Rafferty performing at Dublin's National Stadium
6 September 1980
|Birth name||Gerald Rafferty|
16 April 1947|
Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland
|Died||4 January 2011
Stroud, Gloucestershire, England
|Genres||Rock, pop, folk rock, soft rock, blues rock|
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, piano, saxophone bass guitar|
United Artists Records
|Associated acts||The Humblebums
|Fender Mustang Bass
Gibson Everly Brothers Flattop
Gibson Les Paul
Gerald "Gerry" Rafferty (16 April 1947 – 4 January 2011) was a Scottish singer-songwriter best known for his solo hits "Baker Street" and "Right Down the Line", and with the band Stealers Wheel, "Stuck in the Middle with You". Rafferty was born into a working-class family in Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland. His mother taught him both Irish and Scottish folk songs as a boy; later, he was influenced by the music of The Beatles and Bob Dylan. He joined the folk-pop group The Humblebums in 1969. After they disbanded in 1971, he recorded his first solo album, Can I Have My Money Back? Rafferty and Joe Egan formed the group Stealers Wheel in 1972, producing several hits, most notably "Stuck in the Middle with You". In 1978, he recorded his second solo album, City to City, which included "Baker Street", his most popular song.
- 1 Early years
- 2 Musical career
- 3 Attitude to the music industry
- 4 Personal life
- 5 Death
- 6 Discography
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Rafferty was born on 16 April 1947 into a working-class family in Underwood Lane in Paisley, a son and grandson of coal miners. He was a son of Mary Skeffington and Joseph Rafferty (died 1963); and had two brothers, Jim and Joe (died 1995). Rafferty grew up in a council house on the town’s Foxbar estate and was educated at St Mirin's Academy. His Irish-born father, a violent alcoholic, was a miner and lorry driver who died when Rafferty was 16. His mother was Irish/Scottish and taught him both Irish and Scottish folk songs as a boy: "My father was Irish so growing up in Paisley I was hearing all these songs when I was two or three. Songs like 'She Moves Through the Fair', which my mother sings beautifully. And a whole suite of Irish traditional songs and Scots traditional songs." Heavily influenced by folk music and the music of The Beatles and Bob Dylan, the young Rafferty started to write his own material.
Rafferty left St. Mirin's Academy in 1963. He worked in a butcher's shop, as a civil service clerk, and in a shoe shop, although as he noted in a later interview: "But there was never anything else for me but music. I never intended making a career out of any of the jobs I did." On weekends he and a schoolfriend, Joe Egan, played in a local group named The Mavericks, mainly covering chart songs by groups such as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. In the mid 1960s Rafferty earned money, for a time, busking on the London Underground. In 1966 he was a member of the band The Fifth Column, along with future Stealers Wheel collaborator Joe Egan. The group released the single "Benjamin Day"/"There's Nobody Here" (Columbia 8068), but it was not a commercial success.
The Humblebums/Stealers Wheel
In 1969 he became the third member of an existing folk-pop ensemble The Humblebums that was composed of future comedian Billy Connolly and Tam Harvey. Harvey left shortly afterwards and Rafferty and Connolly continued as a duo, recording two acclaimed albums for Transatlantic Records. A 1970 gig at the Royal Festival Hall, supporting Fotheringay with Nick Drake, earned a positive review from critic Karl Dallas, who noted that all three acts showed "promise rather than fulfilment", and observed that "Gerry Rafferty's songs have the sweet tenderness of Paul McCartney in his 'Yesterday' mood". In his own stand-up shows, Connolly has often recalled this period, remembering how Rafferty made him laugh and the crazy things they would get up to while on tour. On one occasion Rafferty decided to look up the local Berlin telephone directory to see if there were any Hitlers registered. On another occasion, Connolly claimed he and Rafferty had used pages from the Bible as cigarette papers: "We had no skins. My idea was to read a verse and smoke it. I think I'm going to hell".
