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# Just one more year then you'll be happy... #
Gerry Rafferty's Baker Street is one of the most instantly recognisable and most enduring pop songs ever.
MUSIC: "Baker Street" by Gerry Rafferty
It's just SO epic. It's so epic.
I thought, this is amazing, it's Gerry Rafferty. This is extraordinary. This is Scottish!
It's an astonishing record and sonically, an amazing piece of work.
When the intro comes in, it sucks you in. It's like you're going through a dark tunnel
with nice lights flashing,
then you get to the end of the tunnel and the doors open
and all the lights come on and it's duh-dan-nuh-duh-nuh-nuh and you've gone to Hollywood.
# Windin' your way down on Baker Street
# Light in your head and dead on your feet
# Well, another crazy day
# You'll drink the night away
# And forget about everything... #
Then he sings this story, and the sax riff comes and hits you again,
and then it comes to another bit, where it goes to space
and Hugh Burns is going eeer-eeer-eeer on his guitar.
I guess you'd call them organic sounds, animal sounds, seagull sounds, anything like that.
I wasn't sure what to play. He played me the track a few times,
after a few takes. That's what came out.
So it was a lucky day for me.
The myth that prevailed was the saxophone player actually wrote
the line and was not given the full credit.
I bet you anything you like Gerry wrote every note of that solo.
That's what he was like.
It was early demos when he'd play that on electric guitar himself.
In 1978, Baker Street was a smash hit on both sides of the Atlantic,
clocking up five million radio plays in the US to date.
Gerry became the voice incarnate of FM radio in America.
I remember driving from Los Angeles to Las Vegas
and every channel you hopped from, there was Gerry Rafferty.
It was extraordinary.
But the spectacular scale of this success wasn't something Gerry,
a deeply private man, readily embraced.
His diffidence is evident in this rare public appearance,
picking up the award for the Best Single of 1978 at the British Rock and Pop Awards.
-Thanks a lot.
-How do you feel at this moment?
Gerry Rafferty died at the beginning of 2011, at the age of 63.
Mourners at his funeral in Paisley included Scotland's First Minister,
old friends, and fans from as far away as New York.
His daughter, Martha, and her cousins, performed one of his songs
in a family tradition of singing in harmony.
# Whatevers written in your heart, that's all that matters
# Youll find a way to say it all someday, yeah. #
Rafferty's life is written in the words and music of his songs.
Family Tree recalls a childhood with music at its heart.
# We could feel the harmonies
# You'd sit there waiting in the wings
# How long have you been waiting?
# Let your light shine
# Many years have gone since then... #
Gerry was the youngest son of a Paisley working-class Catholic family.
His older brothers, Joe and Jim, were both keen on singing.
When I was small, we were singing at parties,
myself and my two brothers and all the family and relatives.
I was aware that my elder brother, Joe,
would occasionally be singing a different tune from me.
And I was really intrigued by this.
I said to him, "You know when we were singing a few moments ago,
"what is that a thing that you do, when I'm singing,
"and you sing a different tune?"
He said, "Oh, it's called harmonising."
# I can see it in you, you can see it in me... #
Within a year or two, I could sing second and third part harmonies
and it was just an amazing, magical, magical world opening up.
# To bring out our memories... #
That song is about
the idea of the family coming together,
which is very much part of an Irish, traditional thing,
families would come together and they would sing,
before they had TV and the Internet. And that's what they did, the Raffertys.
# When we were young, we used to sing... #
My father was tone-deaf.
He was actually physically deaf, as well,
because he had punctured his eardrum, working as a coalminer.
But he used to tap his foot.
He would try to get into the beat.
He would say, "Play something with a bit of swing, son."
Was he black, your father?
He was one of the black Irish!
After leaving school, Gerry teamed up with fellow Paisley Buddy,
Joe Egan, in beat group, Mavericks.
In 1966, as The Fifth Column, they made their recording debut.
I don't even think we were in our 20s at that point.
Two of the songs we did with Columbia Records.
They were getting sort of groomed to be a pop band,
rather than an original sound.
They had a song called Benjamin Day,
which, Gerald and I collaborated on the lyrics of that.
# Straight from a fairytale... #
A certain tweeness about it.
I freely admit, it was kind of,
it was more like a...
It was a nice tune. There was a melody to it.
# I still recall the stories he would tell us... #
And that was our main method of conversation
with Gerry Rafferty, was to sing with him, right?
He did really let people in
who could sing with him.
I think he decided then that there was a possibility of him
making a career out of it and began writing songs
with a distinct, McCartney-esque influence.
