Wednesday, January 5, 2011

This And That

The death of Gerry Rafferty pre-empts our scheduled "Helping Out Our Readers" segment today. As such, we'll run a few other odds and ends that have come in ... and then try to regroup to run this popular segment later in the week.

I'll admit to being quite a big Gerry Rafferty fan. When I first heard "Stuck In The Middle With You", a #2 Hit here in Chicago back in 1973 (it reached #3 in Cash Box Magazine and went to #6 in Billboard), I was immediately drawn in by Gerry's unique vocal style. (Honestly, it kinda sounded like Bob Dylan and Paul McCartney had a baby!!!) The catchy melody and playful lyrics caught my ear and it became a personal favorite. (Of course it's gone on to perhaps be BEST recognized as the background music for the infamous ear-slicing-off scene in Quentin Tarantino's "Reservoir Dogs" ... but it's a "forever classic" nonetheless!)
Although Oldies Radio has reduced Stealers Wheel to One Hit Wonder status, this was NOT actually the case. Both of their follow-up chart singles made The National Top 40: "Everyone's Agreed That Everything Will Work Out Fine" peaked at #33 in Cash Box later that same year and, the following January, "Star" (another personal favorite), went all the way to #20 in Cash Box Magazine.

Rafferty's BIGGEST moment came, of course, a few years later when, as a solo artist, he released his "City To City" Album, which contained the chart-topping hit (and signature tune) "Baker Street". (#1 Cash Box, 1978, #2 Billboard). Oldies Radio and Classic Rock Radio still play that one (to death actually!) and "Right Down The LIne" (#8, 1978, from the same LP) but pretty much ignore Gerry's OTHER Top 40 Solo Singles: "Home And Dry" (#23, 1979); "Days Gone Down" (#17, 1979, yet ANOTHER Top 20 Hit that receives virtually NO airplay); and "Get It Right Next Time" (#21, 1979).
Below are the first two notices we received on Gerry's passing ...
Baker Street singer Gerry Rafferty has died at the age of 63
The songwriter was admitted to the Royal Bournemouth Hospital in November 2010 with suspected liver failure.
Rafferty, who was born in Paisley in 1947, had received treatment for liver failure in the past.
He is best known for the 1978 song Baker Street but also had a huge hit in 1972 with Stuck in the Middle With You with his band Stealers Wheel.
The song was discovered by a new generation of fans in 1992 when Quentin Tarantino used it on the soundtrack to hit film Reservoir Dogs.
Early in his career Rafferty also worked with Billy Connolly in Clydeside folk band The Humblebums, and as a producer he had a hand in The Proclaimers hit Letter From America.
In February 2009, solicitors for the singer released a statement which said he was "extremely well" and composing new songs at his home in Italy.
The statement was released after reports that friends had not heard from him since he "disappeared" six months before while being treated at a London hospital for liver failure.
He is survived by daughter Martha, granddaughter Celia, and brother, Jim.

Gerry Rafferty, who enjoyed chart success both on his own and in the group Stealers Wheel, died of liver failure in a Bournemouth, England hospital Tuesday (January 4). He was 63. Gerry had been in critical condition for the past two months as he battled for his life.
Born near Glasgow, Scotland, he moved to London after school, where he hooked up with future comic star Billy Connolly in a group called the Humblebums. In 1972 he joined Joe Egan, who he knew while still in school, in Stealers Wheel. “Stuck In The Middle With You,” from their first, self-titled album in 1972, earned the #6 spot in America. Numerous personnel changes (including at one point Gerry’s own departure) left the group a duo in 1973, when it released “Everyone’s Agreed That Everything Will Work Out Fine” (#49) and “Star” (#29) the following year. Gerry left for good in 1975 and released his solo album, “City To City,” in 1978. It contained his signature tune, “Baker Street,” which got to #2 in the U.S. and “Right Down The Line” (#12). “Days Gone Down,” from his next album, “Nite Owl”, got to #17 and “Get It Right Next Time” reached #21-- both in 1979-- but subsequent albums and singles showed a downward progression. His last album was released in 2000. In August of 2008, Gerry left a London hospital and a missing persons report was filed. He later turned up in Italy where his lawyer said he was fine. He was not. His battles with alcohol over the years took their toll on his liver, ultimately leading his to his death.
-- Ron Smith (
Two more personal memories:
When I first heard "Stuck In The Middle With You", I misheard the lyrics as "Well, you started out with nothing and you've found that you're a selfish man" ... which I always thought was more clever than the ACTUAL lyrics "... and you're proud that you're a self-made man." As such, I continued to sing it MY way for years! (lol)
Our oldest daughter discovered the music of Gerry Rafferty on one of the Classic Rock Stations down in Dallas, Texas, and asked me to put together sort of a "Greatest Hits" CD of his best work, both as a solo artist and with Stealers Wheel. I was happy to oblige, proud of her musical discovery. She then asked that some of Gerry's music be played at her wedding. VERY cool! (kk)

Speaking of recent deaths, DJ Stu Weiss sent me this note the other day after hearing of the passing of Nick Santo of The Capris:
If you run another edition of Forgotton Hits before Friday, please mention that I'm doing a tribute to The Capris this Friday night at 9 PM.
The Pop Shoppe:
And, at 8:30, I'll be presenting Ed Rambeau in his "Little Corner of the world" segment that he does every week.

DJ Stu

And, with ALL this talented radio talent out of work these days, look who's going to get an on-air gig!!! Check this out:
Click here: YouTube - Homeless man w/golden radio voice in Columbus, OH (Updated-2)

Hi Kent -
Happy New Year!
Perhaps one of your readers in attendance could report on Chuck Berry's Jan. 1 Chicago concert where Chuck had to leave the stage for a bit. As he played in NYC on NYE, I'm hoping it was just "exhaustion".
Your site is superb - Keep it coming, bro.
Clive Topol
I didnt' hear from any "first hand" fans, but here's a link to the Chicago Tribune article, courtesy of FH Reader Frank B. ... kinda sad, actually ... but hey, the man is 84 years old and STILL rockin' the house every night!:
Chuck Berry collapses in Chicago -
Kent ...
Chuck got sick in your hometown. Some call him the grandfather of Rock-n-Roll.
Frank B.

Runnin' out the door ... so that's it for today ... look for at least one more posting before the end of the week! (kk)