Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Gerry Rafferty

That it may have been inevitable doesn't make the death of Gerry Rafferty any less sad. I got to know his work through his second Humblebums album, Open Up the Door - and a few days ago, listening to stuff fairly randomly on spotify, clicked on My Singing Bird and marvelled once again at  the perfection and simplicity of it


You could draw comparisons with McCartney, and wonder why (at that time) he hadn't had similar success, though my immediate elder brother (whose album it was, and who had already seen them live) said that maybe the trouble was he didn't have a George Martin producing him.

I don't know. But today, reading an obituary in the Guardian written by Michael Gray, his personal manager ("employee not Svengali") during the time of his greatest solo success, one passage leapt out:

He did not want to have to out-platinum himself: he had money enough, and disliked being recognised. But behind an aggressive front, and a strong awareness of his own musical excellence, was fear. He turned down working with Eric Clapton, McCartney and others, telling [his wife] Carla "nobody was good enough". In truth, he dared not sit down with superstars without a drink or five. So he sat at home – now 300 acres of Kent farmland and a Queen Anne house in Hampstead, north London – and convinced himself he could work alone with [Hugh] Murphy. Carla said later: "He was just stalling for time. Maybe some new project would suddenly happen, but I knew he'd crossed the line as far as the record business went."

Spotify link to My Singing Bird here.  
Full Guardian obituary here.
STV interview from 2001 here
The TRUE story of how I fell out of love with Donovan here.
Strangers on a train: meeting Jake Thackray here.