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GERRY RAFFERTY - RIGHT DOWN THE LINE

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Published on Sep 12, 2010

BIOGRAPHY: Gerald "Gerry" Rafferty (16 April 1947 - 4 January 2011) was a Scottish singer and songwriter best known for his solo hits "Baker Street" and "Right Down the Line", and "Stuck in the Middle" with the band Stealers Wheel.
In his early years, Gerry Rafferty earned money busking on the London Underground. After working with Billy Connolly in a band called The Humblebums, he recorded a first solo album, Can I Have My Money Back. In 1972, Rafferty and his old school friend Joe Egan formed Stealers Wheel, a group which was beset by legal wranglings, but did have a huge hit "Stuck in the Middle With You" (made famous for a new generation in the movie Reservoir Dogs) and the smaller top 40 hit "Star" ten months later. The duo disbanded in 1975. In 1966 Gerry and Joe had released a single, "Benjamin Day" / "There's Nobody Here" (Columbia 8068), as members of The Fifth Column.
In 1978, Gerry Rafferty cut a solo album, City to City, which included the song with which he remains most identified, "Baker Street". The single reached No. 3 in the UK and No. 2 in the U.S. The album sold over 5.5 million copies, toppling the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack in the U.S. on 8 July 1978. Even today, "Baker Street", which features a "glistening" saxophone solo by Raphael Ravenscroft, remains a mainstay of soft-rock radio airplay. Also from City to City, "Home and Dry" managed a #28 spot in the US Top 40 in early 1979. One of the more obscure tracks from that time is "Big Change in the Weather" (the B-side of "Baker Street"). His next album, Night Owl, also did well with the help of guitarist Richard Thompson performing on the track "Take The Money and Run", and the title track was a UK No. 5 hit in 1979. "Days Gone Down" reached #17 in the U.S. The follow-up single "Get It Right Next Time" made the UK & US Top 40.
Subsequent albums, such as Snakes and Ladders (1980), Sleepwalking (1982), and North and South (1988), fared less well, perhaps 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.[citation needed] That album reunited him with Stealers Wheel partner Joe Egan on several tracks. Rafferty redid his own "Her Father Didn't Like Me Anyway" on the album Over My Head (1994). Another World, released in 2000, was originally available only by direct order via his no longer active website but is now available on the Hypertension label. Another World featured an album cover illustrated by John Byrne 'Patrick', who also illustrated the covers for Can I Have My Money Back?, City to City, Night Owl, and Snakes and Ladders, as well as all three Stealers Wheel albums.
Rafferty also contributed to the soundtrack to the film, Local Hero - "The Way it Always Starts" (1983), and co-produced The Proclaimers' first UK hit single, "Letter From America", in 1987 with Hugh Murphy.
In 2009, Rafferty released Life Goes On, again on Hypertension. This album features a mixture of new recordings, covers of Christmas carols and traditional songs that had previously been available as downloads on his web site, and edited tracks from his previous three albums.
The newspaper Scotland on Sunday reported that Rafferty was asked to leave the Westbury Hotel in London during July 2008. This report stated that the hotel manager had claimed that other residents were distressed by his habit of relieving himself in various corners of the hotel and that his suite was also in a disgraceful and unusable condition.[5] He then checked himself into St Thomas' Hospital suffering from a chronic liver condition. The same report claimed that on 1 August 2008, Rafferty had disappeared, leaving his belongings behind, and that the hospital had filed a missing persons report. However, this was rebutted by the Metropolitan Police who stated that no such missing persons report existed.
After unconfirmed sightings and unauthenticated reports that he was in contact with his family, on 17 February 2009 The Guardian reported that Rafferty, "who has battled alcoholism for years", was in hiding in the south of England, being cared for by a friend. Subsequently, Rafferty's spokesperson Paul Charles told The Independent newspaper that he had been in touch with Rafferty two weeks previously and that he was alive and well but had no plans to either record or tour. This was then contradicted by a further report in The Daily Telegraph on the following day which quoted from a statement by his solicitors issued to Channel 4 news: "Contrary to reports, Gerry is extremely well and has been living in Tuscany for the last six months......he continues to compose and record new songs and music......and he hopes to release a new album of his most recent work in the summer of this year [2009]. The album, titled Life Goes On, was released in November 2009.

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