# But there's nobody here
# I rang the bell and knocked on the door
# She don't live here no more... #
The single, There's Nobody Here, was not a hit.
It didn't do anything, I have to say. Gerry, at that point,
teamed up with Billy Connolly and Tam Harvey in The Humblebums.
# My Dixie Darling, listen to this song I sing... #
We both had hair down to our arses and, sort of, buckskin jackets
and cowboy boots and stuff like that.
Billy was thrashing away at this banjo, like a man possessed.
Gerry came up to me after the concert and said, "God, yeah,
"that was funny, and I liked your stuff, blah blah blah,"
"I'm a songwriter myself." And I thought, "Oh, God, another one!"
You know, you were constantly being approached by songwriters
in the folk scene. It was all about rain running down the window,
and how I miss you, you know?
I went up for a few beers to his house,
and he played the songs, and I thought, "Who is this guy kidding?"
He's learnt these from a record or something. He never wrote these.
It was like Paul McCartney coming up and saying, "I write songs, would you like to hear one?"
# Yesterday... # Ffff... What?!
# Well, hear me talking' blood and glory
# I'm fed up walkin'!
# Blood and Glory
# I'll tell a story... #
It was a symbiotic relationship.
They each got so much from the other,
and each was an absolute, er, character
and an individual in themselves, but together, they were great.
# Patrick, my painter
# Painter of art You will always and ever
Artist, John Byrne, the inspiration for this song,
designed the artwork for the new Humblebums album -
the first of many covers.
# We will always be with you Jock and Larry and me... #
I had never heard anything quite like it.
I look back at it and I think, they were just boys.
And for Scottish men, in particular, to stand up and sing
about deep-felt emotions like that, was difficult,
so, in some ways,
it suited him quite well to have someone behind whom he stand.
I was just a guy who knew tunes, knew songs, still am.
But he was a musician, and I'll never be one of them.
There were some pretty difficult gigs, a student gig or somewhere,
where the audience was a bit loud, and Gerry wanted just total quiet.
He would not make eye contact with the audience.
He had a cast in his eye
and I think it embarrassed him,
so he would take an eye-line away from people,
which people thought,
"That's very aloof, he's not looking at us, he's not speaking to us."
But I think his work, the songs,
if that wasn't enough for you, you shouldn't have been there.
He jumped off the stage once and decked somebody,
and we had a police escort out of Taunton.
But Gerry probably did more gigs with the Humblebums
than he did in the whole of his career after that.
# You know you feel so good, when she comes and greets you... #
Sometimes, I would do a little accompaniment, sometimes I wouldn't.
Sometimes I would get ready to do the accompaniment,
and he would say, "I'm doing this on my own."
My footsteps would be heard clunking off into the wings.
I thought that he would make me better, and he did,
but he got better, too, so the gap remained, of musical class.
But that became very painful for Billy,
because what tended to happen was that a lot of emphasis was put
on Gerry's material, and then, when Billy came to do his stuff,
he was almost left on his own,
and Gerry would almost go to the pub.
If you go through the albums
you'll find he's in all my songs, and I'm in none of his, you know?
Because he would go into the studio and go over my bits
and have me taken off, and go over them.
Was he right or wrong to do that?
I would say...
right. You know?
He was a perfectionist.
And perfectionists must perfect.
So off he went, on his perfecting way.
# You say that I am out of touch...
And so, Billy and Gerry parted musical company -
each having left an indelible mark on the other.
I saw this large figure of a man striding down Baker Street
with a pair of tartan trousers on, and I thought,
"My goodness, that's Billy Connolly!"
So, I went up and tapped him on the shoulder.
And she said, "Excuse me?"
And I went, "Yeah?" She said, "I'm Martha."
"Oh, my God", I gave her a cuddle
and then I saw the staggering resemblance to her dad,
as she was speaking to me.
I was looking at Billy, thinking how much he was like my dad,
and also, for me, it was quite poignant,
because he still had a lot of energy, and I could see
a lot of how my dad would have been if he hadn't started drinking.
We were both piss artists. We were both young and strong,
and so it didn't really affect us. It dug in later.
I had a meeting with him in London, about 10 years before his death.
And we were in Langan's restaurant,
and he was drinking Calvados, you know, that apple brandy?
He had about 10 or 12 over lunch. Big ones, you know?
And I thought, "Oh, God Almighty."
So, I had read somewhere that, with alcoholics,
you should tell them once and not twice.
Or ask them, you know? So I said, "Listen, are you OK
"with this drinking. Do you feel comfortable with your drinking?"
