Homer Louis "Boots" Randolph III (June 3, 1927 - July 3, 2007) was a saxophonist best remembered for his lovably zany "Yakety Sax" (1963). Over his long career, he was a prolific session musician who made important contributions to the Nashville sound, a more pop-influenced and commercially-oriented form of country music that originated during the mid 1950s.
Born in Paducah, Kentucky, Randolph began his musical training at an early age and learned to play many instruments, including the trombone, ukulele, and vibraphone, before dedicating himself to the saxophone at age 16. He began his music career in World War II as a member of the United States Army Band. After completing his military service in 1946, he played professionally in Kentucky and various surrounding states for a number of years before relocating to Nashville.
Randolph debuted on the charts in 1963 with his signature tune, "Yakety Sax," which he co-wrote with James Q. "Spider" Rich. This rapid-fire, jazz-infused instrumental became a Top 40 hit and was later used as the theme song for the long-running British TV comedy series, "The Benny Hill Show." Randolph's hits, which continued on both the Pop/Rock and Adult Contemporary charts through 1970, also included "Hey, Mr. Sax Man" (1964) and saxophone covers of "The Shadow Of Your Smile" (1966), "Temptation" (1967), "Gentle On My Mind" (1968), and "Anna" (1970). He also recorded over 40 albums, many of which made the Billboard 200.
Randolph was one of an esteemed group of session musicians known as the Nashville A-Team famous for both their technical proficiency and versatility who earned wide acclaim during the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. He can be heard on numerous Elvis Presley movie soundtracks and Chet Atkins recordings, and also on such oldies classics as Brenda Lee's "I'm Sorry" (1960) and "Rocking Around The Christmas Tree" (1960-on), Elvis Presley's "Return To Sender" (1962), Roy Orbison's "Oh, Pretty Woman" (1964), and Al Hirt's "Java" (1964).
Randolph toured for many years with Chet Atkins, Floyd Cramer, and other fellow top musicians as a part of The Master's Festival of Music. During the 1980s, he was a regular on the TV comedy/country music variety show, "Hee Haw," performing as a member of The Million Dollar Band. He remained active as a performer to well into the 2000s.
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- Yakety Sax 1963
(This instrumental song later also became a hit for Chet Atkins (1965). (Alternate title: "Yakety Sax (Axe)"))
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