After the two decided to go their separate ways in 1971, Transatlantic owner Nathan Joseph signed Rafferty to a contract as a solo performer and Rafferty recorded his first solo album, Can I Have My Money Back?, with Hugh Murphy, a young staff producer working for the label. The album was a critical success but did not enjoy commercial success. According to Rafferty's daughter Martha, it was around this time that her father discovered, by chance, Colin Wilson's classic book The Outsider, about alienation and creativity, which became a huge influence both on his songwriting and his outlook on the world: "The ideas and references contained in that one book were to sustain and inspire him for the rest of his life." Rafferty, himself, later confirmed that alienation was the "persistent theme" of his songs; "To Each and Everyone", from Can I Have My Money Back?, was an early example.
In 1972, Rafferty and Egan formed Stealers Wheel and went on to record three albums with the legendary American songwriters and producers Leiber & Stoller. The group was beset by legal wranglings, but did have a huge hit "Stuck in the Middle With You". Twenty years later, the song was used prominently in the 1992 movie Reservoir Dogs, although Rafferty refused to grant permission for its re-release. Stealers Wheel also produced the lesser top 50 hits, "Everything'll Turn Out Fine", followed by "Star", and there were further suggestions of Rafferty's growing alienation in tracks such as "Outside Looking In" and "Who Cares". The duo disbanded in 1975.
City to City/Night Owl
Legal issues after the break-up of Stealers Wheel meant that, for three years, Rafferty was unable to release any material. After the disputes were resolved in 1978, he recorded his second solo album, City to City, with producer Hugh Murphy, which included the song with which he remains most identified, "Baker Street". According to Murphy, interviewed by Billboard in 1993, he and Rafferty had to beg the record label, United Artists, to release "Baker Street" as a single: "They actually said it was too good for the public." It was a good call: the single reached #3 in the UK and #2 in the US. The album sold over 5.5 million copies, toppling the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack in the US on 8 July 1978. Rafferty considered this his first proper taste of success, as he told Melody Maker the following year: "...all the records I've ever done before have been flops. Stealers Wheel was a flop. 'Can I Have My Money Back?' was a flop. The Humblebums were a flop... My life doesn't stand or fall by the amount of people who buy my records."
"Baker Street" featured a distinctive saxophone solo played by Raphael Ravenscroft, although the origins of the solo have been disputed. As the singer recalled in a 1988 interview with Colin Irwin: "When I wrote the song I saw that bit as an instrumental part but I didn’t know what. We tried electric guitar but it sounded weak, and we tried other things and I think it was Hugh Murphy’s suggestion that we tried saxophone."
In a 2006 interview with The Times, Ravenscroft recalled the episode differently, claiming he was presented with a song that contained "several gaps". "If you're asking me: 'Did Gerry hand me a piece of music to play?' then no, he didn't. In fact, most of what I played was an old blues riff." Ravenscroft, a session musician, was in the studio to record a brief soprano saxophone part and suggested that he record the now famous break using the alto saxophone he had in his car.
In his interview with Colin Irwin, Rafferty disputed this and noted that Ravenscroft had actually been his second choice to play the saxophone solo, after Pete Zorn, who was unavailable: "The only confusion at the time that I didn’t enjoy too much was the fact that a lot of people believed that the line was written by Raphael Ravenscroft, the sax player, but it was my line. I sang it to him." When a remastered version of City to City was released in 2011, it included the original, electric guitar version of the song, confirming Rafferty's authorship of the riff. In the liner notes to the album, Rafferty's long-time friend and collaborator Rab Noakes commented: "Let's hope [the Baker Street demo] will, at last, silence all who keep on asserting that the saxophone player came up with the melody line. He didn't. He just blew what he was told by the person who did write it, Gerry Rafferty. Michael Gray, Rafferty's former manager, agreed: "The audible proof is there from the demos that Rafferty himself created the riff and placed it within the song's structure exactly where it ended up." There was, however, no outward sign of any dispute between Rafferty and Ravenscroft at the time, and Ravenscroft went on to play on Rafferty's next two albums.
"Baker Street" remains a mainstay of soft-rock radio airplay and, in October 2010, it was recognised by the BMI for surpassing 5 million plays worldwide. "Stuck in the Middle With You" has received over 4 million plays worldwide, and "Right Down The Line" has had over 3 million plays In a 2003 interview with The Sun (Scotland), Rafferty revealed just how profitable his biggest song had been: "Baker Street still makes me about £80,000 a year. It's been a huge earner for me. I must admit, I could live off that song alone". The "£80,000" figure has been widely repeated in newspaper articles ever since. Rafferty reputedly loathed the 1992 dance music cover version of "Baker Street" by Undercover, but it earned him another £1.5 million, selling around three million copies in Europe and America. He never allowed "Baker Street" to be used for advertising, however, despite a number of lucrative offers.
