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Scottish Bands and Singers. Gerry Rafferty

BAKER STREET.

Gerry Rafferty was born into a working class family in Paisley, Scotland. His father was a labourer and his mother worked in the Paisley weaving mills. His first introduction to music was the traditional Scots and Irish folk music his mother would sing to him, later on the hymns sang at Catholic mass. As a teenager he remembers vividly the first time he heard Elvis being played on the radio in a local shop. Rock and roll would shape his life from then on. Early influences were The Beatles, The Everly Brothers, Bob Dylan and The Band. He was single minded and unflinching in his determination to make a living from music and worked hard at becoming a better songwriter, he already had perfect pitch and a beautiful distinctive voice. Later on he would advise young musicians starting out to focus on becoming better songwriters rather than bigger celebrities. Sound advice in these times more than ever.

The Outsiders

As a young man he found a copy of the book , ‘The Outsiders’ by Colin Wilson under a bed and it resonated deeply with his experience of detachment and dislocation from society. It introduced him to the work of Herman Hesse, William Blake, Dostoyevsky, Van Gogh and George Gurdjieff amongst others. He sustained a profound curiosity for the underlying meaning of existence and was an avid reader of Doris Lessing, Idries Shah and Colin Wilson in his unequivocal journey to understand himself and his life. He had developed an early reliance on alcohol in order to self medicate as a way to cope and manage the symptoms of bipolar disorder. His music reflected and documented both his struggles and breakthroughs, his inner turmoils and spiritual insights, perhaps none more so than the single which became a worldwide hit in 1978, ‘Baker Street’. The soaring saxophone solo perfectly captures the endurance and triumph of the human spirit in adversity, the sun rising out of the darkness and lighting the way once again… ‘and when you wake up it’s a new morning, the sun is shining it’s a new morning, and you’re going, you’re going home’.

Evolution

His evolution as a songwriter was intimately connected to his love and joy of singing. Singing was home for him and he returned to it every day wherever he found himself, harmony especially so. He loved the company of singing with others and nothing gave him more joy, as those who’ve sat round a table with him will testify. That was his way of putting his mental disarray back into order. Despite his struggles with mental health and the resulting addiction he left a lasting legacy and body of work which will endure for generations to come. I hope you discover something new here, we will be updating as we go as new releases of unpublished work become available so keep checking in.

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