Gerry Rafferty, 1947-2011
Gerry Rafferty was a gifted Scottish singer-songwriter. He had two major hits in his career, the first of which was "Stuck in the Middle with You" as a member of the group Stealers Wheel, and the second of which was "Baker Street" as a solo artist. For a more detailed look at his music, I'll refer you the review of his greatest hits CD Days Gone Down that I posted here in 2006. I suggested at the time that he was probably living quietly somewhere enjoying his low profile, having been largely out of the music business since the early 80s, but I guess the truth is never that simple. Rafferty suffered from a crippling drinking problem that led to divorce, a series of embarrassing public incidents that became tabloid fodder, and ultimately, liver and kidney failure. He passed away yesterday, at the age of 63.
Rafferty was one of the first Scotsmen to enjoy major chart success, but there was more to his career than the two big hits. He was one of the most eclectic performers in rock, mixing in elements of folk (both "folk" as its most conventionally defined and the folk music of his native Scotland) and jazz. And as Days Gone Down shows, he had quite a few good songs in his repertoire. Still, "Baker Street" stands out for the unforgettable sax part played by Raphael Ravenscroft.
It's a great shame that alcoholism wrecked his personal reputation and then claimed his life as well. That old story gets repeated far too often. But Gerry Rafferty accomplished a lot of good things in his life as well, and leaves behind an enviable legacy of music. Hopefully people will look on that and remember him fondly.
"Stuck in the Middle with You"