RIP Gerry Rafferty, Whose ‘Baker Street’ Changed the Sax Solo | Rolling Stone Culture | Pop Life | Rob Sheffield on TV and Pop Culture

6 Jan

RIP Gerry Rafferty, Whose ‘Baker Street’ Changed the Sax Solo | Rolling Stone Culture | Pop Life | Rob Sheffield on TV and Pop Culture.

I’d been thinking about writing about Raphael Ravescroft’s iconic sax solo in the intro of Gerry Rafferty’s 70s radio hit Baker Street before Gerry left his body this week.  Back in the heyday of myspace before it came to resemble that foul mall that is the internet on the Dave Chapelle skit, I found Raphael Ravenscroft and exchanged a couple of emails with him.  Having grown up in the 70s, the solo, which Rolling Stone’s Rob Sheffield describes as one of the Seventies’ most enduringly creepy sounds, to me represented some kind of sophistication to be aspired to.  35 years or so later I harbor some kind of aspiration to some time in my life create some kind of sax recording that could become a tenth as recognizable all over the planet as the sax solo on Baker Street.  Despite my sense that EVERYONE knows that break, (could it be the most well known piece of saxophone music in the whole world?  Can’t everybody hum it?), Raphael Ravenscroft has not enjoyed international multi generational fame.  According to his Wikipedia page, he was paid “£27 for the session with a cheque that bounced.” Hopefully at least his fortunes have improved since then.

I dont’ know if this is ACTUALLY Raphael Ravenscroft in the video, but this is the video I remember from my childhood.  Funny thing is, I always thought of it as a tenor solo.  I’m going to give it a whirl on bari and drop it in on some gig or other soon.

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