february 17

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
Stereogum
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)

Lyrics

Long Version

Smoking The Bible

Snapshots Sunday: Pooh Bear

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Pooh In The Backyard Image One
My Pooh Bear
Stumpy-tailed Manx
05-14-2008

Pooh was not originally my cat. When the Marine and I moved to Texas, Pooh (the owners called him Oliver) lived three doors away. He was very friendly and walked the sidewalks like a person. The story we got from the owner was, he was purchased as a kitten for her son. Her son developed allergies to the cat so, she put him outside. He could get in and out of the garage and, had a sleeping pad on a bench on the front porch.

Pooh With Rabbit Image Two
He decided that my Ty Beanie Baby Rabbit…was HIS.
01-01-2008

He didn’t visit our house too much because we had Buddy. When we lost Buddy, he got closer and closer to the front door, unsure because he wasn’t allowed in his own home. One day, we opened the door and he walked in. We fed him some tuna and…he stayed. We taught him how to use the cat doors we already had and he returned to us every day. His previous owner, at this point, had re-married, had two more kids (plus the husband’s kid) and three dogs. I’m not sure they ever noticed.

Passed Out Pooh In My Chair Image Three
Passed out in my office chair.
01-24-2011

He didn’t look like an Oliver to us. My Marine made the remark that he looked like a little bear walking up the sidewalk. I immediately went to my childhood days and thought “Pooh!” He got a new name with his new home.

Pooh On The Couch Image Four
Couch Kitty
Pooh liked to watch TV.
02-25-2009

Poor Pooh had spine problems related to his stumpy tail. The entire time he was with us, he had spells…twice a day. Something in his spine would move or catch and he would howl in pain. Then, he would chase the pain…until he was dizzy. It was something bizarre to watch and you couldn’t miss the sound. Think Looney Tunes’ Tasmanian Devil. When he regained his faculties, he would begin to groom as if nothing had happened. Unfortunately for me, some of those spells occurred in my lap. I still have scars…bless his heart.

Pooh On The Couch Image Five
So. You gonna change the channel or what?

He was our baby for three and a half years. He developed pancreatic cancer and had to be put down February 17, 2011. He was a character. When he wanted your attention and you weren’t fast enough, he made this sound of frustration that always reminded me of Number 5/Johnny Five from Short Circuit.

Passed Out Pooh Image Six
Passed out in the hallway.
06-20-2009

Shutterbug Saturday: Ice Storm 2015

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Continuing from yesterday’s post, this was an ice storm that occurred when I was in Examiner School. This area is in the Eastern part of the state, a half an hour due East of Fayettenam (Fayetteville/Fort Bragg) and 75 miles NNW of Wilmington. Basically, it’s in the middle of nowhere. It was all I could do to not bust my ass walking to class.

These and yesterday’s pix were taken with my old Samsung Alias II. ~Vic

Ice Branches Image One
Ice Branches
02-17-2015
Frozen Walkway Image Two
Lost a limb.
Grass Clumps Image Three
Frozen grass clumps.
Ice Tree Image Four
Ice tree in front of the library.
02-18-2015
Ice Trees Image Five
Looks like glass.
Ice Trees Image Six
Sun Devil
Glass Daggers Image Seven
Glass Daggers
Frozen Fountain Image Eight
Frozen fountain outside of a steakhouse in Roseborough.
Railroad Street Steakhouse
02-19-2015

Still feeling cooler? You’re welcome!