And he said, "Yeah, it's not a problem." I said,"OK".
That was all I ever said to him about drinking.
# Can I have my money back Money back, money back?
# Can I have my money back, please?
I don't know what you're saying... #
In 1971, The Humblebums were still signed to Transatlantic.
Gerry was given the opportunity to fulfill their contractual obligations
by recording a solo album, featuring collaborations with old friends,
including Joe Egan, Rab Noakes and John Byrne.
It was produced by Hugh Murphy and wryly entitled,
Can I Have My Money Back?
# Please, sir
# I don't hear what you're saying Don't care what you're doin'
# Can I have my money back Money back, money back?
# Can I have my money back Please, sir? #
During the course of recording, Can I Have My Money Back?
Gerry invited me to take part in the record on a song,
Mary Skeffington, Gerry's mother.
It's quite matter-of-fact, but it's not without passion,
it's not without love and respect.
# Mary Skeffington
# When you wake
# You mustn't be afraid to face another day... #
It was just the two of us, two voices, two guitars,
sitting facing each other, which is a nice way to record.
I did a little fingered start, he did a strum.
# Look back on a home where you spent the best years of your life
# Remember the man who asked you if you would be his wife
# Mary Skeffington, close your eyes
# And make believe that you are just a girl again... #
I'm glad exists like that because it is a kind of representation,
if you like, of what we sounded like as Stealers Wheel,
the performers, in the summer of 1971.
# You put something there
# Inside of me... #
The formation of Stealers Wheel reunited Gerry with Joe Egan.
The band signed to A&M Records,
and prepared to record their first album.
It was to be produced by legendary American songwriters
Gerry Lieber and Mike Stoller.
We were a bit in awe of their reputations.
Of course, when you're just young and just starting out
and all that kind of stuff but they really made us feel kind of at ease.
They were great to work with.
Of course, they're rock'n'roll royalty
from the time of the 1950s
and they gave it a cache.
This was 1972,
and Lieber and Stoller had been in the music business for 20 years,
writing and producing polished, big-production hits for artists
including Elvis, The Coasters, Peggy Lee, and The Drifters.
A&M had high hopes for this transatlantic musical marriage,
and Lieber and Stoller brought their own ideas to the production.
But so did Gerry.
I think he viewed us as, um, the enemy.
There was something very distasteful to him about us,
what we represented to him.
Um, crassly commercial,
what have you.
I think they met their match in Gerry and Joe,
because they kind of dug their heels in.
And I think that they wanted to do it in the way that they wanted
to do it, rather than the way that Lieber and Stoller wanted to do it.
Gerry was difficult to work with.
Eh...he was difficult from the get-go.
And the band in general drank a great deal.
There were cases of brown ale,
and there were a few cases of Scotch whisky...
in the studio, to keep things rolling, I guess.
And then, of course, pub hours,
everybody ran out around the corner to the Thistle.
Eh...God, I remember it well!
I spent a lot of hours there.
We thought that most of what Gerry and Joe were doing was...
the accompaniment to their songs
was pretty much kind of, jingy, jingy, jingy, jangy!
I'm not putting it down.
I'm just... That's what it was.
And we thought we could enhance that with some of our ideas.
Cowbell and coins between the strings of the piano,
which made them play totally different pitch
than the one that you would expect.
Just using some elements of that could...
add a flavour to it that it didn't have to begin with.
It took a long time.
But in the end, the result was a wonderful result.
Shortly after that I remember...
watching The Old Grey Whistle Test with Bob Harris.
He was interviewing Lieber and Stoller. And he said,
"And more recently you have been working with Stealers Wheel,
"how did that go?"
And they looked at one another and said, "Pass"!
As soon as it started to be successful, and it became a hit,
he lost interest in it and was suspicious of it,
and no longer really liked it because it was commercial.
The album was simply entitled Stealers Wheel,
and was finished in late 1972.
Abruptly, Gerry upped and left, leaving Joe to front the band.
# Woke up this mornin' Hanging out of bed
# Too late to go to work Walked my dog instead
# I don't try hard, but I get by. #
I still don't really know why he left, to be honest.
We never spoke about it.
He just felt that he had to do it at that particular time.
But it wasn't a good feeling to be left...
to continue to fulfil contractual engagements,
and all that kind of stuff that was going on then.
# There ain't no use In you complaining... #
But we got on with it and did it.
We did the Berry tour, and the Colin Bluntstone tour as well.