"Right Down the Line" was the second single from City to City. The song made No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and No. 1 on the Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks charts in the US. It remained at the top of the adult contemporary chart for four non-consecutive weeks. The third single from the album, "Home and Dry", reached No. 28 in the US Top 40 in early 1979. One of the lesser known songs from that time is "Big Change in the Weather" (the B-side of "Baker Street").
An irony of the success of "Baker Street" was that the lyrics reflected Rafferty’s disenchantment with certain elements of the music industry. This irony was elaborated on by music journalist Paul Gambaccini for BBC World News:.
|“||His song "Baker Street" was about how uncomfortable he felt in the star system, and what do you know, it was a giant world hit. The album City to City went to No. 1 in America, and suddenly he found that as a result of his protest, he was a bigger star than ever. And he now had more of what he didn’t like. And although he had a few more hit singles in the United States, by 1980 it was basically all over, and when I say 'it', I mean basically his career, because he just was not comfortable with this.||”|
His next album, Night Owl, also did well. Guitarist Richard Thompson helped by performing on the track "Take The Money and Run", and the title track was a UK No. 5 hit in 1979. "Days Gone Down" reached No. 17 in the US. The follow-up single "Get It Right Next Time" made the UK and US Top 40.
Snakes and Ladders/Sleepwalking/North And South
Subsequent albums, such as Snakes and Ladders (1980), Sleepwalking (1982), and North and South (1988), fared less well, perhaps due partly to Rafferty's longstanding reluctance to perform live, which he felt uncomfortable with.
The 1982 album Sleepwalking saw Rafferty taking a very different approach to his work. Christopher Neil replaced Hugh Murphy, Rafferty's usual producer, introducing synthesisers and drum machines that give the album a harder, less acoustic sound, and apparently eschewing the richly detailed arrangements notable on Rafferty's three previous records. According to Murphy, interviewed a decade later: "Gerry had made three albums on the trot and I think he was pretty jaded at that time and feeling the pressure and he just thought, 'Well, I'll try another tack,' which is understandable". Instead of a cover painting and hand-lettering by John 'Patrick' Byrne, who had illustrated every previous Rafferty and Stealers Wheel album, Sleepwalking featured a simple, stark photograph of an empty road stretching to the sky. There was change too in the songs themselves. The deeply introspective lyrics of Sleepwalking suggest Rafferty found success far from glamorous: tracks like "Standing at the Gates", "Change of Heart", and "The Right Moment" suggest the singer was exhausted, burnt-out, and desperately seeking a new direction – and continued his long-running theme of alienation. Liner notes for the compilation album Right Down the Line (prepared with Rafferty's close cooperation) confirmed this several years later, noting the singer was now "finding himself at the crossroads and looking to replace the treadmill with a new dimension in his life". In 1983, Rafferty announced his intention to take a break and devote more time to his family: "It dawned on me that since Baker Street I had been touring the world, travelling everywhere and seeing nowhere. Whatever I do in the future, it's at my own pace, on my own terms."
Based at 16th-century Tye Farm in Hartfield, near the Kent-Sussex border, Rafferty installed electric gates to protect his privacy, built a recording studio, and worked largely by himself or with Hugh Murphy. According to his former wife Carla, who discouraged visitors: "He was just stalling for time. Maybe some new project would suddenly happen, but I knew he'd crossed the line as far as the record business went." It was six years before he released his next record, North and South. In his 1988 interview with Colin Irwin, to promote the album, Rafferty mentioned that he was interested in doing more production work, writing film soundtracks, and even floated the idea of writing a musical about the life of Robert Louis Stevenson. Reviews of the album were mixed. In The Times, critic David Sinclair was particularly scathing: "On North and South, it sounds as if he has thumbed a lift up the road to a mock-Texan bar somewhere in his native Scotland. There is a mid-Atlantic blandness lurking behind the rococo roots veneer."
