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Gerry Rafferty — Baker Street
Album: City To City
Avg rating:
7.7

Your rating:
Total ratings: 2775









Released: 1978
Length: 5:54
Plays (last 30 days): 3
Winding your way down on Baker Street
Light in your head and dead on your feet
Well, another crazy day
You'll drink the night away
And forget about everything
This city desert makes you feel so cold
It's got so many people, but it's got no soul
And it's taken you so long
To find out you were wrong
When you thought it held everything

You used to think that it was so easy
You used to say that it was so easy
But you're trying, you're trying now
Another year and then you'd be happy
Just one more year and then you'd be happy
But you're crying, you're crying now

Way down the street there's a light in his place
He opens the door, he's got that look on his face
And he asks you where you've been
You tell him who you've seen
And you talk about anything
He's got this dream about buying some land
He's gonna give up the booze and the one-night stands
And then he'll settle down
In some quiet little town
And forget about everything

But you know he'll always keep moving
You know he's never gonna stop moving
'Cause he's rolling, he's the rolling stone
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
Comments (489)add comment
 gregoryt wrote:


Sweet!!
I'm 55, my daughter is 21. When she went to college 3 years ago , I created and have continually curated a shared playlist called "Dad Share" with the eclecticism that you describe too.  "Baker Street" and especially "Right Down the Line" have become "favorited" for her to share with her friends.   
On many days - like today - I'll be listening to RP and hear a song that I NEED to add.  She now does the same for me.  We are as connected as ever.  When she's 55, I know she'll remember - and perhaps do the same with her children. Thanks Bill and Rebecca. Thanks RP community.


I do something similar with my college age daughter.  This is a good song to add.  Not one that I have a personal connection so like some others have posted, but I always liked it, even though it was once "dad music."  Reminds me of the Dave Ramsey show.
Nighthawk dive bomb
 scrubbrush wrote:

It's 2021. I'm 51. My son is 18.
My son heard me playing this occasionally as he grew up.  
He has it on a playlist called "dad music" 

Same here.  On warm summer days, we take my 50 year old top-less Land Cruiser out for drives in the country.  My 20yo son throws on the 'memories' playlist, and we explore, talk, laugh, listen.
Iconic!
Sax player, a certain bloke called BOB HOLNESS
 deniseperry wrote:

Session musician, purportedly, got paid £50 for this. No idea if it is fact or faction. But it stuck in my mind. As it would. X


Per the Wiki:

Ravenscroft told the BBC's The One Show in 2010 that he was only paid £27.50 for the "Baker Street" session, which was the Musicians' Union rate at the time.[7] It has been (falsely)[8] reported that the cheque bounced and that it was kept on the wall of Ravenscroft's solicitors; in contrast, the song is said to have earned Rafferty £80,000 a year in royalties.[9]
 oldviolin wrote:
Schmeids on a cobblestone alley. Butzbach, Germany. Baker St on the juke. Licher bier on the draw. 1978...
 
It was snowing. We drank the beer out of a glass boot. Glug glug spit laugh. What a way to fight a war. Rinse repeat...
I'll have a B please, Bob.

Awesome.
 scrubbrush wrote:

It's 2021. I'm 51. My son is 18.
My son heard me playing this occasionally as he grew up.  
He has it on a playlist called "dad music" that includes stuff from everyone from Puscifer to Stevie Wonder to The Pogues to Rage Against the Machine to The Hold Steady to Eric B and Rakim to Crosby, Stills and Nash, Alpha Blondy... I could go on and on.
I'm quite pleased with that

Nice one.  My son was 15 when I took him to see Paul Carrack.  He was the youngest in the audience by at least 30 years.  We were in the bar area before the performance and he rang his Mum to check that I hadn't taken him to the wrong venue.  Poor lad.  He'll remember it with fondness when I've gone.
This is a cult from the late 70's ... I still consider it a high standard, although of course it's not Floyd or Yes .. 10/10. And the street where Sherolck Holmes used to be ... what to add ...
 Rockit9 wrote:

Didn't he also do the voice of  You're a mean one Mr. Grinch!  That was Thurl Arthur Ravenscroft.  Could be related.  


 wendyleefrancis1 wrote:

I'm afraid I thought this music was insipid when it came out and it still strikes me the same way.