# I got the feeling that Something ain't right... #
Joe even had to mime to Gerry's lead vocals on a promotional video
for Stuck In The Middle With You, released as a single in spring 1973.
# Clowns to the left of me Jokers to the right
# Here I am Stuck in the middle with you. #
The song documents an actual night at the table of a London restaurant,
with record company executives at one end
and potential producers at the other.
And business being conducted around Gerry and Joe.
# I'm all over the place
# Clowns to the left of me Jokers to the right
# Here I am Stuck in the middle with you
# Well you started off With nothing... #
It's just brilliant. And the sentiment of it.
Everyone's felt that,
"I'm stuck in the middle with you" sort of thing.
And he had a great way of making something of frustration
seem very happy.
That song will go on absolutely forever. It's in everything.
# Please... #
Which is great. I love that for songwriters.
I love it when they get a golden egg. It's fantastic.
It was very direct production and songwriting.
It got straight to the point, did the business and then got out again.
And that's why Stuck In The Middle is still a timeless song.
# Is it cool to go to Sleep on the floor
# Cos I don't think that I can take any more. #
With the success of Stuck In The Middle With You,
Gerry was persuaded to return to the band. But all was not well.
I met him on the night of Top Of The Pops,
when they did Stuck In The Middle.
Everything was going for them.
They had a huge deal with A&M. I'd met him in the studio,
just before or after, with Lieber and Stoller, for God's sake.
I thought, "God, everything for Gerry is coming good now.
"This is fantastic." Then he told me in the dressing room at Top Of The Pops
that he was going to not tour with it and knock it on the head.
And I think Joe Egan was blissfully unaware of that as he sang it.
I can never see that clip on the repeats of Top Of The Pops
without thinking, "That poor man."
The self-destruct gene kicked in and Gerry kind of canned it.
And I don't know why he did that but he did it several times.
There was so much politics taking place between the whole band
and everybody involved with the band - our managers and so forth.
Um...the live performances we did,
most of them were not very good.
Um...everything seemed to be incredibly rushed.
We never had time to rehearse properly because we were being taken
from the rehearsal studio to go and do interviews,
and we were taken from that to go and do something else.
You go in it to make music and, unfortunately, you end up
making music about 20% of the time that you do your job.
So the bit that you love about your job you get to do
kind of the least.
That was my first taste of just the nature of the music industry as a beast.
He didn't like being ordered around, basically.
He didn't like people telling him what to do.
And he had a great distrust of the music business,
what he would see as its machinations,
and looking for a pound of flesh all the time.
After the release of the 1974 album Ferguslie Park, the band split
and Gerry and Joe carried on as a songwriting and recording duo.
# So they made you a star Now your head's in a cloud... #
The single Star charted
and the promotional machine started up again
with appearances like this one, on German TV.
Look at the set. Imagine hanging around there all day and miming to your record.
And you look at the audience... HE LAUGHS
There's not a soul - you look out there - who looks like they want to be there, right?
So, as the day progresses, you could just see Gerry and Joe thinking,
"Well, let's have a wee bit of fun with this," on the one hand,
and on the other hand just really wishing they were somewhere else.
They come out of it rather well, I think.
Better than the audience does, who get no points for effort, really, do they?
You just had to laugh. I mean, nervously.
I mean, it didn't seem as if anybody was enjoying themselves at all,
so the people that were laughing were us, me and Gerry.
The song itself came over pretty well, I thought, anyway, so that was fine.
Jerry and Joe recorded Stealers Wheel's swansong, Right Or Wrong,
while their management company went bankrupt,
leaving Gerry and Joe broke and with legal issues
which would take years to resolve.
I went back to Glasgow to lick my wounds and take stock.
I knew that I was going to pursue a solo career.
I didn't want to be involved in bands any more.
So I was living in Glasgow
but I was spending a lot of time going back and forth
from Glasgow to London to sit in lawyers' offices.
And that lasted about two-and-a-half to three years.
Oddly enough, it was one of the most productive periods I've ever had in my life.
# I was lost
# On an endless sea
# Going down, going down... #
I basically used to the raw material of going back and forth
from Glasgow to London for the basis of all the songs that I wrote then.
His music room was always bang next to my bedroom,
so I remember falling asleep most nights to him singing at the piano or guitar next door.
It was something I wish more people had heard, actually,
just the pared down... no big production.
It was lovely background music to my childhood, you know?
# Here I am, back in town... #
Gerry took his songwriting from this period into the studio.
Unfettered by band politics and determined to set his own agenda,
Gerry delivered to United Artists and himself massive success with three solo albums.
