Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by fabtrick, Aug 3, 2008.
I always wondered what happened to him. Big fan of City to City and Nightowl. A real shame.
Interesting bit at the end of the article, about the sax solo in Baker Street:
I always feel that if someone believes they are due a credit they should really pursue it at the time. Or certainly as soon as they can tell it going to mean they're missing out on royalties.
If he's happy to leave it as it is then so be it, I guess.
Wikipedia has a bit more about that sax solo:
That's a very sad story.
Sounds like he's turned out a bit like his dad.
Is it possible for you to post that interview? Thanks!
This is a very sad story. After listening to his music quite a lot a couple of years ago, I tried to find information about him and found out then his situation was grave. He was very talented and obviously achieved some success, but nothing like it might have been. We can wish him the best of course, but his path and outcome have been chosen by his actions and there is little if anything that can be done at this point. I will still wish him the best, but I have seen this situation too many times to hold much hope.
As far as the controversy regarding the saxophone solo on "Baker Street", I can only commend Raphael Ravenscroft. What a gracious and level headed approach to the issue he has shown and I must say I have always believed his side of the story. I am afraid with Mr. Rafferty, we must separate the man from his music and appreciate the music. I wouldn't have been as gracious as Mr. Ravenscroft.
Truly very sad.
Agreed. My favorite Stealers Wheel song, bar none. It's the reason I was hoping for a Ferguslie Park reissue for years. That bassline just kills me softly...as does all the delicacy of the different guitar lines. Also probably my single favorite song of the seventies.
I know someone who did just that. Their father died, creating a power vacuum in the family business. My friend didn't like the way his brother ran the business thereafter, so he created a website with no other purpose than to diss his brother and sister-in-law.
It was actually pretty funny, and AFAIK, the brother deserved to be mocked. But to do it so publicly, well, I would never have done that.
Lemon Records has reissued this album.
I have a hard copy filed. The article was printed in Dutch, though. I have no time to translate it right now. I remember that we talked about Stuck In The Middle With You in connection with Reservoire Dogs (Gerry was shocked when he found out that it was used in such a violent scene); Her Father Didn't Like Me Anyway (a personal favorite of me, and yes it's a bout his former father in law) and his future plans (he played me some new - and great - songs written for an upcoming album, he wanted to de some live shows and intended to work with Joe Egan again).
He was very kind, but looked not too well. He mentioned briefly that he experienced many personal and professional setbacks in his life. It was my impression, partly based on what he told me, that he (obviously) had the talent to become a big star, but was way too sensitive, stubborn and troubled to have a solid carreer in the spotlight. He hated everything that was exppected from a pop star with a passion.
I have read to articles linked in this thread. It is hard to imagine that it's the same man.
This issue drives me up the wall. The "controversy" over the issue of the 'Baker Street' sax solo orginated and has been perpetuated by those (especially in the music press) who want to deride the song and its popularity. It is a not very subtle put-down. I have seen the comment, "the best part of the song, the sax solo, was not even written by Rafferty", many times - and that he has denied the sax player a writing credit. (And BTW, this point seems a bit gratutious in this particular article. What does Ravenscroft's claims have to do with Rafferty's personal demise?)
First of all, yes it is a memorable solo, but it would be a great song even if the saxaphone was not there. Second, Rafferty has always maintained he wrote or had the idea for the hook of the sax solo. The part may not have been charted on paper, but Rafferty explained to the saxophonist want he wanted played. Third, session musicians are often presented with songs "with gaps" and told to fill them in. This is not uncommon, however the article implies that this was somehow unprofessional of Rafferty. Session musicians are either given a specific idea to play or told to improvise. Whichever the situation, session musicians are never given a writing credit for their contibution. That is something Ravenscroft should know full well, and to imply that he deserves a writing credit for his contribution to the recording is disingenuous. For the sake of argument let's say that Ravenscroft arrived at the studio and was told to "fill in the gaps" and left to his own devises - he does not deserve a writing credit, especially for what he describes in the article as an [unoriginal] "old blues riff". Gerry Rafferty did not cheat him out of a writing credit and the subsequent royalties.
I remember reading after Baker Street that he said publically he was very unhappy it had become a hit and he didn't feel at all comfortable playing gigs in large theaters. He more or less promised that his next lp would have no hit singles on it. Couldn't have made his label very happy.
I never knew this. I wonder if that had anything to do with why Night Owl sold so poorly. It didn't have anything with the potential of "Baker Street", but "Get It Right The Next Time" and "Days Gone Down" should've at least propelled the album into the top 10. A follow-up to a similar style #1 album stalling (at #29) in the late 70s was pretty unusual. I always guessed its performance had a lot to due with the state of UA records at the time, but now I wonder if UA decide not to promote it as fully as they could have.
I agree with this. The first 20 or so seconds of the song demonstrate this will be a great song before the sax is even heard. I'm really surprised about the £27 check bouncing, as I would think the label would be paying that bill, not Rafferty. After the song was a hit, it should've been easy for RR to collect his session fee plus damages. If the check had cleared it would've been the end of the story for a memorable session (like Elliott Randall's solo in "Reeling in the Years").
BTW, for those who believe what they read at on wiki, there's a bit more controversy here:
The sax piece played by Ravenscroft is the major hook of the song, however this hook is not without its share of controversy. The exact sax line was originally played in a Larry Coryell composed piece performed on Steve Marcus' "Tomorrow Never Knows" album, released in 1968, 10 years before this song was released. The original song is called "Half A Heart" and Steve Marcus, who was a well known and respected saxophone player played the same line in it.
Very sad news. My sister is a huge fan (she is not on the internet often)always ask me about Gerry Rafferty news and I've told her for years that his was website was down. I don't look forward to tell her this kind of news.
This is such sad news. City to City is one of my favorite albums and I have been a big fan of his for a long time.
I don't know how much I believe that whole story. After Baker Street hit big, Raphael Ravenscroft got to put out an album under his own name on Portrait/Columbia, and one of the songs he chose to do was a cover of Rafferty's "Her Father Didn't Like Me Anyway". Kind of hard to believe he'd cover a Rafferty song if there were serious misgivings.
For that matter, I think he appeared on a subsequent Rafferty LP or two.
Another interesting Rafferty tidbit: He was a big fan of Richard and Linda Thompson, and in 1980, when they lost their record contract, he produced an album for them in an attempt to get resigned. That album, which was never released, was an early version of "Shoot Out the Lights". (The version of Shoot Out the Lights featured all re-recorded songs, not produced by Rafferty).
RT's boxset Watching The Dark has a couple songs from the Rafferty sessions, which were reportedly too slick for Richard's taste.
I don't know why that indicates any misgivings about his previous work with Rafferty. Music is a business, "Her Father Didn't Like Me Anyway" is a nice song and Rafferty was very talented. Never let personal feelings get in the way of making good music. I haven't heard the Ravenscroft album and don't know if it is any good, but it might be better than it would have been without Rafferty songs and Rafferty's subsequent LP's with Ravenscroft might be better with that input. I believe he had misgivings about how "Baker Street" was handled and he decided to do further work with Rafferty despite that. It happens all of the time in this business.
How depressing! The man's been one of my favorite musicians for many years. I had no idea until I read the article attached to the post...
Like Tracy Chapman, I think he said it all on one album!
Such a shame. I had heard about the Scotsman report but hadn't read it. Really nice guy when I met him after he recorded City to City.
Hope they can track him down and give him the help he needs.
Apparently, Gerry is alive and well, and living in… Italy.
According to the british paper The Guardian, he retreated to his home in Toscane, where he is working on a new album, that will be released this Summer.
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