I'm just glad you found an opportunity to use the word "insipid". Hope it made you feel good that day.
 scrubbrush wrote:

It's 2021. I'm 51. My son is 18.
My son heard me playing this occasionally as he grew up.  
He has it on a playlist called "dad music" that includes stuff from everyone from Puscifer to Stevie Wonder to The Pogues to Rage Against the Machine to The Hold Steady to Eric B and Rakim to Crosby, Stills and Nash, Alpha Blondy... I could go on and on.
I'm quite pleased with that


Sweet!!
I'm 55, my daughter is 21. When she went to college 3 years ago , I created and have continually curated a shared playlist called "Dad Share" with the eclecticism that you describe too.  "Baker Street" and especially "Right Down the Line" have become "favorited" for her to share with her friends.   
On many days - like today - I'll be listening to RP and hear a song that I NEED to add.  She now does the same for me.  We are as connected as ever.  When she's 55, I know she'll remember - and perhaps do the same with her children. Thanks Bill and Rebecca. Thanks RP community.
Session musician, purportedly, got paid £50 for this. No idea if it is fact or faction. But it stuck in my mind. As it would. X
 Nat wrote:
Dad music we used to call it. Now I’m the Dad, so I suppose it’s my music {#Cheesygrin}

It's 2021. I'm 51. My son is 18.
My son heard me playing this occasionally as he grew up.  
He has it on a playlist called "dad music" that includes stuff from everyone from Puscifer to Stevie Wonder to The Pogues to Rage Against the Machine to The Hold Steady to Eric B and Rakim to Crosby, Stills and Nash, Alpha Blondy... I could go on and on.
I'm quite pleased with that
 CamLwalk wrote:

I had to look up the sax player and I'm glad I did!  

Raphael Ravenscroft! 

What a name!  What a sax part!



Yup!  This is the song that made me want to master the sax.  I guess there still might be enough time in my life, but I'd better get after it soon (lol).  Or maybe I'll just continue to do what I've always done - listen and enjoy someone else who's already done it.
 K_Love wrote:

I love this song so much. Such happy childhood memories of hanging out at the community pool during the summers of '78 and '79. For some reason, I remember hearing this song being played a lot on the speakers around the pool but no other songs stood out to me. This always instantly takes me back to that time in my life.



I was at the community pool also back then, and listening to AM radio in the heartland, and this is one of the few songs that stood out, right at the moment when I first began my long journey with music, which is so thoroughly encapsulated here at the fabulous Radio Paradise.
 CamLwalk wrote:
I had to look up the sax player and I'm glad I did!  

Raphael Ravenscroft! 

What a name!  What a sax part!
 
Didn't he also do the voice of  You're a mean one Mr. Grinch!  
I had to look up the sax player and I'm glad I did!  

Raphael Ravenscroft! 

What a name!  What a sax part!
Schmeids on a cobblestone alley. Butzbach, Germany. Baker St on the juke. Licher bier on the draw. 1978...
The song that got me paying attention to music, not just listening. A 10.
 K_Love wrote:
I love this song so much. Such happy childhood memories of hanging out at the community pool during the summers of '78 and '79. For some reason, I remember hearing this song being played a lot on the speakers around the pool but no other songs stood out to me. This always instantly takes me back to that time in my life.
 
Same here. My ex said it reminded her of sex as a teen.

 molson wrote:
I thought you wrote inspired...I was going to agree. I insipid, not agrees so much...

 

 wendyleefrancis1 wrote:
I'm afraid I thought this music was insipid when it came out and it still strikes me the same way.
 

I'm afraid I thought this music was insipid when it came out and it still strikes me the same way.
 westslope wrote:

Good call.  I suspect the reason I like it even more now than then is because now I am listening much more carefully.  With better sound systems.  

Nice composition, it is indeed a very nice arrangement.  Terrific near song-end fill.  I can hear the spaces, I love it.
 
