Gerry Rafferty - A Memorial

By Michael Collins Morton

The untimely passing of Gerry Rafferty at the age of sixty-three, during the first week of 2011, provided a sad end to an uneasy life. Although the Scottish singer and songwriter, who was born in Paisley, Scotland, in 1947 and is best known for his hit, "Baker Street," seemed too young to depart from this world, he apparently had suffered too much from the ill effects of his stubborn alcoholism to remain here any longer. As his final years ran their awkward course, with reports of his frequent drunkenness appearing in the press, it became clear that even the undoubted strength of his abilities as a musician could not save him from the harm and pain of his private difficulties.

Gerry Rafferty stepped into the musical limelight in the early 1970s, first as a member of The Humblebums (along with Billy Connolly, a fellow Scotsman whose name also became well-known in later years), and then with Stealers Wheel (whose single, "Stuck in the Middle with You," was a hit in 1973), but it was "Baker Street," an unforgettable song inspired by the city of London and released as a single under his own name in 1978, that changed his fate forever, bringing worldwide fame and a great deal of money. Unfortunately, the arrival of fame and money did not appear to result in true happiness for him. He soon chose to withdraw from the burdensome duties of being a celebrated musician, frequently seeking to hide himself in the unhealthy realm of alcohol.

The next time you happen to encounter the poignant strains of "Baker Street," a durable track that still receives regular airplay on the radio, spare a few moments to remember the melancholy spirit of Gerry Rafferty, the gifted man who wrote it and performed it. In spite of the deep problems that weighed upon him throughout his life and finally dragged him down, his distinct talent and honest expressiveness enabled him to reach into himself and pull forth a heartfelt song that continues to make a lasting impression on all those who hear it.

A history from 
"The Harmony Illustrated History of Rock"
by Mike Clifford. © Salamander Books 1986.
I took this photo of my friend, 
Gary Hodges, in L.A. in 1974. 
A review of Stealers Wheel
first album, May 24th, 1973.
Joe Egan and Gerry Rafferty
discuss the band and the 
release of their second album.
September 1st, 1973
Gerry's first solo album,
"Can I Have My Money Back",
is finally released in the 
US and is reviewed 
November 22nd, 1973.
Rafferty and Egan are 
interviewed. They discuss
SW's second album and 
how the late release of
Gerry's first solo album
caused some to believe he 
had left the band.
February 14th, 1974.
An ad for the re-release
of early Humblebums songs and 
"Can I Have My Money Back"
May 4th, 1974.
Gerry discusses his career 
in depth, August 24, 1978.
Gerry discusses his image,
August 23rd, 1979.
An obituary,
January 4th, 2011

These are some of the 
albums in my collection.

The beautiful cover art on many of these albums
is by John Byrne. He signed his work, "Patrick".
The Humblebums were Billy Connolly
and Gerry Rafferty. They recorded two albums.
After The Humblebums split, Gerry Rafferty
recorded his first solo album.
The first Stealers Wheel album.
Their second album.
Their third, and last, album.
"City To City", Gerry's first solo album after 
Stealers Wheel, had his biggest hit, 
"Baker Street"
Gerry's second solo album.
His third solo album.

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