Boots Randolph, whose spirited saxophone playing on songs like the Benny Hill theme "Yakety Sax" made him one of Nashville's top musicians, died Tuesday. He was 80.
Randolph suffered a cerebral hemorrhage June 25 and had been in a coma. He was taken off a respirator earlier Tuesday, said Betty Hofer, a publicist and spokeswoman for the family.
Randolph played regularly in Nashville nightclubs for 30 years, becoming a tourist draw for the music-obsessed city, much like Wayne Newton in Las Vegas and Pete Fountain in New Orleans.
He recorded more than 40 albums and spent 15 years touring with the Festival of Music, teaming with fellow instrumentalists Chet Atkins and Floyd Cramer.
As a session musician, he played on Elvis Presley's "Return to Sender," Roy Orbison's "Oh, Pretty Woman," Brenda Lee's "Rockin' Round the Christmas Tree" and "I'm Sorry," REO Speedwagon's "Little Queenie," Al Hirt's "Java" and other songs including ones by Buddy Holly and Johnny Cash. He also appeared on stage with Elvis in 1961 in his two Memphis charities shows and his benefit concert in Hawaii for the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial.
In 1963 he had his biggest solo hit, "Yakety Sax," which he wrote.