Agreed. I had the LP when it came out and had a good system. It jumped out of the speakers. Years later, I bought the CD and it sounded like mud. Awful dub that someone thankfully redid.  
Lovely sax solo from Bob Holness there!
EPIC LYRICS!
Great then, great today. Excellent road song late on a dark night, alone, played very very loud with the windows open
Good memories... from 1978... one century ago☹️
One of the few heavy-rotation radio hits from the late 70s that I still love to hear.
Gerry made around £60,000 a year in royalties off this song alone, crazy. 
I get the aversion to songs that were/are played heavily on FM radio (except when it's the Beatles apparently!), but a) there's a skip button, and b) many songs are overplayed for a reason, namely that they are awesome and/or epic and/or delightful. This is one of those.
I came here for the Bob Holness urban legend.... I was not disappointed.
meh... iconic but overplayed
What an outstanding track,RIP Gerry🙏
 MattRudely wrote:
Bob Holness on sax.
 
I thought it was Raphael Ravenscroft.
 ExploitingChaos wrote:
Wow never bothered to listen or read the lyrics - gave me a whole new reason to appreciate this song.

Bless all <3
 
This is how LA felt to me in the 70s
This song makes me sway. So gentle, 70s vibe... love it.
TURN IT UP!!!! 
Memorable hit from the Summer of 1978 
 BCarn wrote:
Such a defining guitar solo at the end. Love it.
 

to complement the defining saxophone riff!
Bob Holness on sax.
Classic!
"He's got this dream about buying some land
He's gonna give up the booze and the one-night stands
And then he'll settle down In some quiet little town"
And forget about everything
"
 
Such a defining guitar solo at the end. Love it.
One of the best songs of the 20th century - full stop Amazing how good it still sounds today - thanks Bill
My late teens were defined by a strange mix of music.  Elvis Costello, Kraftwerk, Genesis and, because I'm Scottish, Gerry Rafferty.  He was a massive part of growing up for my Dunfermline generation.  RIP Gerry.  
 JckTorance wrote:
Some songs are timeless. This one has 70's written all over it. 
 
Another song that got played to death will hit the next button
Some songs are timeless. This one has 70's written all over it. 
Soooooo 70's. 

The album art, the arrangement, the melody. Quintessential 70's.
Wow never bothered to listen or read the lyrics - gave me a whole new reason to appreciate this song.

Bless all <3
Wow, never realized until now that GR also sang "Stuck in the Middle with You".  Baker Street is an iconic late 70s tune for me, when I first began listening to radio as a wee lad..    
This was the song that most inspired me to want to learn how to play a saxophone.  Still does. . . and I still want to learn how to play a sax.  I hope to be on this planet for another 20-25 years so that dream might still come true.  If not, I can still love this song!!
How weird to hear this.  It brings back memories.  It was never a song I loved.  But I remember that guitar work being the background of many parties and backgammon games or driving the car really fast.  Wow.  Pulled me back to the time, 1978.  
It's really kind of a depressing song. Read up on his life and then read the lyrics to the song.
 DaidyBoy wrote:
This was a great "urban myth" that did the rounds in the UK at the time:

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/stuart-maconie-my-fib-about-bob-holness-102328

It made us all smile, especially when Bob passed.  Everyone was very fond of him and his gentle humour.  RIP Bob.
 

Documented in one of Stuart Maconie's books - Cider With Roadies, I think :-
 MattRudely wrote:
Bob Holness on sax, eh fellow Brits.
 
LOL - I thought it was Stuart Maconie 
 h8rhater wrote:

Overplayed when?  Four decades ago?  Let it go.
 

Overplayed to heck, but it doesn't stop it from being a truly great song.
Bob Holness on sax, eh fellow Brits.
Simpler times, good memories. Still love it, and I am NOT a classic rock fan.
 kcar wrote:

 
Yeah...but hearing a few plays of this on RP re-awakens that "overplayed" reaction and rush to hit the PSD button.
 
Overplayed when?  Four decades ago?  Let it go.
Takes me back to school exam revision and memories or more care free times. For that alone I love it. Just love songs with some sax and boy does this have sax. Up there with Hazel Oconnor and Will you. Solid 10 from me.
when music is really art - perfect composition immaculate arranged - there is so much to hear in this track - timeless
This was for sure an amazing hit for Gerry, but the whole record is pretty dang good. Right Down The Line and What Evers Written In Your Heart are most excellent!!!
 sirdroseph wrote:
I still can't believe they rejected Get it Right Next Time.  If you are going to have this might as well have his best song too.

 
I love this song, but I have to agree with this comment.
The best part of this song is Hugh’s solo!
 Dazzerb wrote:
have not heard this is years.  Still sounds pretty good.

