Hans 2021 Song Draft: Round Four-Pick 13-Baker Street-Gerry Rafferty (1978)

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Baker Street Gerry Rafferty Blog Image One
Image Credit: ladiscothequeabob.blogspot.com

Hanspostcard has a song draft challenge. This is my Round Four pick.

I nearly abandoned the rest of the 1970s for the 1980s until Quinn’s pick. Listening, again, to Tears for Fears reminded me of how much I love a saxophone in rock music. I think I might stay in 1978 for a little while. It was a good year, musically…for me, anyway. I can remember buying this 45 at a Woolworths in my hometown’s only mall. I also remember playing it on my little suitcase record player. I was eleven at the time. There’s not much that Gerry Rafferty put out that I didn’t like. ~Vic

A Scotsman (I am from Clan MacPherson), Rafferty’s first band was The Humblebums (founded in 1965), joining comic Billy Connolly and Tam Harvey in 1969. Harvey departed shortly afterwards and, in 1971, Rafferty recorded his first solo album when he and Connolly parted company. In 1972, he joined with Joe Egan to form Stealers Wheel, their biggest hit being Stuck In The Middle With You from their first, self-titled album. After disbanding in 1975, legal issues over Stealers Wheel prevented him from releasing new material for three years.

Baker Street, the second track from the album City To City, was released February 3, 1978 or, possibly, January 20, 1978, depending and entered the Billboard Hot 100 chart the week of April 22, 1978. It made it to #2 the week of June 24, 1978 and stayed there, stuck behind Andy Gibb‘s Shadow Dancing, for six weeks (as a side note, my paternal aunt gave me the Shadow Dancing 8-track album for my twelfth birthday and it was shoved into a brand new stereo system from my parents):

Bill Wardlow & Cher Getty Image Two
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Bill Wardlow & Cher
September 18, 1976

“…Baker Street was a smash and it allegedly took some serious chart chicanery to keep it out of the #1 spot. [It] stalled out at #2 right as […] Gibb’s Shadow Dancing was in the midst of its seven-week run at #1. According to legend, the chart tabulators at Billboard had actually figured out that Baker Street had finally ascended to the #1 spot in one of those [seven] weeks and they’d called the new chart into the producers at Casey Kasem’s radio show, America’s Top 40 [sic]. But, because of a last-minute correction, Kasem had to re-record the end of that week’s show, putting Shadow Dancing back on top.

According to rumor, Bill Wardlow, Billboard chart director, made the call to keep Shadow Dancing at #1. Wardlow had supposedly gone to dinner with Andy Gibb’s managers and he’d mentioned that Baker Street had knocked Shadow Dancing out of the #1 spot. Gibb had been scheduled to perform at a Billboard-sponsored show in New York and his label threatened to pull him from the bill if Billboard didn’t keep Shadow Dancing on top…so that’s why Baker Street never got to #1. This is all pure speculation and hearsay but, it’s a good story. Record labels have been doing everything in their power to game the Billboard charts ever since those charts began and it certainly seems possible that Baker Street could’ve been a casualty of all that.

Tom Breihan
The Number Ones Bonus Tracks
September 22, 2020

“While doing a bit of research the other day, I found myself poking around the edition of Billboard dated February 17, 1973 (PDF), as one does.

Here’s some of what’s inside:
Willis “Bill” Wardlow has been named associate publisher of Billboard. Over the next several years, Wardlow would be responsible for occasionally jiggering the Billboard charts to reward or punish record labels and to do favors for industry friends. As we learned a few years ago, his manipulations led to Gerry Rafferty’s “Baker Street” spending only 12 hours at #1.”