This was 1977.
Punk was making a big noise
and John Byrne was again designing the record sleeve.
The original cover for City To City was a kind of punky-looking guy,
a fair-haired guy, a young guy,
and his nose was split, it had a split on it.
He was standing in a kind of...
the wreckage of a city and he's wearing a snakeskin jacket.
And smoking a cigarette.
And they said it looked too punky, the record company,
and would I please do another one.
So I did another one,
and whether it's the better two of the two covers, I don't know.
But I think they were right.
# Yes, I get a little lonely When the sun gets low... #
The creative process in the studio making City To City,
Night Owl and Snakes And Ladders
was very different from what had gone before,
with Gerry now co-producing his own work.
Some people are insecure and they don't want to be overshadowed.
Gerry wanted the best people, he wanted really great creative people.
# We've still got a long way We've still got a long way to go. #
I was used to working very fast.
That was the way that people did it.
He didn't work like that.
It was the first time I had come across an artist who was
really, really painstaking about every detail.
And I would often play a guitar part with different amplifiers,
the same part, different guitars, the same thing over and over,
and then he would sit down and do an assessment of which one he liked.
And he was great. Once you played something that he liked, he knew right away.
-# So never leave me lonely... #
# Now that you love me only Yeah... #
It was always an exciting moment when they rolled the tape
because I would hear his,
to me, glorious voice
and I would be matching phrasing to a voice that was already there.
And that was probably the most exciting backing vocals
that I've ever done in my life, was singing with Gerry.
# I just want to tell you
# You still got that light... #
I think he quite liked the way I played because it wasn't flashy.
But it suited him really well.
It was sensitive. (Shall we say?)
# Oh, no, no, no
# No, no
# No, no, no... #
You had to be very careful not to pick up Gerry's orange juice in the morning and drink it.
Otherwise...you'd be drunk the whole day.
When we were at Chipping Norton for a long time,
Gerry would drink and drink and drink
and his eyes would narrow and he'd look around the room
and he'd just pick a victim and he'd launch into an attack.
And it was really, really unpleasant,
and most of the time the people just sat there and took it,
and sometimes it would go on for 15 minutes, you know. It was awful.
There's no point in over-gilding a lily, is there?
You've got to face it - Gerry was really amusing,
could be very sensitive,
wrote sensitive songs and could be very kind,
but he could also be very difficult and could be...when drink...
Later on, when drink was taken it was a bit poisonous.
Quiet, please. Playback.
Sometimes it was all rather chaotic
but I think this is one of the reasons why he worked so closely with Hugh Murphy,
because Hugh was able, sometimes, I think,
to be a conduit for Gerry's thoughts and intentions in the studio.
He was also extremely acerbic.
He had a quick mind and he could give back to Gerry as good as he got,
so on both of those levels, it worked really well.
Gerry had a broad vision. I think he had the songs
and then Hugh was the person who put them into the landscape.
It's what they call, nowadays, a bromance.
Yes, it was.
It was a bromance. It was a romance.
They loved each other and I think...
Hugh was really the only person that could put up with Gerry, for any length of time,
because he was very calm and... you know.
# And you don't get no relief
# It's gonna be a long night
# Waitin' for the first light
# It's going to be a long night. #
Don't you think he was really kind of fanciable, Gerry? He was very charming.
Or did you not find that? No.
-That was just me.
-Because I was in love with Hugh, and Hugh was always there when Gerry...
I was in love with Richard but it didn't stop me fancying Gerry.
No, I was so in love with Hugh I couldn't fancy anybody else, so...
# So good night
# Yeah, good night
# Good night train Is gonna carry me home... #
And here's Hugh Murphy, Gerry's producer,
supporting him on Dutch TV in 1978
by pretending to play the harmonica.
Hugh didn't have to be there at all. Gerry needed him there for moral support.
There was no earthly reason why he needed to be sitting there,
miming harmonica-playing, but...
I think Gerry got really dependent on him in the end.
Watching Hugh sucking and blowing away like that is very funny.
It was Paul Jones of Manfred Mann who actually played
the harmonica on the track.
# Yeah, good night
# Good night train Is gonna carry me home. #
Promotional appearances of this kind were anathema to Gerry
and eventually, he flatly refused to do any more.
His preferred habitat was the recording studio
and his main interest was in writing his songs.
Generally...the melody will come first, the music will come first,
and then I will attempt
to wed a lyric to the melody, once it's complete.
When I first started to write lyrics,
that was the real hard work for me and it still is, in many ways.