 
 
Yeah...but hearing a few plays of this on RP re-awakens that "overplayed" reaction and rush to hit the PSD button.
[insert Rick & Morty reference]
Dad music we used to call it. Now I’m the Dad, so I suppose it’s my music {#Cheesygrin}
Garry Rafferty had some great songs.  Don't forget Right Down The Line and Stuck in the Middle with You when he was in Steelers Wheel.
 Proclivities wrote:

Off the top of my head, I can think of two artists who "sounded like this" in the late '70s: Al Stewart and Steely Dan.  Anyhow, good tune, I also find I enjoy it more now than I did then.

 
Good call.  I suspect the reason I like it even more now than then is because now I am listening much more carefully.  With better sound systems.  

Nice composition, it is indeed a very nice arrangement.  Terrific near song-end fill.  I can hear the spaces, I love it.
This was a great "urban myth" that did the rounds in the UK at the time:

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/stuart-maconie-my-fib-about-bob-holness-102328

It made us all smile, especially when Bob passed.  Everyone was very fond of him and his gentle humour.  RIP Bob.
 deepwoodskev wrote:
Ahhhh, memories of WLS 890 in Chicago with Larry Lujack on a crappy AM radio.

 
Larry Lujack lived in my neighborhood in Palatine.  Typical suburban home, except for his psychedelically painted mailbox.

Yes, the song is known for the sax riff, but it is always the exaltant little guitar solo at the end that gets me.
 deepwoodskev wrote:
Ahhhh, memories of WLS 890 in Chicago with Larry Lujack on a crappy AM radio.

 
Stay tuned.  Maybe you'll hear Animal Stories next...
Good Will Hunting! 
A classic with that unforgettable Sax riff...


have not heard this is years.  Still sounds pretty good.
Transportive. Thanks for the audio memory prod.
 Amen, brother, don't forget to add while stuck in never-ending traffic.

deepwoodskev wrote:
Ahhhh, memories of WLS 890 in Chicago with Larry Lujack on a crappy AM radio.

 


 Baketown wrote:
Like every song from the Good Will Hunting sound track, this song will always remind me of that movie 

 
Well, Rick and Morty ruined that for me...
I remember singing the lyrics to this song in my family's car back in the late 70s. I still sing along every time I hear it. Brilliant lyrics.
Like every song from the Good Will Hunting sound track, this song will always remind me of that movie 
Summer of '78, I was 16, working at a Japanese restaurant; got my brother and a friend of ours jobs there... Us 3 rolling up outside after High School, getting stoned to Van Halen, going in to Another World; koto and shamisen music, kanji and scrolls on the walls... Steaming bowls of sukiyaki and spring rolls to die for... Trading with the cute waitresses; chunks of hash for bottles of sake and rum... Driving around in Mom's car after... Finding secluded parks to mix our drinks and roll joints... Cruising for as long as we could, with this on the radio... Sure, there was other music; Eddie Money, Foreigner, The Cars — but WHEN THIS CAME ON, WE LISTENED, RAPT.
 Proclivities wrote:

Off the top of my head, I can think of two artists who "sounded like this" in the late '70s: Al Stewart and Steely Dan.  Anyhow, good tune, I also find I enjoy it more now than I did then.

 
Agreed, with Rafferty, all first-rate musicians.
 Ag3nt0rang3 wrote:
..I can't think of anyone else who was making anything that sounded like this in the late seventies...
 
Off the top of my head, I can think of two artists who "sounded like this" in the late '70s: Al Stewart and Steely Dan.  Anyhow, good tune, I also find I enjoy it more now than I did then.
Gta yay
Gerry was a hero of Scotland.  A Local Hero, if you will
He lived in the bottle for quite a while.
I remember buying the album geez is it really that long ago? 1978? Oh my. {#Roflol}
 AhhtheMusic wrote:
Hmm, surprised to hear this on RP.  I've always associated this with a lousy pop/easy listening radio station.  Maybe I missed something.

