Like music fans everywhere I was very saddened to hear of the death of Gerry Rafferty.
I had the pleasure and privilege of interviewing him way back in 1978 when I was a music journalist working in Yorkshire.
He was a charming man, totally unassuming and with none of the airs and graces that accompanied many other rock stars who hadn’t even a fraction of his talent.
We met for coffee in the lobby of a Bradford hotel when he was working on a new album. Gerry was not a man to get over-excited but he was very pleased with the way the songs were shaping up.
A promising song with a troublesome solo
However, one of the tracks was causing a few problems. It seemed promising but they couldn’t get the required sound on a solo that was intended to provide a lift half way through. They had tried guitar, keyboards and just about everything else but couldn’t quite get it right.
Well, they obviously solved the problem eventually because the solo was played on a saxophone and the song in question, Baker Street, went on to become one of the biggest selling songs of that year – of any year for that matter.
Gerry wrote several other great songs, of course, including Stuck in the Middle With You, which was used in the film Reservoir Dogs. I always thought it ironic that a song by such a gentle man should be used in such a violent film.
He learned the usual repertoire of Irish songs
Gerry was Scottish but his father was from Ireland and taught him to sing the usual repertoire of Irish songs. Irish music influenced him greatly, particularly in his early days when he was playing the folk clubs.
That influence can be seen on what I think is my favourite Gerry Rafferty song, written in his early days when he was in the Humblebums with Billy Connolly. It was called Her Father Never Liked Me Anyway, which was covered brilliantly by the Irish duo, Finbar and Eddie Furey.
It quickly became a standard in folk music clubs throughout England and Ireland.
Gerry Rafferty was a great musician and leaves a tremendous legacy of great songs. Rest in Peace Gerry. You had a true musical soul and you will be sadly missed.