I just keep the lyrics as simple as possible
because I never felt I had any way with words.
That's...that's SO not true.
It's SO not true, that.
He had a great way with words. That was the thing - he was very, very deceptive.
His words are just...are absolutely the right word for every song
that he wrote, and the words are just perfect.
# I just wanna say This is my way
# Of telling you everything I could never say before... #
Right Down The Line is already on my list for my funeral.
I've always, always, always preferred songs written by men about women.
The way women sing about men, they can be very bitter,
and then a lot of songs where they do sing about how much they love them,
it's in a needy way, or a kind of, "I'd give up anything for you,
"even if you treat me badly" way, which I've never understood.
Right Down The Line, it's just like basically saying... It's so simple
but just... "Forever, I will always, always, always...
"love you, and it's always been you."
And imagine if somebody wrote that for you.
Imagine! You know?
I would try to write about my own personal experiences
as much as I could. I trusted my intuition in that way.
Um...and I wasn't afraid to...
Not in every song - there were lots of songs that that wasn't the case
but there was a fair number
that were to do with my own inner world.
I have sung Gerry Rafferty songs all my life,
even when I was singing in folk clubs,
so we're going back to the late-60s, early-70s,
when I first met Gerry.
As time went on, I've covered a lot of his songs.
I did The Royal Mile.
But I'm probably best known for singing The Right Moment.
# Spinning on another wheel
# Going round in slow motion
# Caught up in another dream
# Drifting on a blue ocean... #
All of his songs have always spoken to me.
There's something to do with the melodic structure
and something very sad in the writing
which has always appealed to me, but it's never sentimental.
# You remember and then you forget
# All along the way... #
He doesn't use a lot of fancy, poetic terms.
He doesn't cloak what he's saying in mystic mumbo-jumbo.
He gets to the point
and...I think almost uniquely,
you could listen to the songs down the years and connect them
with what you later find out was going on with his private life.
# Out on the street I was talkin' to a man
# He said There's so much of this life of mine
# That I don't understand
# You shouldn't worry I said, that ain't no crime
# Cos if you get it wrong you'll get it right next time... #
Gerry may have chosen to reveal aspects of his life in his songs
but he did not want his life altered by the unwelcome personal attention
that comes with being household name.
Once you enter into the world of celebrity,
you can no longer really be the observer in life.
And I've always valued that highly. You become the observed.
And other people... wallowed in that kind of...
..acclamation and excess.
Er... But it was like a drug to them. They couldn't stop.
And it wasn't like a drug to him. It wasn't even like a...
a bag of sweeties. It wasn't like anything.
It was just...he didn't want to do it and he refused to.
# And the sign says
# Welcome to Hollywood... #
Despite massive airplay and huge sales there,
Gerry never played a single gig in the US.
I have huge respect for Gerry for not ever pandering
to the demands of record companies to promote work in a certain way.
To go out and, as he probably saw it, prostitute himself live,
playing gigs he didn't feel like playing, simply in order to shift product.
And good for him for sticking two fingers up at the system
and saying, "Actually, you don't have to do any of that and I'm not going to."
# So sweet
# They bring it all the way from... #
I wanted success and fame and I got it, to a degree.
He wanted his talent to be respected.
He wanted his songs to be respected and he certainly got that.
Well there's a Japanese Zen saying.
It states that if you get too famous, you'll go straight to hell.
# I came to you when no-one could hear me
# I'm sick and... #
Linda Thompson sang backing vocals on Night Owl,
and she and then-husband Richard toured with Gerry in the UK.
In 1980, they were without a record deal
and Gerry raised the finance and produced an album for them,
the bootleg of which has come to be known as Rafferty's Folly.
It never got released, that was the thing.
We did it and Richard didn't like it because it was a little bit slick -
in tune - and it was all the things that Gerry was,
which was very perfectionist about the tempo
and very perfectionist about the tuning
and there was no Auto-Tune in those days, so you'd just do things over and over
and Richard didn't like it very much so we redid it,
but actually, it's a very good record. He did a great job.
He was extremely funny and he was very romantic.
He'd have these crushes on people and...
when we were on tour, we decided to run away together.
We were both married, mind you.
And we got on the train and by the end of the train journey,
we were looking at each other going, "This is not a good idea."
I don't think anything ever came of these...
crushes that he had on people.
He'd say to people, "I love you," and blah-blah-blah,
but it was just a fun, romantic thing, I think, for him, to do with the music, maybe.
After the Richard and Linda experience,
the only other artists Gerry ever produced were The Proclaimers.