 
Yes, it was overplayed on commercial radio, but the entire album was high quality and ahead of its time. Gerry Rafferty is an artist worthy of this station, make no mistake. Shame he died relatively young. Perhaps play some of the other tunes from the album, please?
Hmm, surprised to hear this on RP.  I've always associated this with a lousy pop/easy listening radio station.  Maybe I missed something.
Ahhhh, memories of WLS 890 in Chicago with Larry Lujack on a crappy AM radio.
I associate this song with the mid-eighties, specifically the standard pablum-smooth crap put out in that time period. Imagine my surprise when I checked the date on this one and it was from 1978. I can't think of anyone else who was making anything that sounded like this in the late seventies. Clearly a more original song and sound than I gave credit for.
 blades wrote:
Oddly better now than then

 
Yes it is, it's funny how that happens sometimes.  Of course there are some songs I liked from this era that I can barely stand to hear anymore.
RAPHAEL RAVENSCROFT

and, the sax player who missed out on this - King Crimson's own Mel Collins.
Wow, that solo... I recall as if it was yesterday how, whenever this song came on that magical Summer of '78, we used to WAIT FOR IT
Oddly better now than then
Could the cover art be any more mid-70s?
I've just heard too much of this on classic rock radio, which I DONT listen to...however my roommate does and he keeps it on all friggin day long!! Oh the pain!.
Had to have more than a touch of coolness to do this.  "But you know he'll always keep moving..." The whole album was great!
Pure magic. Perfection. Rafferty doesn't strike me as a cool cat, but weirdos can do lots of good..

 
Butzbach Germany. Last leg getting short. Cobblestones and medieval timber frames leaning in comfortably on each other. Snow and fog shrouding the old ghosts of winters freeze and thaws past. Drinking Licher by the yard boot at Schmieds. Can't remember the name of the street just now...long time ago...
I still can't believe they rejected Get it Right Next Time.  If you are going to have this might as well have his best song too.
think I'll take up the booze and one night stands.. gonna give up being settled down in this quiet little town and forget about everything.
 
One of my all time favorites. Never tire of this song. Love the sax. 
And now their watch is ended.  Love the cover art!
 Padutarb wrote:
Brilliant song with one of my favourite lyrics ' ..give up the booze and the one night stands.. Find some quiet little town, then he'll settle down and forget about everything.' I get the feeling the lyrics are very autobiographical and probably a good indication of Gerry's state of mind.
 
RIP—Too bad for Gerry that he couldn't live up to his ideal (lyrically, that is).
 OceanBlue wrote:
Bill's got me laughing out loud at my desk.... "... and now they're both dead. Yeah. That's kinda how it goes, isn't it?"

Indeed, sir.{#Roflol}

 
Yeah, I wasn't sure if I should laugh or get depressed.  {#Lol}
Bill's got me laughing out loud at my desk.... "... and now they're both dead. Yeah. That's kinda how it goes, isn't it?"

Indeed, sir.{#Roflol}
Holy cow ... it's the late 70s again. 
That's it.  The Sax riff reminds me of Al Stewart. 
The back to the land movement.....

You know the dope-smokin' hippies on The Farm were surprisingly successful.   Others did OK, supplemented by day jobs or trust funds.

The idealism.  The naive dreams.  The crazy economics.
 
Fabulous.
 Hippostar wrote:
I suppose the saxophonist feels really proud of the one bar he wrote.
 
Except he was playing what Rafferty wrote. Check the article I posted below.

See how the Internet allows everyone (including me) the chance to spout off without being informed?


First time I began to seriously question my future...
Then everything changed and I began scrambling hard and harder
One of the great Prog Rock woodwind players ever, Mel Collins, was the first choice to play the Ravenscroft sax part!
But they thought he'd decline and they moved on to their second choice...


 MassivRuss wrote:
Aaahh high school...

Wait! I HATED high school!

 
Right there with you. I went to a small high school with strict rules and a humorless, deathly pale vice principal in charge of discipline. (The principal was so uninvolved that when he'd make the rare effort to talk to students in the cafeteria, they'd ask "Who the hell was that?" after he ambled away). 

 A few years before I was a freshman at the school, someone had snuck onto campus and spray painted "Welcome to San Quentin" on one of the outside walls. The town was so cheap that it didn't sandblast the remark off until my junior year. I had some good times there but overall the place did feel like a prison. 

But we did have this song to get us through the day. Every day. So overplayed. I wonder whether it helped Gerry's career or just turned him into a one-trick pony for many people.