Saturday, April 18, 2009

Number 398 - Gerry Rafferty

Number 398

Gerry Rafferty

"Baker Street"

397 ..........Genre: Rock........... 399
art by hairtonic
Rolling Stone are up to their old tricks again, this time with the "100 Agents Of Change". Since it is not just about musicians lets have a look who [musically] is changing the world [?]. #100 Taylor Swift [If she an "Agent of Change" I wanna be in that organisation!] #80 Jack White [Is there anything he can't do?] #79 Neil Young [As much as love Neil, I'm not sure if I am amazed or surprised that he's still valid in the year 2009]#48 Danger Mouse [You're pulling my Tit Rolling Stone?] #46 Trent Reznor [Im starting to feel that Reznor is ruling everything on the internet]#42 Brian Eno [Take two Eno's and all your troubles disappear] #30 Radiohead [Honestly? Shouldn't they be ranked @ #2? In any list?] #27 Arcade Fire [Who? Wha?] #19 Lil Wayne [Who says Rolling Stone does not have a sense of humour?] #11 M.I.A [If only they were MIA] #7 Kanye West [RS's token gesture aimed at the "hopsters"] #4 Bono [Why is Bono starting to remind me of Al Gore? yawn] and of course #1 was President Obama [Everyone in the world would have voted for this man, if only we were allowed]
Before you leave .. put the $ in the hat!
Gerry Rafferty is a huge talent, but a reluctant star. Management struggles and sundry other hindrances limited his output, but couldn't avert the Scot from releasing two legendary singles -- the Tarantino-ized "Stuck in the Middle With You" and the unforgettable "Baker Street," the latter included on this record. Just a glimpse of John Patrick Byrne's cool cover art lets the listener know City to City houses Rafferty's day in the sun as he conquers the world one metropolis at a time, his guitar and amp in tow. Setting out in his apocalyptic "Ark," each song radiates the confidence of a master craftsman cruising in his prime, constructing brilliant pop confections with top-flight support while awaiting the crunch of civilization.
City to city 1978
The dreamy reality check "Baker Street" rightfully remains one of the greatest cuts in pop history. Forever-lost B-side "Big Change in Weather" further demonstrates Rafferty was on a rare roll. Domestic valentine "Right Down the Line" snugly followed to the height of the charts, and third release, "Home and Dry," while not of an immortal status, stands as a quality song. He even stomps out a smooth hoedown on the title track. Rafferty's turns of phrase and tight composition skills create a fresh sound and perspective all his own. Any diverse style (and he attempts many) filters through his unique mindset, resulting in a classic platter buoyed by many moments of sheer genius. "Whatever's written in your heart, that's all that matters." ~ [Doug Stone, All Music Guide]
Baker Street
Whos stuck in the middle?
It was Rafferty's first release after the legal issues surrounding the formal separation of the band Stealers Wheel in 1975. Rafferty was unable to release any material for three years after the band's break up, while resolving the disputes about the band's remaining contractual recording obligations. The eight-bar alto saxophone solo apparently led to a resurgence described as "the 'Baker Street' phenomenon". There followed a jump in saxophone sales, and a noticeable increase in the use of the instrument in mainstream pop music and TV advertising. This solo was originally planned as a guitar solo. Ravenscroft was in the studio to record a brief soprano sax part, and when the guitarist was not available, suggested that he had an alto sax in his car which might substitute for the guitar.
The Foo Fighters released the song as a B-side to their 1998 single "My Hero", scoring a minor hit on rock radio with their rendition (which reimagined the saxophone solo as a guitar solo). This version also replaced the word booze with the word crack. ~ [Source: Wikipedia]
For Jack White see Number 675
For Neil Young see Number 417, #479, #677 & #938
For Radiohead see Number 415, #640 & MM Vol 1 #137
For Bono see Number 661, MM Vol 1 #038 & #129
For Foo Fighters see Number 535 & MM Vol 1 #012
What does Rolling Stone think about Mr Rafferty?
Even in his mother's womb, Gerry Rafferty must have expected the worst. This Scotsman entitled his melancholy 1971 solo album Can I Have My Money Back? (the answer was "No!"). And when Stealers Wheel, the group he subsequently formed with Joe Egan, became an overnight success with the hit single, "Stuck in the Middle with You," only to lapse into morning-after obscurity, he probably said, "I told you so." On City to City, his first LP in three years, Rafferty sticks grimly to his guns. Not only does he use the same producer (Hugh Murphy) and several of the same musicians, but a similar un-self-pitying fatalism pervades the record.
Gerry Rafferty still writes with the sweet melodiousness of Paul McCartney and sings with John Lennon's weary huskiness, and his synthesis of American country music, British folk and transatlantic rock is as smooth as ever. But his orchestrations have acquired a stately sweep. For all their rhythmic variety—from the suave Latin lilt of "Right down the Line" to the thump of "Home and Dry"—these are uniformly majestic songs. The instrumental refrain on one of the best of them, "Baker Street," is breathtaking: between verses describing a dreamer's self-deceptions, Raphael Ravenscroft's saxophone balloons with aspirations only to have a synthesizer wrench it back to earth with an almost sickening tug. If City to City doesn't rise to the top of the charts, its commercial failure will be equally dismaying. And our loss will be greater even than Rafferty's. After all, when was the last time you bought an album boasting more than fifty minutes of music? And great music at that. ~ [Source:Rolling Stone - RS 267]
For Paul McCartney see Number 583
For John Lennon see Number 492 & #639
Rolling Stone magazine deemed their '398th Song of all Time' was "Sweet Home Alabama" by Lynyrd Skynyrd. Lynyrd Skynyrd has not appeared in The Definitive 1000.
Other songs with reference to Gerry Rafferty #683
Rolling Stone Top 500 Songs ranked this song at Number (Yes, sue us, we forgot this classic) and the Album ranked at (But was it deliberately?) [yes, in a way]
This song has a Definitive 1000 rating of 78.6 out of 108
Search Artist here:1-2-3-A-B-C-D-E-F-G-H-I-J-K-L-M-N-O-P-Q-R-S-T-U-V-W-X-Y-Z

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