Baker Street by Gerry Rafferty (United Artists, 1978)

Gerry Rafferty sealed his fate with this big smash from 1978. It would have gone to #1 if not for Shadow Dancing hogging the top spot for 7 weeks. Even that rippin’ sax solo by Raphael Ravenscroft couldn’t kick out baby Gibb, although it made tons of people buy saxophones and take up lessons. This song made Gerry an international superstar, which he reacted by shunning concerts and promotions. Nevertheless, Gerry lived off the royalties until he passed away last month after years of alcohol abuse.

The song reflects upon someone who realizes their life and where they are in it, are not what they thought it would be, but they have hope that maybe it will change in a year or so. At the time Gerry wrote this he was going through a major lawsuit that had been keeping from releasing new material. His pain, our pleasure.

The second verse seems to told in 3rd person from the perspective of a woman, most likely scorned or at least abandoned. The carousing drunk guy comes home guilty and promises it’ll never happen again. But the woman knows this is bullshit, but sighs and hopes things will change. Or at least can pretend they will with each sunny new morning.

So to recap, Baker Street is a song about someone who hates their life, so they drink and screw around. Which made Gerry Rafferty a big hit and very rich. Which made him hate his life and drink and screw around. VH1s Behind the Music will return after these messages…..

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  1. W.B.

     /  March 10, 2015

    United Artists Records, which released “Baker Street,” didn’t last that long either. As this record (and Chris Rea’s “Fool [If You Think It’s Over]”) was climbing the charts, then-parent Transamerica Corporation dumped the label onto a holding company run by Artie Mogull and Jerry Rubenstein who borrowed heavily from Capitol-EMI to acquire the label. (Which would cost them Jet Records and ELO, both of which went over to CBS Records.) By early 1979, they’d defaulted on their loans to such an extent that Capitol took over UA Records outright. By fall 1980, UA Records was no more, its remaining roster folded into a revived Liberty label.

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