I vividly remember hearing Gerry Rafferty's "Baker Street" on the radio nearly two decades ago, as I lay dozing on my bed during one of my first lengthy depressive episodes. Anyone who loves that tune knows it's one of those melodies that can sear right through the bad stuff in your life and make you appreciate, in an instant, the positive aspects of the here and now. The sad part of this story, aside from the fact that Rafferty's death today has occasioned this particular piece, is that even though I had enjoyed that song - and the work of Rafferty in general - for many years, I was unaware of the artist's name for far too long. I blame part of this on the long-time tendency for commercial radio to devalue and bypass song identification on the air, but I think it's also true that Rafferty has always been and probably will always be one of those grossly underrated artists who flirts frequently with anonymity.
I'm ashamed to admit, in fact, that somehow I never even knew Rafferty released a fine record in 1988. North and South is overlooked, to say the least, as is the rocking "Nothing Ever Happens Down Here," but I doubt it will take long for most lovers of great music to introduce themselves to the surplus of charms to be found in any Rafferty offering. Though he didn't always make it easy for audiences to hear his music - touring infrequently and struggling for years against the ravages of alcoholism - Rafferty will be mourned and fondly remembered for his soulful voice and effortless, unique approach to pop/rock melody.
- Listen here to the full track "Nothing Ever Happens Down Here."
- Compare prices on Gerry Rafferty CDs here.
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Album Cover Image Courtesy of London Records