Rafferty collaborated with several other artists during this time. In 1980, he and Murphy produced a record for Richard and Linda Thompson; though never released, it eventually evolved into their album Shoot Out the Lights. It was also during this period that Rafferty sang the Knopfler-penned song "The Way It Always Starts" (1983) on the soundtrack of the film Local Hero, and co-produced The Proclaimers first UK hit single "Letter from America" in 1987 with Hugh Murphy. In the early 1990s, Rafferty recorded a cover version of the Bob Dylan song "The Times They Are a-Changin'" with Barbara Dickson, who had contributed backing vocals to both City to City and Night Owl. The track appeared on Dickson's albums Don't Think Twice It's All Right (1992) and The Barbara Dickson Collection (2006).
On a Wing and a Prayer/Over My Head
Rafferty released two further albums in the 1990s in what musician Tom Robinson later described as "a major return to form". On a Wing and a Prayer (1992) reunited him with his Stealers Wheel partner Egan on several tracks. It included three tracks cowritten with Rafferty's brother Jim, also a singer-songwriter, who had been signed to Decca Records in the 1970s. Rafferty recorded a new version of his Humblebums song "Her Father Didn't Like Me Anyway" on the album Over My Head (1994). These were the last two records Rafferty produced with Hugh Murphy, who died in 1998. According to guitarist Hugh Burns, Murphy's death was "a great blow to Gerry" and marked the end of a creative partnership that had lasted almost 30 years.
Another World/Life Goes On
By the end of the 1990s, new technology enabled Rafferty to distance himself even further from the conventional approach of the music industry and work entirely on his own terms. Now based in London, he employed sound engineer Giles Twigg to assemble a Digidesign mobile recording studio and, with Twigg's help, recorded the album Another World in London, Scotland, Barbados, France, and Italy with collaborators from previous albums, including Hugh Burns, Mark Knopfler, Kenny Craddock, and Mo Foster. Through his company Icon Music, Rafferty promoted and sold the album independently on a website (www.gerryrafferty.com) created specifically for the purpose.
Another World, released in 2000, was originally available only via direct order from his website, but since 2003 is available on the Hypertension label. Another World, almost an esoteric work, also with assistance of Mark Knopfler and Egan, featured an album cover illustrated by John 'Patrick' Byrne, who also illustrated the covers for Can I Have My Money Back?, City to City, Night Owl, and Snakes and Ladders, and all three Stealers Wheel albums. Byrne was also responsible for one of Rafferty's most prized possessions: a hand-painted Martin acoustic guitar bearing his portrait and the name 'Gerry Rafferty', which features in many photographs of the singer.
Another World marked a new departure for the singer. As he explained in a press release heralding the new record in November 2000: "My heart and soul have gone into this album, and by releasing it in this way my creative influence has not been diluted in any way." Finally, thanks to the Internet, it seemed Rafferty no longer needed the music industry: technology was allowing him to put his music directly in the hands of an appreciative audience. Rafferty felt he had matured as an artist, as he told the Evening Standard at the time of the release: "At my time of life, I don't want to be talking to 23-year-old record executives who are just trying to sell their products to 19-year-olds. I'm older and my audience is older. They'll know where to find me." In the same interview, he revealed that the entire record had been made for approximately £200,000, with half spent on travel, the recording system costing £75,000, and the website and marketing adding £25,000.
Rafferty maintained his enthusiasm for this new approach to recording for the next three years. In a blog posting dated 31 March 2004 he wrote: "Let's get back to music: after all that's the only reason that this website has been set up." Another posting announced that Rafferty would begin to release music regularly as free downloads: "In reality, Gerry could put a new track out every two weeks or so. We will keep you informed of developments as they happen." Only a handful of tracks were ever released, however, and the website eventually closed down without any explanation.
In 2009 Rafferty released Life Goes On, again on Hypertension. This album features a mixture of new recordings, covers of Christmas carols and traditional songs that had previously been available as downloads on his web site, and edited tracks from his previous three albums.
