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5 Facts in the Key of (Kenny) G

December 24, 2015

Kenny G is still a famous saxophonist, but he’s arguably more famous for his hair.

Kenny G with saxaphone

  • Kenneth Gorelick grew up in Seattle and became infatuated with the saxophone after watching a musician play one on The Ed Sullivan Show. He started taking lessons when he was 10 years old and later tried out for his high school’s jazz band.
  • Despite his pretty outstanding sax skills, Kenny enrolled at the University of Washington and studied…accounting. But, he kept playing with various local bands and in 1982 signed a deal with Arista Records.
  • His first five albums sold well and became staples of easy listening radio (and store speakers, and elevators, and while you’re on hold with customer service), but its his sixth album, Breathless (1992) that became the bestselling instrumental album of all time. To date it’s sold 12 million copies.
  • The musician also once set a world record in 1997 for playing the longest continuous note on a saxophone. Using a technique called circular breathing, in which he can inhale air and play at the same time, Kenny G maintained an E-flat for an astonishing 45 minutes and 47 seconds.
  • Kenny G is also incredibly popular in China. One of the reasons why? “Going Home,” a song recorded for a 1989 live album, is used to signal the end of business hours at train stations, shopping malls, health clubs, and other locations all across the country. However, Kenny angered many people in China when he posted photos on social media of a visit he made to the site of the 2014 Hong Kong Protests. He later apologized and said that he had no idea what was happening when he stumbled across the demonstrations.

Trivia Books

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