Gerry Rafferty, singer of the iconic track “Baker Street” has died peacefully at his Dorset home, aged 63. Rafferty was admitted to the Royal Bournemouth Hospital, Dorset, UK in November 2010 with liver failure. He was initially placed on a life support machine, but had shown good signs of recovery and discharged from hospital.
Rafferty wrote the song, famous as much for its haunting saxophone passages as for its vocals, to commemorate the time he spent busking on London’s underground railway system, particularly at Baker Street station. In a line of the song, the singer/songwriter promises to “give up the booze and the one-night stands”, but in reality, Rafferty frequently went through phases of drunkenness and had previously received treatment for alcohol-induced liver damage.
In 1968 after leaving a Clydeside (Scotland) shipyard, Rafferty began playing bass guitar in local clubs and teamed up with fellow shipyard worker Billy Connolly. But as Connolly’s comic routine became stronger, so Rafferty took more of a ‘back seat’ until joining the band “Stealer’s Wheel”, whose works included the memorable “Stuck in the Middle with You”,
But it was Baker Street that propelled Rafferty to fame. He is reported to have once said: “It’s every songwriter’s ambition to come up with at least one song in their lifetime that’s regarded as a classic,” he added. “And Baker Street is mine.” The song was released as a single in 1978 and went to number 2 in the USA and number 3 in the UK. It is reckoned that the song, continued to earn Rafferty royalties of around £80,000 every year until his death.
Rafferty married Carla Ventilla in 1970 but the couple later divorced. Carla said of him in 1990, “There was no hope. I would never have left him if there’d been a glimmer of a chance of him recovering.” Rafferty is survived his daughter, Martha and granddaughter, Celia.
In 1983, after selling around ten million records over his career, Rafferty announced that he was no longer going to tour, but wanted to spend more time with his family. Rafferty admitted to having suffered with depression during his lifetime, and in 1995 following the death of a brother, Joe, became involved in a bitter dispute with his surviving brother, Jim.
In 2008, Rafferty reportedly trashed a London hotel room and was soon afterwards admitted to hospital with liver problems. In August of that year he discharged himself from hospital, leaving clothes and luggage behind and lived since that time in the South West of England where he died.