You probably don’t know who Timmy Cappello is, but you’ve seen his work if you’ve ever seen a movie or TV show with a sexy saxophone player in it.
In 1980, classically trained musician Timmy Cappello quit drugs and took up bodybuilding and scored a gig playing saxophone in Carly Simon’s band. Fans, particularly female ones, took a shine to Cappello, because the muscle-bound saxophonist performed in very little clothing. During a show in Boston, the typically reserved Simon led a g-string-clad Cappello around the stage on a dog leash.
After Simon, Cappello went on to accompany Tina Turner on the road and in studio—that’s Cappello who played the big saxophone solo in Turner’s 1985 hit “We Don’t Need Another Hero.”
He also spent the decade fronting a band called The Ken Dolls and working as an actor, primarily bit parts on crime dramas such as Miami Vice and The Equalizer. But his most famous role, and the reason why we’re talking about him in 2014, was in the 1987 teen vampire movie The Lost Boys. In it, a heavily greased up Cappello plays his sax and swings his hips while performing “I Still Believe.”
Cappello continued to act, record scores for TV shows, and tour, notably as part of Ringo Starr’s All Starr Band. But that Lost Boys performance continues to haunt him. Online, he’s the inspiration for countless parodies, known largely as “the Sexy Sax Man.” Jon Hamm of Mad Men played a Cappello-like swarthy saxophonist with magical powers on Saturday Night Live. A Brazilian man named Sergio Flores filmed a series of viral videos in 2011, in which he plays the sax riff from Wham!’s “Careless Whisper” unexpectedly in public places such as fast food restaurants and classrooms.