63 years old. I think Baker Street might have been autobiographical.
"Grits is one of those country-boy words that is both singular and plural-like deer, elk and sheep. I think the singular is appropriate when there's a modifier that makes it clear one is talking about something specific. Like, 'Grits are good for you, but these here grits is tasty.'"~~Joe Wrabek
The Stealers Wheel song is among my small and cherished collection of original 45's from my childhood. For it to make it there (we were dirt poor) it had to hold extremely high esteem and I just saw that collection recently and thought about how Stuck in the Middle with You had made the grade. Baker Street was another song that takes me to an exact place on an exact day in my later childhood. (Actually, a bittersweet memory of doing my first self created paying job but also receiving a sad life lesson the end of that job.. so a real mixed bag that has stuck with me around that song and makes me that age instantly when hearing it in my mind.... amazing how much does that, for the better and worse and Gerry Rafferty and his music had that gift).
I haven't wondered to myself why folks like Gerry disappeared from the scene so completely after shining like a bright star and touching so many lives. I realize alchohol played a sadly stereotypical role, but he released music until 2000.. some day I want to write a book about how people lose that spark that plucks them from the masses and then deposits them back again often just as mysteriously. Anyone hear his last album in 2000? I wonder how it stacked up. Certainly Stuck in the Middle with you was his baby, but on Baker Street, the haunting sax work of the session player played the largest role.. though whoever made the decision of featuring that, perhaps Gerry or a producer, also nailed it.
He had a shorter than average life, but it had more ups than most.
Somehow I got his album "North and South" in the late 80'ies, and I listened to it all the time. I loved the rich texture and whole aesthetics of that album (which got moderate reviews). Songs like North and South and Shipyard Town just got to me, along with his haunting voice. And he featured a lot of guitars on that album.
Actually, that album North and South was among the first albums that had an email adress on the sleeve! We're talking 1988..
Baker St must be one of the most revered and beautiful songs ever produced. It was just a fantastic combination of sublime song writing, subtle track layering, with an unreal talent at musical production and playing.
From the essence, to the end, if I could ever do that in my life, I'd be one happy man.
RIP mate. No, on second thoughts, .... fire up the choir and have a great time.
I always loved his cool, subdued vocal style. Put that together with his smart arrangements and excellent production, and you get Gerry Rafferty. One of a kind, right down the line... RIP and thanks for the great music.
I never knew how much he reminds me of Lennon until listening again to Baker Street.
Much too young loads of talent
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Yes Gerry was a fellow Scot,he was born and raised in Paisley,which is a large town about 8 miles from the City of Glasgow...i had the pleasure of meeting him and Billy Connolly many moons ago when they played together as "The Humblebums" a folk group,...they toured all the small folk clubs around Scotland...Connolly left, as his comedy was taking over more of their act,then Gerry teamed up with Joe Eagan and formed "Stealers Wheel"...They had a massive hit with "Stuck in The Middle"...eventually they broke up and Gerry went solo,and of course "Baker Street" was born,with it's anthemic sax solo,he made the street more famous than Conan Doyle(creator of Sherlock Holmes)unfortunately,Gerry declined to capitalise on his "overnight" fame with the Album "City to City",he refused a live tour of America,in fact he rarely ,if ever done any more live appearances,fame did not sit too kindly on his shoulders..when i met him he did come across as a very shy ,kinda introverted person,tho very pleasant to talk to...in the eighties he lived a very quiet reclusive life,he had a home in Bridge of Weir..(an upmarket suburb just outside Paisley)also had a home in England,tho he was still recording but only as a studio artiste,i remember one quote he made in that period something to the effect that he could live quite comfortably off the royalties from Baker Street,but unfortunately he was hitting the bottle big time,his wife (his childhood sweetheart) tried everything to try to get him off the booze,she gave up and they divorced in 1990,tho' they still remained friends,they had one daughter,who kept in touch with her Dad..Gerry went into "freefall" drinking wise, in the last few years,he did move to Italy for a while,and done some more writing and recording,but it was never the same quality as his earlier material,tho' in the late eighties he did produce some tracks for the Proclaimers notably "a letter from america"...he moved back to England,he did give a rare interview to the "Daily Mail" a couple of years ago to dispel the rumours that were flying around that his drinking was totally out of control,as he seemingly had trashed a hotel room in London,and then went missing,and ended up in hospital in a bad state...in Nov 2010 he was admitted to a hospital in Bournemouth England with liver failure,where he passed away a few days ago,his daughter was with him..iam proud to have known Gerry tho it was only fleetingly,he was a brilliant songwriter,but a tortured soul..R.I.P Gerry.....Terry Moore.
It's rare that a great artist doesn't have a large demon of some sort sitting on their shoulder.. I think that's why often when someone makes it big and most of their daily troubles (like paying bills) is gone, unless they add new demons like drugs or booze or sexual/financial scandals to their lives, their music often suffers ironically as they become content in their lives. Not always true, but common enough to take notice would you all agree?
When in Scotland are you? We were all over that country.. we should have met up. I felt most at home there and having ancestors from there must have given me a genetic predisposition to it all. Just sitting and looking out at the hills and coastlines was mesmerizing.
Just to clear up the Scottish/Irish thing.......Historically there was a huge influx of Irish people to Scotland in particular and other countries in general over the centuries......this was due to the poverty and potato famine etc. So many Scots and Americans etc are descended from Irish stock so have Irish names. Glasgow and Liverpool being very large cities near the ferry ports attracted more than their fair share of Irish immigrants. Most people from these cities have some Irish connection and at least one relative with an Irish surname. I believe that both Lennon and McCartney are Irish names and the guys are like Gerry of Irish descent.
Correct Big Jim,the West of Scotland,Glasgow in particular has a very large Irish connection going way back to the famine in Ireland,they came over in their droves mostly to work in the coal mines in the west of scotland,my own grandfather originally came from County Cavan..going back to Gerry Rafferty,his father was Irish,his mother was Scottish,he actually wrote a song about her.."Mary Skeffington"..his father was a violent alcoholic,who died when Gerry was 16,according to reports Gerry's funeral will be held in Paisley,his hometown.Brian iam in the West of Scotland..(God's Country)a town called Hamilton,roughly 15 miles South of Glasgow..in historical terms this part of Scotland (the west)was the industrial heartland of the nation at one time,all the heavy industry was based here,coal mining,steel making,shipbuilding,and all sorts of manufacturing,light & heavy..this has all been decimated,due to several factors...but we don't want to get into that,i could be here all night,suffice to say the industrial heart of Scotland has been ripped out,there aren't many hills or coastlines around here Brian,just the ghosts of a great industrial past,don't get me wrong within a couple of hours drive from here,you then enter the gateway to the Highlands,which is a different world alltogether..Scotland is a beautiful country with magnificent natural beauty,only sometimes, we who live here are oblivious to it,and as you correctly say it is breathtaking,at least,they can't take that away from us..hope you make it across again sometime...Terry..