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Tim Cappello (born May 3, 1955),[2] also credited as Timmy Cappello,[1] is an American multi-instrumentalist, composer and vocalist. He is primarily known for his saxophone work supporting Tina Turner in the 1980s and 90s,[3][4][5] as well as for his musical performance in the 1987 vampire film The Lost Boys.[6][7]

Tim Cappello
Born (1955-05-03) May 3, 1955 (age 64)[1]
Silver Lake, New York, U.S.[1]
Occupation(s)Saxophonist, percussionist, keyboardist, vocalist, composer, actor
Years active1977–present
Associated actsRingo Starr, Tina Turner

He is notable for his muscular physique, his sexually provocative movements during his performances and for his tendency to perform shirtless, with his skin oiled and with his hair in a ponytail.[2][4][6][8]


Early lifeEdit

Cappello was born and grew up in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Harrison, New York, which, at the time, had a White Plains, New York, postal service address.[2][1] The youngest of three children, his Sicilian father was a local conductor and music teacher.[2] Cappello started music lessons at age 4.[2] When he was 15 years old, Cappello dropped out of high school and was accepted at the New England Conservatory of Music, playing both drums and keyboards for his audition.[2] He later studied saxophone under the tutelage of jazz musician, Lennie Tristano.[2]


Cappello studied intermittently with Lennie Tristano over a four-year span between touring with performers such as musician Eric Carmen and comedian Billy Crystal.[2] He played saxophone for Peter Gabriel on his albums Peter Gabriel [1] (1977)[9] and Peter Gabriel [2] (1978)[10] in addition to touring with Gabriel.[11] Cappello also toured with Garland Jeffreys in 1978, playing both saxophone and keyboards.[12] After struggling with heroin addiction, Cappello quit the drug "cold turkey" in 1979 and began bodybuilding in 1980.[2] Cappello toured with Carly Simon later that same year, once appearing on stage in a leather g-string, as well as chains and a dog leash by which Simon pulled him onto the stage.[2]

From 1981 to 1982 Cappello fronted his own pop band in New York City called The Ken Dolls[2][13]—a band that included drummer J.P. "Thunderbolt" Patterson (also of The Dictators and Manitoba's Wild Kingdom)[14] and Joe Carroll, a composer/producer who is president and founder of the Manhattan Producer's Alliance (ManHatPro).[13] Cappello's sexual stage presence was further cultivated during his work with The Ken Dolls—performing in a style dubbed "porn pop",[2] Cappello was known to perform in a g-string.[14]

In 1984, Cappello was hired by Tina Turner as her keyboardist and saxophonist.[2] Recording and touring with her over several years, Cappello's work can be heard on Turner's tracks "We Don't Need Another Hero" and "One of the Living" from Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985) in addition to appearing in the music videos for both singles.[2] Cappello performed on the 1993 soundtrack album What's Love Got to Do with It, playing saxophone as well as singing Ike Turner's vocal parts in an updated version of the song "Proud Mary".[15] Cappello toured with Ringo Starr in 1992 and 1999 as a member of his All-Starr Band.[3][16][17]

At 6 feet tall, and reportedly 215 lbs in 1985,[2] Cappello's size and appearance helped garner him roles in television and film. In 1987, he appeared in a musical performance in the film The Lost Boys where he both sang and played saxophone in a cover version of the song "I Still Believe" by The Call.[6][7] As an actor, he appeared on the television shows The Equalizer and Miami Vice in 1987, as well as in the films Hearts of Fire with Bob Dylan in 1987 and Tap with Gregory Hines in 1989.[1]

Cappello has composed music for film and television. He has worked with director Carole Langer on three occasions, composing the score for her 1987 film Radium City[1]—a documentary about the women who worked for the Radium Dial Company in Ottawa, Illinois in the 1920s[18]—for her four-hour documentary series about the Rat Pack for the A&E channel, and for her 2001 TV documentary Lana Turner... a Daughter's Memoir.[1] Cappello also composed the score for the A&E Biography episode titled "Jerry Lewis: The Last American Clown" which first aired in 1996.[1]

Cappello played saxophone on the Netflix variety show The Break with Michelle Wolf during a segment called "Saxophone Apologies" during which Wolf addressed the lack of apologies from both Bill Clinton and the press for their treatment of Monica Lewinsky in relation to the Clinton–Lewinsky scandal.[19]

In 2018 Tim was featured, along with singer Indiana, on the British Synthwave band GUNSHIP's single "Dark All Day" from the album of the same name. The album rose to number 1 in the Electronic charts in the US, UK and Canada.

He also released his 1st solo album, Blood on the Reed, in 2018 and has plans to tour supporting the album starting in early 2019.

