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Gerry Rafferty Biography

Home > Music > R > Rafferty, Gerry > Biography

Birth Name: Gerald Rafferty
Born: 1947/04/16
Birth Place: Paisley (Scotland)
Years Active: late 1960s - 2000, 2009 - present
Genres: Rock, Progressive Rock

Gerald "Gerry" Rafferty (16 April 1947 – 4 January 2011) was a Scottish singer and songwriter best known for his hits "Right Down the Line" and "Baker Street". He was the son of a Scottish mother and an Irish father.

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" (which was used in the 1992 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" 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.

"Baker Street" features a "glistening" saxophone solo by Raphael Ravenscroft which remains a mainstay of soft-rock radio airplay. In October 2010 the song was recognized by the BMI for notching up over 5 million plays worldwide. “Stuck in the Middle With You” has achieved over 4 million plays worldwide, and “Right Down The Line” has achieved over 3 million plays.

Also from “City to City,” "Home and Dry" managed a #28 spot in the US Top 40 in early 1979. "Right Down the Line" is the third track from the 1978 album “City to City.” The song made #12 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and #1 on the Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks charts in the U.S., making this the only Rafferty song to ever reach #1 on any U.S or U.K chart. It remained atop the adult contemporary chart for four nonconsecutive weeks.

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. 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.

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.

In November 2010, Rafferty was admitted to a hospital in Bournemouth, Dorset, suffering from liver failure. His family was told that there was little chance of his survival, although after he was taken off life support, his condition began to improve. Rafferty died on 4 January 2011.