This is the original acoustic version of Letter From America.
# When you go
# Will you send back
# A letter from America? #
We initially did a demo down at Gerry's house,
and a fantastic studio he had down there, and that's...
That was the best studio we'd been in,
and that was his home studio, you know, so it was pretty intimidating.
# The other day
# I spent the evening thinking about
# All the blood that flowed away... #
That was '87 and we'd been playing that song since about '84.
So it's hard to really imagine it being any other way, you know?
But the way he built the arrangement round the actual song itself,
you could hear from the start that it would work.
And it finished up a lot better than I think we'd imagined.
# When you go
# Will you send back
# A letter from America?
# Take a look
# At the rail track
# From Miami to Canada
He took us aside at some point when we had a cup of tea and said,
"Look, this is still your song."
And we knew it - we didn't feel it had in any way been taken apart at all -
it was just added to. There was an arrangement built around the song.
The integrity of the song was maintained.
# When you go
# Will you send back
# A letter from America? #
I think the really interesting thing about Letter From America
is how great the production is, that it's absolutely simple and direct.
It's everything Leiber and Stoller brought to Stuck In The Middle With You,
and which Gerry, in some ways, seemed unable to bring to bear
on his own work because he felt he had to kind of
live up to a reputation of making another Gerry Rafferty record
that would be matched up with Baker Street, rather than cutting to the chase
and getting to the essence of what the song was about
and when he was producing another artist, I think he was able to do that,
and see the folk tradition that came into it
and the beautiful directness of that, and not spoil it, not clutter it up,
not cover it in '80s synths or anything but just get to the song
and, of course, he delivered them a massive, massive hit.
Gerry Rafferty would never again have the commercial success of the late '70s
but he kept on making his music his way.
North And South, released in 1988 as his marriage to Carla was breaking down,
is a window into his life at that time.
That was an album that I remember
just playing again and again and again,
because it came out at a time when I was...
coming to the end of a long relationship as well,
and every track on that album seemed to me to say something about my life.
I was living in exile down south,
I was in a relationship where hearts were running dry,
and it just felt like the soundtrack of my life at that point.
# Moonlight and gold
# Midsummer magic as the night
# Turns to day and songbirds greet the dawn... #
'Moonlight and gold is a recurring theme for him.
'The metaphor of the day being life.'
# You watch and wonder While the moon fades away
# And one more day is born. #
'These are the songs of a 40-year-old as opposed
to 'the songs of a 25-year-old.'
We spent hours, literally hours, on the phone.
He'd split from his wife, and stuff like that.
I think that was probably one of the big reasons for keeping in touch.
Of course, I offered my services anyway,
if he needs an ear to bend, or whatever.
So the '90s were taken up, quite a lot of the '90s were taken up
with Gerry phoning and talking away.
But, of course, during the conversation,
on many occasions he would be... he'd get really drunk.
He was unable to continue the conversation.
So... Here I go again. I don't want to speak about this.
I think the most interesting period of his post-Baker Street career
was actually '92 to '94.
Because he made two albums there which were a major return to form.
And Life Goes On as a song was so important to him
that he revisited it with his final album.
He came back to that song and brought it back,
because he felt it hadn't had the attention it deserved.
It's clearly about Carla and it's clearly heartfelt.
I think that's probably his strongest song.
It's got the most gorgeous, powerful chorus that sweeps you up
and carries you along.
# And your life goes on... #
And I think it took the break-up with his wife
to put him into the idea that he had to get back down to brass tacks,
he had to really roll his sleeves up and get back to what he was good at,
and he got back with Joe Egan,
and they made a couple of really, really strong albums there.
# Every night's a lonely night
# Since you went away
# But you come back to haunt my memory... #
Gerry installed a studio at his home
and worked there with Hugh Murphy on the last two albums they made together.
'Following his divorce, Gerry and I had the chance for the first time
'to sort of spend a lot of time together at Tye Farm,'
in Sussex, where he was living at that time.
I used to go there every couple of weeks,
and we'd spend a day writing.
And...we actually spent a lot of the time laughing.
I mean, we shared a sense of the ridiculous.
We laughed like drains for much of the time.
That's one of my prevailing memories of it.
Over the years, Gerry played again and again
with familiar old musical friends.
Guitarist Hugh Burns enjoyed a long-standing creative relationship with him.
Gerry understood and loved, at a very deep level, Scottish music.
And many, many times, he would ask me to alter the harmonies
to sound more Celtic, more Scottish.
And I think that influenced his music quite a bit.
