Let’s face it, neither Beatles songs nor subsequent songs by former Beatles are noted for sax solos. Therefore, the Wings 1975 number one hit “Listen to What the Man Said” stands out for sure. Acclaimed saxophonist Tom Scott provided the soprano sax on this hit.
“Listen to What the Man Said” entered to the Top 40 on June 7, 1975, spending a total of eleven weeks in the Top 40. It hit number one for one week on July 19, 1975. The song from the forthcoming Venus and Mars album became McCartney’s fourth post-Beatles number one hit in the U.S. It was actually the band’s first single to appear on the Capitol label, as the previous single “Junior’s Farm” had been the last Wings 45 record on the Apple label.
“Listen to What the Man Said” was released under the moniker of “Wings”, as the previous five Top 40 chart entries were credited to “Paul McCartney & Wings”: “Sally g”, “Junior’s Farm”, “Band on the Run”, “Jet”, and “Helen Wheels”. Prior to these five songs released under “Paul McCartney & Wings”, the band’s first six Top 40 chart entries had been credited simply to “Wings”: “Give Ireland Back to the Irish”, “Mary Had a Littler Lamb’, “Hi, Hi, Hi”, “My Love” and “Live and Let Die”.
In addition to being a saxophonist, Tom Scott is both an arranger and composer. His father was film and television composer Nathan Scott, famous for composing the themes to the shows Dragnet and Lassie. Tom Scott definitely followed in his father’s footsteps as he composed the theme songs to the hit shows Starsky and Hutch and The Streets of San Francisco. In 1982 he collaborated with Johnny Mathis to write “Without Us” the theme song for the wildly popular 1980s sitcom Family Ties, which ran from 1982 to 1982. For the show’s first season (1982-1983), the theme song was sung by Dennis Tufano and Mindy Sterling. However, for the rest of the show’s run the theme song by Johnny Mathis and Deniece Williams, who ironically collaborated for the number one hit “Too Much, Too Little, Too Late” which topped the Billboard Hot 100 for one week in June 1978. Deniece Williams would go on to have have her own number one hit for two weeks in May/June 1984 with “Let’s Hear It for the Boy” off of the Footloose soundtrack.
In his various collaborations with Michael Jackson, Scott played the lyricon on the international 1983 number one hit “Billie Jean”. In addition to working on scores of tv and some major movies, his work as a session musician encompasses many hits and countless artists.
He was a founding member of The Blues Brothers but did not appear in the movies Blues Brothers and Blues Brothers 2000. He left over a pay dispute, but was able to re-join the band at a later juncture.
Tom Scott graduated in 1966 from Ulysses S. Grant High School in the Valley Glenn neighborhood of Los Angeles. Since the school’s opening in 1962, countless famous people have been among their graduates. Some of many famous grads are Tom Selleck, Mickey Dolenz, actor Barry Livingston, lead singer and founding member of Quiet Riot Kevin Dubrow, controversial journalist Megan Marshack, session drummer Jim Gordon, former California Lieutenant Governor Mike Curb, and many more. The school is the alma mater to members of the rock band Toto – Jeff Porcaro, Mike Porcaro, Steve Lukather , Steve Porcaro, and Joseph Williams; founding member and pianist Dave Paich attended nearby Chaminade Prep but played with his future bandmates in the Porcaro garage during his high school years. Of course, Toto had their February 1983 number one hit “Africa” in addition to many other hits.