Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Surely One for the "He Will Be Missed By Me" File of 2011: Gerry Rafferty, April 16, 1947 – January 4, 2011

God, it's been too long between posts. I need to get my shit together. It's quite sad that the last thing I left you with was a U2 song. Shit.

In the midst of all the other stuff that's been going on I haven't had the mind or wherewithal to mention the passing of one of my favorite songwriters, the one and only Gerry Rafferty. Many people probably just went "Huh? Who?". His passing didn't get much press. Many people know his hits, but many don't the name of the man who created them.

Much like some Harry Nilsson and Captain Beefheart, two of my previously mentioned faves, Rafferty had a very shaky personal life and psyche that kept him from maintaining the kind of presence in the spotlight that guarantees "legendary" status. He couldn't handle live shows. That's gonna put a crimp in anybody's legacy, especially when they're doing songs like Gerry's. But man, could he write a song.

Most people know him for two things: his hit "Stuck in the Middle With You" as part of the duo Stealers Wheel, and his SMASH hit "Baker Street" from his solo record "City to City". That one, with its blaring sax parts, has been a radio staple for the better part of four decades. As for "Stuck", yeah, Tarantino gave it a nice bump again with "Reservoir Dogs" but think of it this way - if Rafferty and his partner Joe Egan hadn't written that song would THAT SECNE have half the impact?

As for the rest of Rafferty's stuff, I can remember the moment I fell in love with it. Looking for the record that "Baker Street" was on, I picked up a copy of "City to City". When I threw it on I was greeted with one of the best album openers I've ever come across. I'm damn near tears listening to it right now as I write this. Ladies and gentlemen, "The Ark"...


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