Rafferty's death in January 2011 rekindled interest in the singer's work. According to his daughter Martha, interviewed by Glasgow's Sunday Mail some months later: "What surprised me most was the reaction on the internet. "Baker Street" had two million hits in the two days after his death and he was the third most talked about subject on Twitter." Encouraged by the public response, she launched an official Facebook page named "The REAL Gerry Rafferty Page" in May 2011 as a tribute to her father. Several months later, she relaunched Rafferty's old website, gerryrafferty.com, with a full discography, rare photos, and new artwork by John 'Patrick' Byrne. In a short but revealing biography, she portrayed her father as an autodidact with an "incredibly strong work ethic" and passion for books ("There were literally whole walls of book shelves at home and he'd read every single word. Mainly philosophy, art, religion, psychology and many a biography.").
In September 2011, EMI issued a remastered collector's edition of City to City featuring previously unheard demo versions of "Baker Street", "Mattie's Rag", "City to City", and other tracks from the album.
Other artists continue to be inspired by Rafferty's work. In 2012, Cuillin Recordings issued "Paisley Spin", a remix of three tracks from Can I Have My Money Back? by Celtic fusion artist Martyn Bennett. Bonnie Raitt recorded a reggae treatment of "Right Down the Line" for her Slipstream album released 10 April 2012. Barbara Dickson released a tribute album of 13 Rafferty songs, To Each and Everyone: The Songs of Gerry Rafferty, in September 2013, including cover versions of "Baker Street", "The Ark", and "Steamboat Row".
Attitude to the music industry
Rafferty drew a clear distinction between the artistic integrity of a musician, on the one hand, and the music industry's need to create celebrities and sell products, on the other. In an interview with Colin Irwin in 1988, he said: "There's a thin line between being a songwriter and a singer and being a personality... If you feel uncomfortable with it you shouldn't do it. It's not for me – there are too many inherent contradictions." Two decades later, speaking to the press after Rafferty's funeral, Charlie Reid of The Proclaimers confirmed Rafferty's dislike of celebrity: "He was not entirely comfortable with fame. Even more so than most people who work in this business, he saw it as not a good thing". Reid believed Rafferty was fundamentally unsuited to the pressures of celebrity: "He struck me as a very, very sensitive man and for someone like that, fame was probably not appropriate." Billy Connolly agrees that Rafferty had different priorities: "I wanted success and fame and I got it, to a degree. Gerry wanted respect. He wanted his talent to be respected. He wanted his songs to be respected. And he certainly got that."
Generally an autobiographical writer, Rafferty returned to this theme often, in the lyrics of Stealers Wheel songs such as "Star", "Stuck in the Middle With You", and "Good Businessman", and later solo tracks like "Take the Money and Run" (from Night Owl), "Welcome to Hollywood" (from Snakes and Ladders), and "Sleepwalking" (from the album of the same name). The liner notes to the compilation album Right Down the Line, written by Jerry Gilbert with Rafferty's close cooperation, note his consistent refusal to tour the USA and "generally 'play the industry game'." It was ironic that Rafferty—a lover and collector of religious icons, who would later name one of his publishing companies "Icon Music"—was also an iconoclast. According to Michael Gray, Rafferty's personal manager at the height of his success, he turned down many opportunities to work with other artists: "... he retained a healthy scepticism not just about the music industry but about society, money and politics in general. His background was soaked in Scottish socialism and poverty, his mind sharp and his personality acerbic, and he wasn't going to be dazzled by the glamour of success."
Rafferty never changed his mind about the music business; if anything, his views hardened. In 2000, he told the Paisley Daily Express that the second Stealers Wheel album, released in 1974, had been named Ferguslie Park, after a deprived area of Paisley, "to get as far away as possible from all the bullshit of the music industry in London." In a November 2009 interview with the Sunday Express, he said: "The music industry... is something I loathe and detest. It conjures up images of a gigantic factory spewing out parts of the machine. In many respects, this of course is exactly what it is now. Pumping out s**t [expurgated in the original] like there’s no tomorrow." The last word came from Monsignor John Tormey, celebrating Rafferty's funeral mass, who suggested the singer's attitude to fame was an indication of his spiritual integrity: "He always searched for a more authentic way to live his life, shunning the outward trappings of celebrity so that he might live as he chose to live his life."
