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Gerry Rafferty and “Baker Street”

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The untimely passing of Gerry Rafferty at the age of 63, during the first week of 2011, provided a sad end to an uneasy life. Although the British singer and songwriter, who was best known for his hit, “Baker Street,” seemed too young to depart from this world, he apparently had suffered too much from the ill effects of alcoholism to remain here any longer.

Gerry RaffertyGerry Rafferty stepped into the musical limelight in the early 1970s, first as a member of The Humblebums (along with Billy Connolly, whose name also became well-known in later years), and then with Stealers Wheel (“Stuck in the Middle with You”), but it was “Baker Street,” a song inspired by the city of London and released as a single under his own name in 1978, that changed his fate forever, bringing worldwide fame and a great deal of money. Unfortunately, the arrival of fame and money did not result in true happiness for him. He soon chose to withdraw from the burdensome duties of being a celebrated musician, frequently seeking to hide himself in the unhealthy realm of alcohol.

The next time you happen to encounter the poignant strains of “Baker Street,” a track that still receives regular airplay on the radio, spare a moment to remember Gerry Rafferty, the gifted man who wrote it and performed it. His distinct talent and honest expressiveness enabled him to create a heartfelt song that continues to make a lasting impression on all those who hear it.

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