Stuck in the Middle with You

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"Stuck in the Middle With You"
Stuck in the Middle with You.png
Image of Netherlands 7" vinyl cover
Single by Stealers Wheel
from the album Stealers Wheel
Released27 April 1973
RecordedApple Studio, London 1972
GenreCountry rock, folk rock, soft rock[1]
Producer(s)Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller
Music video
"Stuck in the Middle with You" on YouTube

"Stuck in the Middle with You"[2][3][4] (sometimes known as "Stuck in the Middle")[5] is a song written by Scottish musicians Gerry Rafferty and Joe Egan and originally performed by their band Stealers Wheel.

The band performed the song on the BBC's Top of the Pops in May 1973, and the song charted at No. 8 in the UK Singles Chart. It also became an international hit, reaching No. 6 in the US Billboard Hot 100.


"Stuck in the Middle" was released on Stealers Wheel's 1972 eponymous debut album.[6] Gerry Rafferty provided the lead vocals, with Joe Egan singing harmony. It was produced by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.[7] Rafferty's lyrics are a dismissive tale of a music industry cocktail party written and performed as a parody of Bob Dylan's paranoia (the vocal impression, subject, and styling were so similar, listeners have wrongly attributed the song to Dylan since its release).[8]

The band was surprised by the single's chart success.[8] The single sold over one million copies, eventually peaking at No. 6 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, No. 8 in the UK, and No. 2 in Canada.[9] Billboard ranked it as the No. 30 song for 1973.

The band appeared playing the song on BBC's Top of the Pops on 18 May 1973.[10]

Music video[edit]

The video portrays the band performing in a corner of a large, empty building. Their performance is intercut with shots of Egan, miming to a vocal track by Rafferty (who had by then left the band), 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.[citation needed]

Charts and certifications[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

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.[23] 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 of 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!' "[24]

The song was featured in The Wonder Years, season 6 Episode 9, "The Test".[25][26]

Alternative rock band Lazlo Bane covered the song for their 2007 cover album Guilty Pleasures.[27] Their version was used in the 2014 film Let's Be Cops in the scene parodying the one from Reservoir Dogs. It was also released on the film's soundtrack album.[28]

An episode of Supernatural is titled "Stuck in the Middle (With You)," in which the characters re-enact a scene from Reservoir Dogs.

In "I Am the Future," the season 1 finale of Happy!, Happy re-enacts the scene from Reservoir Dogs by tickling another imaginary friend (the Sock Puppet) with one of his feathers while the song is playing to find out where Very Bad Santa (Joseph D. Reitman) is, how it happened to him, and why he kidnapped Hailey Hansen (Bryce Lorenzo).

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.[25]

In one episode of the show 'That '70s Show', this song plays during the transition of the nineteenth episode of the sixth season.

In season 11, episode 8 of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia titled "Charlie Catches a Leprechaun," Charlie re-enacts the scene from Reservoir Dogs in the basement while the song plays.

The song was featured in the 2004 Eddsworld episode "Edd Again."

The song is used as a theme for The Michael Smerconish Program, as a nod to his moderate views.

The song appears in a 2020 TV commercial for IBM.[29]

In one episode of the show Gilmore Girls, the song is played at a Quentin Tarantino-themed party.[25]

The song was used in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan in 2020 for the montage when Borat is in the rednecks' house.

Cover versions[edit]

A cover version by Grace Potter has been used as the theme song for the Netflix series Grace and Frankie since its debut in 2015 and appears in full on the Grace and Frankie (Original Television Soundtrack).

