The Many Musicians Who’ve Walked Down Gerry Rafferty’s “Baker Street”
Gerry Rafferty wasn't lying, Baker Street really does have so many people. Little did he know they would be made up of mostly famous musicians.
Rafferty's classic song "Baker Street" was a number one single on this weekend back in 1978. Since then it's not only become a classic go-to listen for more and more music fans every day but the list of musicians who've covered the song also continues to get longer and longer.
Before we take a listen to some of the interesting cover versions let's trace our steps back to the start of "Baker Street" and get the story behind the song:
"BAKER STREET" TRIVIA:
- The song is named after a street in the City of Westminster in London and has a connection to the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes, who lived at a fictional 221B Baker Street address on the north of the street.
- When Rafferty wrote the song he was regularly traveling between his family home in Paisley and London, where he often stayed at a friend's flat on Baker Street.
- Rafferty's daughter Martha has said that the book that inspired the song more than any other was Colin Wilson's The Outsider (1956). At the time it was written Rafferty was reading the book, which explores ideas of alienation and of creativity.
- The famous saxophone solo comes from Raphael Ravenscroft, a session musician who was in the studio to record a brief soprano sax part and suggested that he record the break using the alto saxophone he had in his car. The part led to what became known as "The 'Baker Street' Phenomenon" - a resurgence in the sales of saxophones and their use in mainstream pop music and television advertising.
- The single reached #1 on the Cash Box charts and #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, where it held that position for six weeks, behind Andy Gibb's "Shadow Dancing". It also hit #1 in Canada, #3 in the United Kingdom, #1 in Australia, #1 in South Africa and the top 10 in the Netherlands
O.K. So now we have the back story. Let's put our earbuds in and get ready to take a stroll down "Baker Street" courtesy of some famous musicians who have put their own spin on this iconic 70s track.
Maynard Ferguson (1978):
Game Theory (1985):
Waylon Jennings (1987):
The London Symphony Orchestra (1995):
Foo Fighters (1997):
David Lee Roth (2002)
Ali Campbell (2010):
Rocket From The Crypt (2013):
Mimi Page & Spitfire (2013):