I have always loved the sax solo on Spooky, the 1967 hit song by Classics IV. Tenor saxophonist Mike Sharpe has great tone, develops his solo nicely from simple melodic ideas, and adds just a bit of grit when he cracks the high note at the end. Apparently, the cracked note that I love was something that Sharpe did not do intentionally. In fact, Sharpe insisted on re-recording his solo, but producer Buddy Buie refused to let him. It is interesting to ponder whether the song would have been as successful, and become one of those famous saxophone songs, had Sharpe been allowed to do another take.
Here is another interesting bit of saxophone trivia: Sharpe originally recorded Spooky as an insturmental, which was a regional hit in the south for Liberty Records in 1966. Sharpe, credited under his real name of Mike Shapiro, and Harry Middlebrooks penned the song, and it appeared on the LP The Spooky Sound of Mike Sharpe. It was not until 1967 that the song was re-recorded by Classics IV after Buie and guitarist James Cobb, who had the same publishing company as Sharpe, heard the tune, liked it, and added the lyrics. Cobb, incidentally, later formed the Atlanta Rhythm Section, along with Dean Daughtry and members of The Candymen, and recorded the song yet again in 1979.
Here is the original recording, as it appeared on the The Spooky Sound of Mike Sharpe:
And, of course, here is the version made famous by Classics IV:
“Just like a ghost, you’ve been hauntin’ my dreams, so I’ll propose on Halloween. Love is kinda crazy with a spooky little girl like you.” I hope you enjoyed this brief excursion into the Famous Saxophone Songs Archive. I would love to hear your comments. Happy Halloween!
I never knew that “Spooky” was originally an instrumental. I kind of like it as an instrumental. It has a mystique to it that I really like.