JazzTimes 10: Greatest Jazz Cameos on Pop Songs

Our choice of crossover moments to remember

Sonny Rollins on the Rolling Stones’ “Waiting on a Friend”
from Tattoo You (1981)

Perhaps the most incredible aspect of this guest appearance by the saxophone colossus is that he was uncredited on the cover of Tattoo You, even though he played not just on this tune but also on two others. Sonny confirmed the story that Mick Jagger danced in front of the saxophonist during the takes so that Sonny would get the rhythm and vibe – truly an indelible image. Sonny also explained that being left off the credits was his idea. “I was a jazz guy and I didn’t want to be known for playing with some rock and roll guys,” he told me. Of course, every serious jazz fan knew after hearing just a few bars that it was Sonny Rollins on those three cuts.

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Originally Published