Rafferty met Carla Ventilla (a 15-year-old apprentice hairdresser from an Italian family in Clydebank; Rafferty was 18 at the time) at a dancehall in 1965—a story he later recounted in the song "Shipyard Town" on the album North and South. They married in 1970 and lived in Scotland with their daughter, Martha Mary, before moving to the south of England in the late 1970s, where they divided their time between their farm near the Kent-Sussex border and a home in Hampstead, London. Rafferty's lengthy commutes from London to Scotland inspired a number of songs on the album City to City (including the title track and "Mattie's Rag", which recounted his delight at being reunited with his daughter), while the later move south inspired "The Garden of England" (from the album Snakes and Ladders) and a number of songs on North and South. Gerry Rafferty and Carla Ventilla divorced in 1990. After the completion of Another World, in 2000, Rafferty planned to move back to Scotland and bought Eaglestone House, "a substantial listed 1860s mansion" in the Highland village of Strathpeffer, although he sold the property two years later and never actually moved in.
Rafferty had always enjoyed alcohol, and early songs, such as "One Drink Down", "Baker Street", and "Night Owl", freely mention the subject. He told friends that his alcoholism dated back to his childhood, though even people close to him had no idea how it would come to dominate his life. Martha Rafferty believes her father started drinking heavily to cope with the pressures of playing on stage, but says his problem "wasn't obvious" for many years. According to Michael Gray, the singer's personal manager in the early 1980s: "It never occurred to me in all the time I knew him that he was heading for alcoholism. Maybe I should have realised, but I didn't. I'm unsure whether he did." As the 1980s progressed, Rafferty's growing drinking problem placed his marriage under impossible strain and his wife divorced him in 1990, though they remained close. In 1995, Rafferty was deeply affected by the death of his older brother Joseph, an event from which family and friends have said he never fully recovered.
In the late 1980s, Rafferty had told journalist Colin Irwin "I was always very conscious about keeping a low profile because that's the way I like to go about it. And I don't plan to be in the public eye too much now either." However, in the last decade of his life, having taken pains to shun the fame and celebrity that accompanied his musical achievements, Rafferty found himself making headlines once again as he struggled with alcoholism and depression and the increasingly erratic behaviour they spawned.
In April 2005, Rafferty was admitted to St Mary's Hospital in London after collapsing at his Hampstead home. According to a later report in the Daily Mail, Rafferty quashed rumours that he had taken an overdose of prescription drugs and revealed the cause "was actually a drunken fall down the stairs which produced a nasty head injury".
Rafferty later sold his London home and moved to California, to be closer to his daughter, but often flew back to the UK. In 2006, the Daily Mail reported that the singer had been taken by police in a wheelchair to a Church of Scotland drying-out clinic after arriving in Inverness drunk on a private plane flight after a "ten-hour bender". Rafferty denied the episode absolutely, however, and refused to comment on it further.
While the news stories focused on Rafferty's binges, they revealed nothing of his private struggle with alcohol or the impact on his family and friends. His partner Enzina Fuschini said he "felt that he was under some sort of evil spell. He felt crippled by it... I saw a man in despair", while his daughter Martha, interviewed by Graham Stellard after her father's death, revealed that Rafferty had "tried all the normal routes of abstaining or getting help but he wasn't able to do it... I tried everything I could. It was extremely painful to see him live out his life through alcoholism..." According to Rafferty's ex-wife Carla: "There was no hope. I would never have left him if there'd been a glimmer of a chance of him recovering."; Joe Egan, who spent "many, many nights" talking to Rafferty on the phone, shared this opinion: "There's nothing anyone can really do. Gerry was his own man, he would do what he wanted to do". In January 2013, Jim Rafferty gave an interview to The Sun describing his late brother as a "boozy sociopath", criticizing the effect the singer's drinking had had on his friends and family.
In 2008, Rafferty moved away from California and briefly rented a home in Ireland, where his drinking soon became a problem again. In July that year, it was rumoured that his friend and former musical partner Billy Connolly had arranged for the singer to enter rehab. But Rafferty apparently checked himself out and flew to London instead, where he holed up in the five-star Westbury Hotel in Mayfair and began a four-day drinking session that left his room extensively damaged. Speaking to the Telegraph later, the hotel's director, Alex Huggan commented: "It was such a shame. In person, Mr Rafferty was a really nice man, he kept himself to himself and didn't bother the other guests but he was clearly on a downward spiral. He was in self-destruct mode."
