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Stuck In The Middle

January 5, 2011
by

Gerry Rafferty of Stealers Wheel is dead. Everyone remembers “Stuck In The Middle With You” which enjoyed quite the renaissance after being used by Tarantino in that awesome but sick ear scene in Reservoir Dogs. The Guardian obit — authored by his personal manager — is well worth reading in full, but here are a few excerpts.

Rafferty was born in Paisley, near Glasgow, an unwanted third son. His father, Joseph, was an Irish-born miner. His mother, Mary Skeffington, whose name would provide a Rafferty song title, dragged young Gerry round the streets on Saturday nights so that they would not be at home when his father came back drunk. They would wait outside, in all weathers, until he had fallen asleep, to avoid a beating. “If it wasn’t for you, I’d leave,” Mary told Gerry. Joseph died in 1963, when Gerry was 16.

Yet in 1972, now with a young daughter, Martha, Gerry rejoined Egan to form Stealers Wheel, a soft-rock group. Their eponymous debut album climbed the US charts and included the million-selling Stuck in the Middle With You, memorably resurrected for a key scene in Quentin Tarantino’s film Reservoir Dogs (1992). But their A&M record contract tied them to huge touring and album commitments, and imposed musicians upon them. Gerry quit.

He had always drunk too much, and now he spiralled into alcoholism, putting on weight, which made him unhappier. “He became dangerous at airports,” said Carla, “and he’d scream across restaurant tables at me.” After their divorce, farm and Hampstead home gone, Gerry eventually moved to California, near to Martha, who worked for him. In 2008 Gerry left America, helped from wheelchair to plane by a woman he met in a video store. They rented a house in Ireland, until taxis and doctors refused to attend him. That August, a five-day binge at a five-star London hotel ended when the management had him admitted to hospital. He vanished in the night.

Personally, I enjoy the original video every bit as much as the Reservoir Dogs scene, but the choice is yours.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 5, 2011 11:07 am

    A classic scene from Reservoir Dogs and I’ve never seen the Stealers Wheel video. Thanks for finding that. I remember when the song came out, there were rumors it was really Bob Dylan under an assumed name. Interesting obit, R.I.P. Gerry Rafferty. (P.S. I always HATED that blaring yackety sax in “Baker Street.”)

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  1. Stealers Wheel « The Half Empty Glass

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