J. A. Bartlett
The Only War
The Hits Just Keep On Comin’
February 24, 2021

Additional Reading:
40 Years Later: Gerry Rafferty’s Baker Street ~ The Most Controversial No. 2 Song Ever? (DJ Rob Blog/04-17-2018)
Baker Street: The Mystery of Rock’s Greatest Sax Riff (The Atlantic/Adam Chandler/12-17-2015)
Scott Paton: Billboard Insider Comment (The Hits Just Keep On Comin’ Website/AT40 From The Inside/09-16-2013)


Long Version

Smoking The Bible

14 thoughts on “Hans 2021 Song Draft: Round Four-Pick 13-Baker Street-Gerry Rafferty (1978)

    Rusty Armor said:
    August 28, 2021 at 5:03 PM

    Interesting picks. The 70’s were a cultural waste for me … I didn’t watch film, I didn’t listen to music. It is like hearing things for the first time …

      The Hinoeuma responded:
      August 28, 2021 at 5:28 PM

      You were more into the 1960s? The 1980s? The 1950s? My dad pretty much loved the 1950s the most.

      Some 70s movies are really bad.

        Rusty Armor said:
        August 28, 2021 at 8:28 PM

        Yeah, I was more of a Beatnik that a hippie, but we were grandfathered in! I spent most of the 70’s recovering from the 60’s … I had a small part in Easy Rider, and tried my hand at acting, but frankly hated most H’wood people.

          The Hinoeuma responded:
          August 28, 2021 at 11:00 PM

          That would put you somewhere in the IMDb. Credited or uncredited? I was just perusing the database on Easy Rider. Is your blog name a pseudo?

          I imagine that Hollyweird would be a very difficult place to function properly.

          Beatnik? Like surf music?

            Rusty Armor said:
            August 31, 2021 at 4:23 PM

            … George Fowler … Jailor/deputy in the scene where they meet up with Jack Nicholson ..
            Beatnik as in very bad poetry … 😛

              The Hinoeuma responded:
              August 31, 2021 at 4:59 PM

              You ARE in the IMDb. Look at you:

              So, what’s below a Beatnik (as in very bad poetry)? I can’t write poetry at all. What’s a term for a person that is poetry-handicapped?

                Rusty Armor said:
                August 31, 2021 at 7:15 PM

                LOL! Beatniks hated materialism, and were also called Bohemians. We considered ourselves as artistic. I came into the movement directly from the military and moved to SFO to write and live simply. We were more late fifties into the sixties, and the hippies adopted most of their dress and vocabulary from beatniks … like most youth, we thought ourselves deep, but truthfully, we were as shallow as the hippies and our more political bretheren, the

                  The Hinoeuma responded:
                  August 31, 2021 at 7:42 PM

                  Wow. So many identification terms. My “youth movement” consisted of the dying days of disco, then new wave with a brief stint in the preppy movement. I actually had classmates coming to school dressed in black trashbags (ever seen the video I Ran by A Flock of Seagulls?). Some other classmates were into the hard rock/punk stuff and like to wear spiked belts, spiked dog collars and lots of tattoos…plus those, shiny, stretchy disco pants that wouldn’t go away. Everybody sported a mullet haircut, even the girls. I had one classmate, during senior drape pictures…she wore so much black eyeliner, with her spiked hair, that you nearly couldn’t see her eyes. That picture in my annual is still scary looking.

                  We were Reagan teens and were VERY materialistic but, had been too young to be Yuppies. Everybody had a job, tho…

    badfinger20 (Max) said:
    September 14, 2021 at 10:22 PM

    I’ll take the 70s over any decade but the sixties…they are almost even…except one had the Beatles so the 60s edge the 70s out….both beat the holy hell out of the 80s…
    Baker Street was a great pick!

      The Hinoeuma responded:
      September 15, 2021 at 12:13 AM

      I loved that song.

      You should read the exchange, above. Seriously. You said CB was in the industry, yes?

      And, you should read more of Phil Strawn’s comments. He is in a Netflix documentary.

        badfinger20 (Max) said:
        September 15, 2021 at 12:15 AM

        Yea I have… I’m following Phil now…I see he has one with Iron Butterfly that I’m reading tomorrow. I told him on the Beach Boy one…he needs to write a book

          The Hinoeuma responded:
          September 15, 2021 at 12:27 AM

          That was quite an encounter. Gotta love what was then rural Plano, Texas.

            badfinger20 (Max) said:
            September 15, 2021 at 12:27 AM

            It really was…he has commented on mine a few times…really cool guy

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