There were conflicting reports about what happened next. The newspaper Scotland on Sunday reported that Rafferty had been asked to leave the hotel and had then checked himself into St Thomas' Hospital suffering from a chronic liver condition, brought on by heavy drinking. The same report claimed that on 1 August 2008, Rafferty had disappeared, leaving his belongings behind, and that the hospital had filed a missing persons report. However no such missing persons report existed. On 17 February 2009, The Guardian reported that Rafferty was in hiding in the south of England, being cared for by a friend. Subsequently, Rafferty's spokesperson Paul Charles told The Independent newspaper that he had been in touch with Rafferty two weeks previously and that he was alive and well but had no plans to either record or tour. This was then contradicted by a further report in The Daily Telegraph on the following day which quoted from a statement by his solicitors issued to Channel 4 News: "Contrary to reports, Gerry is extremely well and has been living in Tuscany for the last six months… he continues to compose and record new songs and music… and he hopes to release a new album of his most recent work in the summer of this year ." The album, titled Life Goes On, was released in November 2009.
The mystery surrounding Rafferty's disappearance was only clarified later. In November 2009, Rafferty told a journalist from the Sunday Express that he had been living in Florence, Italy, splitting his time between a home in Dorset and visits to Scotland each year. Interviewed by the Daily Mail, two months later, Rafferty confirmed that he had "simply relocated to Italy, where I write a lot of music" and revealed that he had not welcomed the renewed media interest when "my so called 'disappearance' became the subject of ill-informed speculation about my lifestyle and, more recently, my whereabouts". But a slightly different account of this period emerged after his death. After leaving St Thomas' Hospital, and while claiming to be in Tuscany, he was quietly moving from one London hotel to another. It was during this time that he met Enzina Fuschini, an Italian artist living in Dorset. Rafferty and Fuschini fell in love and rented a large home together in Upton, near Poole, later moving to the affluent Poole suburb of Branksome Park. Fuschini claims she cared for the singer during 2009 and tried to help him overcome his alcoholism, and that he proposed to her at the Ritz Hotel in Paris on Christmas Eve that year.
In November 2010, Rafferty was admitted to the Royal Bournemouth Hospital where he was put on a life-support machine and treated for multiple organ failure. After being taken off life support, Rafferty rallied for a short time, and it seemed that he might recover. Rafferty died at his daughter Martha's home in Stroud, Gloucestershire on 4 January 2011, of liver failure.
|Wikinews has related news: Over 400 attend Scottish singer-songwriter Gerry Rafferty's funeral|
A Requiem Mass was held for Rafferty at St Mirin's Cathedral in his native town of Paisley on Friday 21 January 2011. The service was streamed live over the Internet. Politicians in attendance were the First Minister of Scotland the Right Honorable Alex Salmond MSP, Wendy Alexander MSP, Hugh Henry MSP, and Robin Harper MSP. The musicians present included Craig and Charlie Reid of The Proclaimers, former bandmates Joe Egan and Rab Noakes, Barbara Dickson, and Graham Lyle. The eulogy was given by Rafferty's longtime friend John Byrne. His remains were then cremated at the Woodside Crematorium in Paisley and his ashes scattered on the island of Iona. He is survived by his daughter, granddaughter Celia and brother Jim.
Newspapers printed lengthy obituaries for the singer; in The Guardian, Michael Gray charted Rafferty's long downward spiral into alcoholism, while a full-page obituary in The Times summarized his career more positively: "As well as being a singer of considerable talent who at one time had the pop world at his feet, Gerry Rafferty was also a consummate songwriter, blessed with sensitivity and an enviable melodic flair that at its best recalled Paul McCartney."
Other entertainers also paid tribute to Rafferty, with comedian and ex-bandmate Billy Connolly calling him "a hugely talented songwriter and singer who will be greatly missed" and musician Tom Robinson saying, "His early work with Stealers Wheel was an inspiration to a whole generation of songwriters in the 70s, including me." Speaking after the funeral, Charlie Reid of The Proclaimers said: "I think Gerry Rafferty was one of the few people who really successfully straddled the worlds of both folk and popular music. He did it really well and he was respected in both camps." Barbara Dickson also paid tribute to her friend, whom she described as a "luminous, glorious Scottish musician". Finbar Furey, who knew Rafferty for over 40 years, said he "was in a different league completely. He didn't know how good he was. He was one of the most talented musicians and singers I ever knew but he completely underestimated his own talent. He was a very humble man." A spokesperson for Rafferty's last record label, Hypertension, commented that he "was a major talent. His songwriting, production and the way he sang his songs, with that beautiful voice of his, was truly wonderful and inspiring."