In popular cultureEdit

Actor Jon Hamm portrayed a pony-tailed, shirtless saxophonist named "Sergio" in an SNL Digital Short titled "The Curse", which aired on Saturday Night Live (SNL) on January 30, 2010.[6][20] In the short, Andy Samberg's character is cursed by Sergio, who appears out of nowhere playing his saxophone at inopportune times.[6][20] Sergio's dancing and appearance resembled Cappello's performances in the film The Lost Boys and in the video for Tina Turner's 1985 single "One of the Living" from the Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome soundtrack.[2][6][7][20]

In 2011, a video of a saxophone player interrupting college classes, and other public scenes, while repeatedly playing the saxophone riff from the 1984 pop ballad "Careless Whisper", was circulated on social media websites such as BuzzFeed[21] and Urlesque.[22] The saxophonist in the video, also known as Sexy Sax Man, is shirtless, long-haired and is named Sergio Flores, echoing both Cappello's image and that of Jon Hamm's character in the SNL parody.[21][23] Paste magazine ranked the video #3 on their list of the 10 best viral videos of 2011.[24]


Studio albumsEdit

  • Blood on the Reed (2018)

Guest appearancesEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Timmy Cappello on IMDb
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Fricke, David (November 29, 1985). "Tina's 'Tarzan' not just a muscle man". The Palm Beach Post. West Palm Beach, Florida, United States. Rolling Stone Magazine. p. 37. Retrieved December 7, 2018 – via
  3. ^ a b Wild, David (July 7, 2011). "Ringo Starr, Confident and Sober: Rolling Stone's 1992 Feature Story". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 30, 2012.
  4. ^ a b Crain, Zac (May 26, 2005). "The Legend of Billy Hicks. Or, why sax player is no longer a viable occupation in rock and roll". Dallas Observer. Retrieved September 30, 2012.
  5. ^ Cericola, Kate (August 23, 1987). "Two summer soundtracks are keeping turntables warm". Star-News. p. 5G. Retrieved September 30, 2012.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Kreps, Daniel (February 1, 2010). "Jon Hamm Breaks Out Saxophone, Ham and Buble On "SNL"". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 30, 2012.
  7. ^ a b c Chaney, Jen (July 31, 2012). "'The Lost Boys' turns 25: A list of 25 great things about the '80s vampireflick". Washington Post. Retrieved September 30, 2012.
  8. ^ "Dynamic Tina turns out class act". The Pittsburgh Press. August 24, 1985. p. B7. Retrieved September 30, 2012.
  9. ^ Peter Gabriel [1] (Media notes). Peter Gabriel. Interscope Records. 1977. Archived from the original on October 1, 2015. Retrieved June 5, 2018.CS1 maint: others (link)
  10. ^ Peter Gabriel [2] (Media notes). Peter Gabriel. Interscope Records. 1978. Archived from the original on October 1, 2015. Retrieved June 5, 2018.CS1 maint: others (link)
  11. ^ Friend, Lonn (July 11, 2006). Life on Planet Rock: From Guns N' Roses to Nirvana, a Backstage Journey through Rock's Most Debauched Decade (eBook). Random House Digital. p. 103. ISBN 0767922085. Retrieved September 30, 2012.
  12. ^ Provick, Bill (June 1, 1978). "Mid-size format works well. Fire low, but Jeffreys still 'pretty good'". Ottawa Citizen. p. 77. Retrieved September 30, 2012.
  13. ^ a b "About the Manhattan Producer's Alliance". Archived from the original on November 18, 2012. Retrieved September 30, 2012.
  14. ^ a b "J.P. "Thunderbolt" Patterson: Punk Rock Renaissance Man". Modern Drummer. October 18, 2011. Retrieved September 30, 2012.
  15. ^ Browne, David (June 18, 1993). "Sliver;Poetic Justice;What's Love Got to Do with It;Posse;Last Action Hero;Made in America;Super Mario Bros". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 30, 2012.
  16. ^ Fricke, David (April 3, 1992). "Tina's 'Tarzan' not just a muscle man". The New York Times. Retrieved September 30, 2012.
  17. ^ Campbell, Mary (April 2, 1999). "Performing is still a thrill for Ringo Starr". The Albany Herald. The Associated Press. p. D1. Retrieved September 30, 2012.
  18. ^ Maslin, Janet (September 26, 1987). "Radium City (1987) Film Festival; A View of the Radium Dial Horror". The New York Times. Retrieved September 30, 2012.
  19. ^ Wilstein, Matt (June 8, 2018). "Michelle Wolf: Bill Clinton Owes Monica Lewinsky an 'Oral' Apology". The Daily Beast. New York City, New York. Retrieved June 10, 2018.
  20. ^ a b c Zulkey, Claire (January 31, 2010). "Jon Hamm/Michael Bublé". A.V. Club. Retrieved September 30, 2012.
  21. ^ a b Damboise-Taplin, Jade (March 12, 2011). "Sexy Saxman Serenade". BuzzFeed. Retrieved September 30, 2012.
  22. ^ Hathaway, Jay (March 28, 2011). "Sexy Sax Man Trolls Everyone in 'Careless Whisper' Saxophone Prank". Urlesque. AOL. Archived from the original on January 21, 2013. Retrieved September 30, 2012.
  23. ^ Johnson, Jr., Billy (March 14, 2011). "Sexy Sax Man 'Careless Whisper' Prank Nears 1 Million Plays". Yahoo Music Canada. Archived from the original on January 5, 2013. Retrieved September 30, 2012.
  24. ^ Moore, Bo (December 13, 2011). "The 10 Best Viral Videos of 2011". Paste. Retrieved September 30, 2012.

External linksEdit