Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Late Gerry Rafferty

Today has been a sad and embarrassing day for me. I have just discovered that one of my

lifelong musical heroes, Scots musician Gerry Rafferty passed away in January 20011.

Rafferty began his career with fellow Scotsman Billy Connolly in a folk duo called “The Humblebums,” who reached moderate success within Scotland. Rafferty and Connolly parted ways amicably as Connolly began to forge what would be a world-conquering career as a comedian, actor and, later, documentary maker.

Rafferty formed the band “Stealers Wheel,” whose single ‘Stuck In The Middle With You’ which became a worldwide hit upon release in 1972. It would re-emerge in the Quentin Tarantino movie “Reservoir Dogs.” Some time after this, Rafferty began a solo career with his album “City To City” and the single of the same name becoming one of his better-known musical efforts.

His biggest hit, however, was the haunting “Baker Street.” To my mind, as a musician, the song is nothing short of perfect. The lyrics, instrumentation and vocal delivery is timeless. The song is a great example of Rafffertys ability to create outstanding melodies which, in turn, lend themselves to great instrumentation.

Unfortunately, Rafferty had a big skeleton in his closet, namely alcohol. Coming from “The Humblebums” to the worldwide recognition of “Stealers Wheel,” then “Baker Street” & “City To City” gave Rafferty no time to ‘escape’ the demands of the big-time, unlike many of his musical acquaintances.

In an interview with Billy Connolly shortly after Raffertys death, Connolly broke down and spoke of a meeting that he had with Rafferty some ten years earlier and was astounded that he downed 10-12 large brandies during the meeting. Knowing that one should only ask or tell a possible problem drinker about their concern only once, Connolly did so. Rafferty brushed of the remark so Connolly left the subject at that.

I believe that Rafferty had more music in him but the drink proved too strong.

He died peacefully at home with his daughter by his bedside.


  1. Great blog. Very insightful and concise. I wasn't aware that Rafferty was an alcoholic for most of his life & yet he could produce the quality of music that he did.

  2. thanks Bob, for making me aware of the passing of Gerry Raffferty, a great musician and Scots soul brother. took advantage of your youtube link to listen to his classic, "Bakers Street". was delighted to be reminded of what a brilliant singer/songwriter Gerry was; and, what a wonderful band he had, with their memorable and tasty licks.