myself; what can I say? ๐Ÿ™‚ I was looking through the improvisation lesson here on the home page and have had a tune beaming in my head using the scale for Eb sax that you teach there/using the backtrack that you have that goes along with that lesson. That scale is easy–I actually started to take the major scales I’ve learned in the ebook this week and play them like a Pentatonic Scale, 1,2,3,5, and 6, just to experiment–a light bulb went off in my head, not only why you teach the major scales first, but also the things I could do with all of this! What I’m going to go ahead and do is go through the improvisation lesson-all of it-on the home page, break down the lesson so that I really learn it, write down on sheet music this tune beaming in my head using the scale for Eb sax and put something on the blog with the backtrack that you have along with that lesson. Learning notes on a page/playing those songs is great fun for sure, but this would be great to show everyone what even beginners, like myself, can do with these simple scales. This will also be a great intro to get my feet wet for your next book too.


    hi johnny
    just paid for e book, can t find it on my computer
    thanks for your time.
    my email is daleyhoward@gmail.co uk

  • paul kelly paul kelly says:

    Hi johnny
    just downloaded tequila with the backing track
    and I must say thank you. A great tune to play
    I will try and get a vid of myself on here playing it
    and I will download your ebook. Many thanks dude.

  • Hey Paul Kelly, I just did Tequila in the member’s videos about a month ago,and the last few notes of the solo are slightly run-in together and has a slight pause in the high F because of being sick with allergies, you can see in the solo I played for Tequila the truthfullness of what Johnny says in this subject of the blog about Improvisation and how it can help you to do things on your Saxophone that others can’t do–and it’s a really cool feeling to say the least ๐Ÿ™‚ His ebook on “How to Play Killer Blues” will give you the understanding on HOW these great players can take a scale and come up with these killing Saxophone solos. Johnny’s instruction gave me the understanding I needed to break down the solo of Tequila and learn to play it. I have been working on breaking down other solos in Alto and Tenor and I will be uploading to the “Member’s videos”here on the blog in a couple of weeks one of Johnny’s songs that he did on Alto Sax, which is very popular and has a fantastic solo. People just want to be learning to play songs all the time and learning how to Improvise will take your playing to a whole new level ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Craig Scott Craig Scott says:

    If I can someday play Clarence Clemon’s solo from “Jungleland” I’ll die a happy man.

    • Johnny Johnny says:

      You can do it Craig! It;s like all his other solos, basically just using the 5 notes of the pentatonic scale (1,2,3,5,6) Which, since that song is in the key of F most of the sax solo is using F,G,A C,D. Now that you know that (if you didn’t realize it before) start taking his solo one bit a t a time and copy what he does… 90% is using those notes.

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