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Gerry Rafferty: Baker Street

Gerry Rafferty

Baker Street by Gerry Rafferty is regarded as one of the most popular soft rock tunes of all times. It’s even claimed that the famous saxophone riff in the song inspired a huge rise in saxophone solos. Here’s all you need to know about this famous hit.

Origins and inspiration

Scottish singer-songwriter Gerry Rafferty is famed for composing Baker Street in 1978. It was written for his second album, City to City.

Prior to writing the song, Gerry had been in a band called Stealers Wheel. When the band split up in 1975, Gerry found himself caught in a legal battle regarding his contract, preventing him from releasing new material.

At that time, Gerry was spending a lot of time commuting by train from his hometown of Paisley to London, where he met with lawyers to discuss his contractual obligations. During his visits to the capital, Gerry would stay at a mate’s flat in Baker Street, where they would while away the hours playing guitar and drinking.

It was Gerry’s visits to the flat in Baker Street that inspired his song. The lyrics talk about a man who dreams of escaping and living in his own place but as a drunkard, this isn’t achievable. Drinking allows the man to forget his desires.

It’s also believed that a book Gerry was reading entitled ‘The Outsider’ by Colin Wilson inspired his lyrics. The book explores the concepts of creativity and alienation while travelling between two places.

Chart success

After the legal disputes were resolved, Gerry went on to have a smash hit with Baker Street. It peaked at number three in the UK charts in 1978 and stayed at number two in the US charts for an impressive six weeks.

The song was especially noted for its original eight-bar sax break between verses, performed by Raphael Ravenscroft.

So successful was Baker Street that it earned the 1978 Ivor Novello Award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically. It has also been awarded Gold Certification twice.

Baker Street has been covered by numerous artists over the years, including the Foo Fighters, Ali Campbell, London Symphony Orchestra and even Lisa Simpson from The Simpsons. Its most famous cover was recorded by British dance band, Undercover, whose version reached number two in the charts in 1992. Baker Street has also featured in several films.

Travelling to Baker Street

It’s no surprise that Gerry was inspired by his visits to Baker Street station in London. As one of the capital’s busiest and most important transport hubs, it serves the Bakerloo line, Jubilee line, Circle line, Hammersmith & City line, and the Metropolitan line. Baker Street has the most platforms of any tube station, with 10 in total.

While Gerry got off at Baker Street to stay at his pal’s flat, most travellers exit this station to visit many local attractions, including Madame Tussauds, The Auditorium (previously known as London Planetarium), The Sherlock Holmes Museum, Regent’s Park, Royal Academy of Music Museum, Wallace Collection and Lord’s Cricket Ground.

Made famous by the song and its station, Baker Street plays a vital role in transportation. LH-PLC serves the underground stations with their efficient and high-quality air conditioning systems, helping to keep passengers comfortable during their journeys. Find out how their air conditioning systems could help your business, by getting in touch today.

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