And if you... HE STRUMS CHORD
If you have the guitar in this kind of tuning,
you can hear the influence, the influence of pipes,
and the influence of that kind of...
HE PLAYS CELTIC-STYLE RIFFS
Of the relationships in Gerry's life forged in music,
one of the most important, with Hugh Murphy,
ended with Hugh's early death in 1998.
'I think that was a great blow to Jerry.'
Because they had such a long relationship,
it was a unique working relationship, I think.
And I think it took Gerry a little while to find somebody else
to work with in that particular capacity, the engineering side, etc.
And Giles came on board,
and I thought it was a great moment for Gerry.
Because I think he had found somebody
who was incredibly supportive to what he was doing,
and who was happy with his particular working methods.
Together with Giles Twigg, Gerry travelled to Barbados, France,
Tuscany and the North of Scotland with portable recording equipment.
The result of this semi-nomadic period was the 2000 album Another World,
which, as always, reflected his real life.
# When Xavier and Honor were born... #
Xavier And Honor is a song about Tilda Swinton
and John Byrne's children.
# Their reason for being
# Was clear when they opened their eyes... #
I would have to say, in all honesty, the one record,
or the one main record that they made together,
is perhaps the record of Gerry's I would be least likely to turn to as an album.
Just simply because, I think,
Giles did not have the same kind of dialogue with Gerry as Hugh had had.
And the record is just slightly overworked,
and there's not nearly enough heart left in it.
# My girlfriend's in Albania
# My ex-wife's in Tasmania
# And I am in Transylvania
# With the vampires all around... #
The album, Another World, was originally
only available through Gerry's website.
Access to the internet allowed Gerry Rafferty fans to meet online.
It's a very tight-knit group of real, real Gerry Rafferty fans.
People who feel the same way as I do.
It's generally talking about...
obviously talking about his music,
and discussing songs in great detail.
And people trying to pick out their top 10 Gerry... which is an impossibility.
You can't pick 10 Gerry Rafferty tracks, you have to have a top 50.
I think once people kind of get his music,
it stays with them their whole life.
And I know that a lot of the fans,
they speak about his music as having helped them
through times of real trouble,
their wife leaving them or something.
It's his music, people relate to it.
That meant a lot to him.
2009's Life Goes On demonstrates Gerry's continued interest in reworking his back catalogue.
It also reflects his wide musical interests,
from the Beatles and Mozart
to Irish folksongs and Christmas carols.
That was Gerry putting his house in order.
He's taken all the songs that mattered to him,
the themes, the cover versions of other things that were significant to him,
and he's brought it together in a production...
high production value package, where there's not a weak track in there.
It's all beautifully produced, immaculately tended and cared for.
And he was gathering together everything that mattered to him
and putting it out there. Really, as a kind of goodbye.
We didn't know it at the time, but I think he felt he had to make his mark
and leave something behind of lasting value.
# Kyrie eleison
# Christie eleison... #
We were linked by what we'd come through.
Like, Catholic school and all that.
We used to sing a lot of hymns in the car on the way to gigs.
We used to love hymns.
On his last album, just before he died,
he had Kyrie Eleison,
and I was on the phone to him
and he said it was a Coptic Christian version.
I think harmony was central to my dad,
because of what it evoked in him as a human being.
You know, it's... Harmony makes a person feel connected.
Connected to the universe, and to what's around you,
and it's the way that things all come together
and create something of beauty.
# Night and day
# And day... #
'There are those who say that Gerry in his life,
'and in his relationships,'
perhaps didn't give enough of himself.
I can understand why they say that, given the temperament he had.
But since he died, I think I've come to the view
that he gave us the music, and maybe that's legacy enough.
That's how I feel about it now.
Yes, he could be an absolute rascal, as everybody knows,
but...he was our a rascal.
When I think of him, I think of him laughing.
Playing the guitar. Singing with Rab and me.
Me singing on Whatever's Written In Your Heart.
# At least we got our memories... #
Just loving him. So much.
# Whatever's written in your heart
# That's all that matters... #
It was a 40-year existence, really, of writing songs,
and making music and making great records
pretty much all of which are built to last.
He used to say to me that once he couldn't sing any more,
then that would be it.
And actually, that was what happened.
He went unafraid and sober.
And with a wonderful legacy.
# We've played this game now for a long, long time... #
I was texting memories and things, and he was laughing,
and we laughed right up to the very end.
And he knew it was time to go, and then he went.
# Whatever's written in your heart
# That's all that matters
# Night and day
# Night and day
# Night and day
# Night and day. #