Stuck In The Middle With You on Baker Street
Scottish folk rockers Stealers Wheel formed in 1972, recorded their debut album the same year in Apple Studio (The Beatles’ studio), and released their only hit, Stuck In The Middle With You as the third single the following year.
Originally written as a parody about record label parties in a voice imitating Bob Dylan, it wasn’t intended by the band to be a hit, it was more a funny in-joke about a stoned paranoid artist trying to cope with fame.
Stuck In The Middle With You would become Stealers Wheel’s only hit, they split in 1975 after releasing a further two albums with little commercial success.
The song did reasonably well in the charts, and it did sell a million copies but many songs have. However, not many songs have had the same lasting legacy as Stuck In The Middle With You achieved.
So how did it pull off this lasting legacy? To begin with, it’s found in movies, most famously in Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs (1992) and as a cover by Jeff Healey in Roadhouse but more importantly, it is still played regularly on the radio and by working bands every weekend for decades.
Personally, I believe it’s the bar bands that kept playing this that is the biggest reason for its continued popularity, perhaps I’m biased.
I actually played this in my first professional band and at the time of writing, last weekend. It was as if time had stood still, the audience loved it just as much now as they did 25 years ago and, I suspect, they still will 25 years from now.
Stealers Wheel may have intended for their tune to be an in-joke, but it looks like the entire world got it. As this was clearly a one-hit wonder, you may be thinking that whoever wrote this tune just got lucky, no chance!
The founding member and main songwriter of Stealers Wheel, Gerry Rafferty, would go on to write more hits as a solo artist, most notably Baker Street, ironically, the street where Apple headquarters was located, Stealers Wheels record label.
Baker Street was actually an even bigger hit for Gerry. Steeped in controversy, it is often used by songwriters and musicians as a hot potato for writing credits and to spark debate.
The Sax player, Raphael Ravenscroft who played the memorable hook, which is very different in melody from the rest of the song, claims he came up with it. The argument goes, why did he not get any songwriting credits?
Often the debate starts like this: Sing me Baker Street, and everyone sings the sax melody. Now we argue, so why did the saxophone player not get any credits? Isn’t life unfair and difficult for musicians?
However, as it turns out, a demo of the original recording surfaced in 2011, and would you believe it, the melody is played on the electric guitar, by Gerry. I guess people love controversy or perhaps Raphael just wanted a bigger house!
Stealers Wheel tunes | Related pages
Stuck In The Middle With You
You can learn how to play Stuck In The Middle With You by Stealers Wheel using chords, lyrics, and the original recording.
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Well, I don’t know why I came here tonight…