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Gerald Rafferty (born on April 16, 1947, in Paisley, UK, and died on 4 January 2011) was a Scottish singer-songwriter. In his early years, Rafferty earned money by the formerly illegal practice of busking on the London Underground. Poetically, his biggest hit, 1978's "Baker Street", discusses busking at a tube station and being a part of the street life. After working with Billy Connolly (now better known as a comedian) in an obscure outfit known as The Humblebums, he released his first solo album, called 'Can I Have My Money Back', in 1971. That collection of folk inspired tunes gained some notice for its deliberately 'old-timey' cover art.Read More...
In 1972, Rafferty and his old school friend Joe Egan formed the outfit Stealers Wheel, a group that proved beset by legal wranglings yet brimming with talent. They had a huge hit with "Stuck in the Middle With You", a pop/rock track deliberately aping the style of Bob Dylan that has had massive airplay for decades. That song also was immortalized in the infamous torture scene in the motion picture 'Reservoir Dogs', the film's soundtrack introducing the group to a new generation. Despite their knack for The Beatles-like melodic rock, Stealers Wheel disbanded in 1975.
Rafferty spent quite a while in a sort of forced legal limbo before he could record again, spending his time wisely as he developed his sound. In 1978, Rafferty cut a solo album, 'City to City', which would catapult him right into international stardom. Earning praise from many music critics, the release included the song with which he remains most associated: "Baker Street". Known for its gripping lyrics and haunting saxophone solo by Raphael Ravenscroft, the single reached #3 in the U.K. and #2 in the U.S. The album itself also received a boost as another single, "Right Down the Line", picked up major attention.
"Baker Street" has remained a mainstay of radio airplay for decades and popped up several times in popular culture, an example being its placement in the 'Good Will Hunting' soundtrack. Notable cover versions include a release by Undercover that also made the Top 3 in the U.K .singles chart in 1992. American rockers Foo Fighters also made their own version, swapping the saxophone solo for a guitar solo.
His next album, Night Owl, also did well, and the title track was a UK No. 5 hit in 1979. The follow-up single "Get It Right Next Time", made the UK Top 40.
Subsequent albums, such as Snakes and Ladders (1980), Sleepwalking (1982), and North and South (1988) all fared less well, due partly to Rafferty's general reluctance to perform live. "Don't Give Up On Me", from his 1992 collection On A Wing and a Prayer, is a much-featured oldie on BBC Radio 2.
With the Humblebums
First Collection of Merry Melodies (1969)
The New Humblebums (1969)
Open Up The Door (1970)
With Stealers Wheel
Stealers Wheel (1973)
Ferguslie Park (1974)
Right Or Wrong (1975)
Can I Have My Money Back? (1971)
City To City (1978)
Night Owl (1979)
Snakes And Ladders (1980)
North And South (1988)
On A Wing And A Prayer (1992)
Over My Head (1994)
Top SongsTotal plays on Last.fm over the last 6 months
- LyricsWinding your way down on Baker Street
Light in your head and dead on your feet
Well, another crazy day
You'll drink the night away
And forget about everything
- LyricsYou know I need your love
You've got that hold over me
Long as I've got your love
You know that I'll never leave
When I wanted you to share my life
- LyricsOut on the street I was talkin' to a man
He said "there's so much of this life of mine that I don't understand"
You shouldn't worry I said that ain't no crime
Cause if you get it wrong you'll get it right next time, next time.
You need direction, yeah you need a name
- LyricsNow the night train is waitin' to take me away
And I'm still feelin' guilty cause you're wanting me to stay
Well I know, how I know, it's harder on you
But you said it yourself, there's nothing else we could do.
When the wheels start turnin', takin' me through the night
- Baker Street - Edit - 50,526 plays
- Baker Street (Edit) - 51,933 plays
- The Ark - 41,356 plays
- Night Owl - 52,436 plays
- Waiting For The Day - 33,454 plays
- Whatever's Written In Your Heart - 35,005 plays