The reaction of younger artists suggests Rafferty's music has also inspired a new generation of fans. Shortly after news of the singer's death, Lily Allen tweeted the message "Rest in Peace Gerry x" with a video link to the song "Right Down the Line", reputedly one of her favourite music tracks. Electropop star Elly Jackson described "Right Down the Line" as "my favourite track of all time. It makes me think of home, nostalgia and happiness."
In November 2012, Rafferty's hometown of Paisley paid tribute to the singer by naming a street in the Shortroods area "Gerry Rafferty Drive". Gordon Laurie, director of the housing association behind the project, commented: "It is a fitting tribute to a brilliant musician who lives on through his music."
In January 2013 BBC Radio 2 re-broadcast "Bring It All Home - Gerry Rafferty Remembered", which had been recorded live at Celtic Connections 2012 in Glasgow and was presented by Ricky Ross. The commemorative show, recorded one year after Rafferty's death, had first been broadcast in February 2012. Contributing artists included The Proclaimers, Barbara Dickson, Ron Sexsmith, Jack Bruce, Paul Brady, Emma Pollock, James Vincent McMorrow and Betsy Cook. Three of Rafferty's regular support musicians, guitarist Hugh Burns, multi-instrumentalist Graham Preskett and saxophonist Mel Collins, were also featured.
Will and legal dispute over estate
In October 2011, newspapers reported that Rafferty's immediate family were the beneficiaries of his £1.25 million estate. Rafferty had apparently not changed his will after meeting Enzina Fuschini in the autumn of 2008 and left her nothing. Several months later, in January 2012, the Daily Mail reported that Fuschini had launched a High Court legal action against his family seeking a share of the will under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975, which allows financial dependents of a deceased person to claim "reasonable financial provision". According to an interview Fuschini gave to the Daily Mail in August 2012, she was offered £27,000 by the family on condition that she sign a confidentiality agreement. It was later reported that Fuschini had lost her case and £75,000 legal costs were awarded against her.
|Year||Title||US 200||UK Albums||RIAA certification||BPI certification|
|1971||Can I Have My Money Back?||—||—||—||—|
|1978||City to City||1||6||Platinum||Gold|
|1980||Snakes and Ladders||61||15||—||Silver|
|1988||North and South||—||43||—||—|
|1992||On a Wing and a Prayer||—||73||—||—|
|1994||Over My Head||—||—||—||—|
|1974||Gerry Rafferty (Rafferty's 1969 & 1970 Humblebums recordings – plus one 1971 solo track)||—||—||—||—|
|1989||Right Down the Line: The Best of Gerry Rafferty||—||—||—||—|
|1995||One More Dream: The Very Best of Gerry Rafferty||—||17||—||—|
|2006||Days Gone Down: The Anthology: 1970–1982||—||—||—||—|
|2009||Life Goes On||—||—||—||—|
|2011||Gerry Rafferty & Stealers Wheel: Collected||—||—||—||—|
|As guest or supporting musician|
|1979||Sunnyvista by Richard and Linda Thompson (backing vocals)||—||—||—||—|
|Year||Title||US Hot 100||UK Singles Chart|
|"Right Down the Line"||12||-|
|"Home and Dry"||28||-|
|"Days Gone Down"||17||-|
|"Get It Right Next Time"||21||30|
|1980||"Bring It All Home"||-||54|
|"Royal Mile (Sweet Darlin')"||54||67|
|1990||"Baker Street" (remix)||-||53|
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|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Gerry Rafferty|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Gerry Rafferty.|
- The Official World of Gerry Rafferty: Official tribute website run by Martha Rafferty.
- BBC Obituary, 4 January 2011
- The Guardian obituary – Singer and songwriter known for Stuck in the Middle With You and Baker Street
- Gerry Rafferty at AllMusic
- Gerry Rafferty Message Board http://s2.excoboard.com/GerryRafferty