Raphael Ravenscroft

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Raphael Ravenscroft (4 June 1954 – 19 October 2014), was a musician, composer and author.

Early life[edit]

While his place of birth is disputed,[1][2][3] with the England and Wales Birth Index placing it at Stoke-on-Trent.[4] But he spent much of his young life in Dumfries, where his father lived.[5]

Career[edit]

Gerry Rafferty & Baker Street[edit]

In January 1978, Scottish singer-musician Gerry Rafferty released his 1st solo material since 1972 and first material of any kind since the demise of Stealers Wheel in 1975. A then unheralded session musician, Ravenscroft was asked to play saxophone on the album City to City. Ravenscroft's contribution included the sax riff on the best known song from the album and of Rafferty's career, "Baker Street". The song was an international hit, charting at number 3 in the UK and number 2 in the USA. "Baker Street" was reported in 2010 as having received 5 million air plays worldwide to date. City to City reached number 1 in the US album charts and went platinum. In the UK the album reached number 6 and went gold.[citation needed]

It has been claimed that Ravenscroft was only paid £27 for the "Baker Street" session and that the cheque initially bounced – by contrast the song is said to have earned Rafferty £80,000 a year in royalties.[6] In a radio interview in 2011, Ravenscroft said the song annoyed him. "I'm irritated because it's out of tune," he said. "Yeah, it's flat. By enough of a degree that it irritates me at best."[7]

The saxophone break on "Baker Street" has been described with such platitudes as, "the most famous saxophone solo of all time",[8]"the most recognizable sax riff in pop music history",[9] and "one of the most recognisable saxophone solos of all time"[10]

Other work[edit]

From his breakthrough with Baker Street he went on to perform with Pink Floyd (The Final Cut), Abba[11] and Marvin Gaye.[11] Other Ravenscroft performing credits include work with America, Maxine Nightingale,[11] Daft Punk,[11] Kim Carnes, Mike Oldfield, Chris Rea, Robert Plant, Brand X, Hazel O'Connor[12] and Bonnie Tyler. In 1979, he released the solo album Her Father Didn't Like Me, Anyway (CBS Portrait JR 35683). In 1983, Ravenscroft released the track "Maxine" which gained airplay, but performed poorly on the charts. His track "A Whole Lot of Something Going On" was sampled by producer Heavy D on the track "Feel It In The Air", by Beanie Sigel.[citation needed]

In 2010, Ravenscroft played on albums and on sessions with Duffy,[11] Mary Hopkin and Jamie Hartman. In 2011-12, Ravenscroft contributed to the album Propeller by Grice.[13]

Ravenscroft wrote several books on saxophone technique including the instruction book, The Complete Saxophone Player (1990).[11] In 2011 he recorded a tribute to commemorate the funeral of Gerry Rafferty called "Forgiveness", which combined his saxophone playing with the voices of Grammy-nominated choir Tenebrae.[14]

In 2012, Ravenscroft created the music for a series of films featuring photographer Don McCullin and, during 2011-2012, composed for several major advertising campaigns around the world. In summer 2012 he took a break due to ill health and moved back to Devon.

Personal life and death[edit]

He married and divorced twice and separated from his third wife in 2009. His daughter is musician Scarlett Raven.[15]

Ravenscroft died on 19 October 2014 at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, aged 60, of a suspected heart attack.[11] He had suffered a stroke months earlier in Exeter, where he had resided.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Place of birth disputed, heraldscotland.com; accessed 22 October 2014.
  2. ^ Notice of death of Ravenscroft, scotsman.com; accessed 22 October 2014.
  3. ^ Notice of death of Raphael Ravenscroft, theguardian.com; accessed 22 October 2014.
  4. ^ "Birth Index England & Wales". Retrieved 22 October 2014. 
  5. ^ Raphael Ravenscroft obituary, itv.com, 20 October 2014; accessed 22 October 2014.
  6. ^ Chilton, Martin (21 October 2014). "'I was paid £27 for Baker Street sax solo'". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 21 October 2014. 
  7. ^ Staff (21 October 2014). "Baker Street saxophone player Raphael Ravenscroft dies". BBC News. Retrieved 21 October 2014. 
  8. ^ Notice of death of Raphael Ravenscroft, independent.co.uk; accessed 22 October 2014.
  9. ^ Notice of death of Raphael Ravenscroft, billboard.com; accessed 22 October 2014.
  10. ^ Notice of death of Raphael Ravenscroft, huffingtonpost.co.uk, 21 October 2014; accessed 22 October 2014.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g "Raphael Ravenscroft, Baker Street saxophonist, dies aged 60". The Guardian. 21 October 2014. Retrieved 21 October 2014. 
  12. ^ Maconie, Stuart (2004). Cider With Roadies (1st ed.). London, UK: Random House. p. 256. ISBN 0-09-189115-9. 
  13. ^ Profile allmusic.com; accessed 20 October 2014.
  14. ^ Notice of death of Raphael Ravenscroft, westernmorningnews.co.uk; accessed 22 October 2014.
  15. ^ "Testimonies". Scarlettraven.com. Retrieved 22 October 2014. 

External links[edit]