Stuck in the Middle with You
|"Stuck in the Middle with You"|
|Single by Stealers Wheel|
|from the album Stealers Wheel|
|Released||27 April 1973|
|Recorded||Apple Studio, London|
|Genre||Folk rock, country rock, soft rock|
"Stuck in the Middle" was released on Stealers Wheel's 1972 eponymous debut album. Gerry Rafferty provided the lead vocals, with Joe Egan singing harmony. It was produced by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. Rafferty's lyrics are a dismissive tale of a music industry cocktail party written and performed as a pastiche of Bob Dylan.
The band was surprised by the single's chart success. The single sold over one million copies, eventually peaking at number 6 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, number 8 in the UK, and number 2 in Canada.
The video portrays the band performing in a corner of a large, empty building. Their performance is intercut with shots of Egan (who is miming to the by-then-departed Rafferty's vocal track, although Gerry Rafferty did not die until January, 2011) at a small banquet table with a number of garishly-dressed and made-up supper guests. These include an actual clown, a bespectacled bowler-hatted gent devouring spaghetti and a lavishly dressed woman eating cream cakes and grapes. The clown, who has difficulty eating a plastic chicken, continually squeezes Egan out whenever he tries to take food from the table. The guitar solo is played on a guitar played flat with an empty beer bottle used as a slide. Eventually, the other band members appear, driving off the strange characters so that Egan can sit down at last.
- Gerry Rafferty - guitar, lead vocals
- Joe Egan - keyboards, lead vocals
- Paul Pilnick - lead guitar
- Tony Williams - bass
- Rod Coombes - drums
In popular culture
The song is used in Quentin Tarantino's 1992 debut film Reservoir Dogs, during the scene in which the character Mr. Blonde (played by Michael Madsen) taunts and tortures bound policeman Marvin Nash (Kirk Baltz) while singing and dancing to the song. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Tarantino recalled
"That was one of those things where I thought [the song] would work really well, and [during] auditions, I told the actors that I wanted them to do the torture scene, and I'm gonna use 'Stuck in the Middle With You,' but they could pick anything they wanted, they didn't have to use that song. And a couple people picked another one, but almost everyone came in with 'Stuck in the Middle With You,' and they were saying that they tried to come up with something else, but that's the one. The first time somebody actually did the torture scene to that song, the guy didn't even have a great audition, but it was like watching the movie. I was thinking, 'Oh my God, this is gonna be awesome!' "
In one episode of the show Malcolm in the Middle, Hal is shown listening to the song on a record as various events occur around him.
A disco cover version by Louise was a chart hit in 2001.
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Alongside the bloody violence and salty dialog, Quentin Tarantino movies are often marked by ingenious juxtaposition of image and sound. Ever since Michael Madsen's razor-wielding Mr Blonde danced to 'Stuck in the Middle With You' in Reservoir Dogs, the filmmaker has become synonymous with memorable musical montages.
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From Pulp Fiction to Kill Bill to his latest, Inglourious Basterds (opening this weekend), Quentin Tarantino matches scene with song like a sommelier pairs just the right bottle of wine with a nice steak: perfectly. ~. So how does a cut make it from his turntable to the big screen? The revered director filled us in on his method through five key movie music cues.
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