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Boots Randolph Obituary

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (AP) - 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.

In 1963 he had his biggest solo hit, ''Yakety Sax,'' which he wrote.

'''Yakety Sax' will be my trademark,'' Randolph said in a 1990 Associated Press interview. ''I'll hang my hat on it. It's kept me alive. Every sax player in the world has tried to play it. Some are good, some are awful.''

''Yakety Sax'' was the name of one of his gold albums and was the theme song for the TV program ''The Benny Hill Show'' more than two decades after the tune was on the charts.

Randolph continued to perform a limited schedule until his death. He had a dozen 2007 performances scheduled across the United States.

''Every time I pick the horn up, it's more intriguing to me,'' he said in 1990. ''It satisfies my desire to do whatever I do.''

Survivors include his wife, a son, a daughter and four grandchildren.

Funeral services were incomplete.

Copyright © 2007 The Associated Press
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Boots Randolph, whose spirited saxophone playing on "Yakety Sax" endeared him to fans for years on Benny Hill's TV show, died Tuesday. He was 80. Mr. Randolph suffered a... Read Obituary
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