English singer Louise recorded a cover that was released on 27 August 2001, and reached number four on the UK Singles Chart in September 2001.[30][31]

In 1997 Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune suggested that the Sheryl Crow song "All I Wanna Do", released on her 1993 debut album Tuesday Night Music Club, was "a re-write" of "Stuck in the Middle With You."[32]

In 2019, Josh Turner Guitar released a YouTube cover of the song “Stuck in the Middle With You”, with Turner providing vocals and bass guitar, Reina del Cid as vocalist and playing acoustic guitar, Toni Lindgren sliding on the electric guitar and Carson McKee providing percussion, backup vocals and a hidden tambourine. As of September 2020 the video has over 4 million views.[33]


  1. ^ Mojo Collection: The Ultimate Music Companion; Brought to You by the Makers of Mojo Magazine. Canongate. 2007. pp. 399–. ISBN 978-1-84195-973-3.
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2003). Top Pop Singles 1955–2002 (1st ed.). Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 675. ISBN 0-89820-155-1.
  3. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 527. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  4. ^ "Stealers Wheel sleeve image" (JPG). Retrieved 2016-06-24.
  5. ^ "Stealers Wheel". 1 March 2004. Retrieved 25 June 2016 – via Amazon.
  6. ^ "You searched for album_details.php". Archived from the original on November 3, 2007. Retrieved 25 June 2016.
  7. ^ Emerson, Ken (2005). Always Magic in the Air: The Bomp and Brilliance of the Brill Building Era. ISBN 9780670034567.
  8. ^ a b Chilton, Martin, "Gerry Rafferty and his songs of alienation", Daily Telegraph, 5 January 2011
  9. ^ a b Canada, Library and Archives (17 July 2013). "Image : RPM Weekly". Retrieved 25 June 2016.
  10. ^ "Top Of The Pops 1973". Retrieved 18 December 2018.
  11. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 292. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  12. ^ " – Stealers Wheel – Stuck In The Middle With You" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  13. ^ "Stuck In the Middle with You". Flavour of New Zealand. Retrieved 25 June 2016.
  14. ^ "SA Charts 1965 – March 1989". Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  15. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955–2002
  16. ^ "Adult Contemporary Music Chart – Billboard". Retrieved 25 June 2016.
  17. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 5/26/73". Archived from the original on 9 June 2015. Retrieved 12 May 2019.
  18. ^ "Image : RPM Weekly". December 26, 2017.
  19. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Single 1971". (in Dutch). Retrieved March 2, 2018.
  20. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1973/Top 100 Songs of 1973". Retrieved 25 June 2016.
  21. ^ "Cash Box YE Pop Singles - 1973". Archived from the original on 15 July 2014. Retrieved 12 May 2019.
  22. ^ "British single certifications – Stealers Wheel – Stuck in the Middle with You". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 13 October 2020.
  23. ^ Reynolds, Simon (January 7, 2013). "Quentin Tarantino's music moments: 'Stuck in the Middle', David Bowie". Digital Spy. National Magazine Company Ltd. Retrieved April 7, 2014. 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.
  24. ^ Halperin, Shirley (August 21, 2009). "Quentin Tarantino on Five Key Soundtrack Picks, From "Reservoir Dogs" to "Inglourious Basterds"". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 7, 2014. 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.
  25. ^ a b c "Stealers Wheel - IMDb"., Inc. Retrieved 29 July 2021.
  26. ^ "The Wonder Years - The Test - IMDb"., Inc. Retrieved 29 July 2021.
  27. ^ "Lazlo Bane's Guilty Pleasures". Retrieved January 10, 2017.
  28. ^ "Let's Be Cops on". Retrieved January 26, 2015.
  29. ^ "IBM Cloud Super Bowl 2020 TV Commercial, 'The Most Flexible Cloud' Song by Stealers Wheel" (Ad ID: 2661332). iSpot,tv.
  30. ^ "New Releases – For Week Starting August 27, 2001: Singles" (PDF). Music Week. 25 August 2001. p. 31. Retrieved 16 August 2021.
  31. ^ Betts, Graham (2004). Complete UK Hit Singles 1952-2004 (1st ed.). London: Collins. p. 465. ISBN 0-00-717931-6.
  32. ^ Kot, Greg. "LAWDY, MS. CROW". Retrieved 18 December 2018.
  33. ^ "Stuck In The Middle With You - Cover (Feat. Reina and Toni)". August 12, 2018.

External links[edit]