‘Baker Street’ singer Gerry Rafferty dies

01.04.11 7 years ago

Gerry Rafferty, best known for his hits “Baker Street” and “Stuck in the Middle With You,” had died. He was 63.

The Scot passed away after a long illness, according to U.K. newspaper The Guardian. Rafferty first came to prominence in 1972 as part of Stealers Wheeler, whose “Stuck in the Middle With You” had a resurgence in the ’90s after Quentin Tarantino featured the tune in “Reservoir Dogs.”

His biggest hit came six years later with “Baker Street.” Early in his career, he and comedian/actor Billy Connolly were in a folk group called The Humblebums.

Oddly enough, I heard “Baker Street” a seemingly disproportionate amount when I was in North Carolina for Christmas, especially for a song more than 32 years old.  Its poignancy only grows the older I get through lines like “”You used to think it was so easy/but you’re trying, you’re trying now/another year and then you’d be happy/just one more year and then you’d be happy/but you’re cryin’, you’re cryin’ now.” It was a beautiful reminder that everyone goes through tough times and, as much as we’d like to pretend that things will be better in the future, there’s no guarantee, especially if our dreams only remain thoughts and not actions. The listener knows the singer’s dream “about buyin’ some land” is never going to come true and the only temporary and false respite is found in the bottom of a glass. Plus, Raphael Ravenscroft’s sax solo is one of the best in pop music. I’d put it right up there with Michael Brecker’s sax solo in Paul Simon’s “Still Crazy After All These Years.”

In later years, Rafferty suffered from issues with alcohol as well as contract issues with Stealers Wheel.

For a more indepth look at Rafferty’s career, read this moving piece by his former manager.

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