It's not unexpected but still somewhat ironic that Gerry Rafferty, who died of liver failure this past Tuesday, should be remembered mainly for one song -- "Baker Street" -- rather than a long and consistent career that stretches back nearly 45 years. Granted, that particular song was a massive hit that put him on the musical map, but like many artists who suffer the onus of being a one-hit wonder, there was far more of note in his catalog that resides below the surface and hasn't been widely circulated in the public consciousness.
Rafferty, who was born in Paisley, Scotland, in 1947, got his first professional break when he partnered with Scottish musician, and later comedian, Billy Connolly and formed the folk duo Humblebums. Signed to the esteemed Transatlantic label, one of the U.K.'s leading folk banners, the duo achieved some significant success before splitting in 1970 due to Rafferty's perception that Connolly's witty repartee had become an increasingly dominant part of their stage performances.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Ultimately, Rafferty's legacy will likely always be confined to that sole solo hit, aided and abetted by the fact that it remains a staple on oldies radio and the odd commercial and film soundtrack (it appeared prominently in Quentin Tarrentino's Reservoir Dogs). He met a sad and ignominious demise after falling prey to an ongoing struggle with alcoholism, a battle that also cost him his marriage some 20 years ago.
"Gerry Rafferty. Ever hear of him?"