Gerry Rafferty dies at home at 63
Tributes have been paid to Gerry Rafferty, the singer-songwriter best known for his 1978 hit Baker Street, who has died following a long illness.
The 63-year-old Scot is said to have passed away peacefully at his home in Dorset on Tuesday, with daughter Martha by his side. It is understood his funeral will be held in his home town of Paisley, near Glasgow, later this month.
Baker Street, with its distinctive saxophone solo, reached number three in the UK charts and no two in the US. Gerry, who split from wife Carla in the 1990s, was said to have earned £80,000 a year from the royalties on the song alone.
The Proclaimers said in a statement: "When we worked together and very kind to us. As well as a great songwriter he was a really, really good singer with fantastic harmony ideas. The fact that as well as producing Letter From America, he sang backing harmonies on it meant a lot to us. A great guy, a fantastic songwriter, Gerry will be sorely missed and we are greatly saddened at the news."
Billy Connolly said: "Gerry Rafferty was a hugely talented songwriter and singer who will be greatly missed. I was privileged to have spent my formative years working with Gerry and there remained a strong bond of friendship between us that lasted until his untimely death. Gerry had extraordinary gifts and his premature passing deprives the world of a true genius."
Hypertension Music, which worked with Gerry, said: "Although we knew Gerry had been ill for some time, it came as a total shock to all at Hypertension Music to hear the sad news. We are very proud to have been associated with Gerry for his last two albums. He was a major talent. His songwriting, production and the way he sang his songs, with that beautiful voice of his, was truly wonderful and inspiring. We are greatly saddened by the news and would like to pass on our deepest sympathy to his loved ones."
Musician and broadcaster Tom Robinson said Gerry would be greatly missed, adding: "His early work with Stealers Wheel was an inspiration to a whole generation of songwriters in the 70s including me, and many of us had hoped his recent album Life Goes On in 2009 would lead to a full-time return to writing and performing for a lyrical and highly gifted artist. He will be greatly missed."
Gerry was born in Paisley near Glasgow on April 16, 1947. He cut his teeth as a busker and also appeared with comedian Billy's folk group the Humblebums.
The singer was also a member of the band Stealers Wheel with whom he scored another huge hit in 1972 with Stuck In The Middle With You. The song underwent a renaissance in the early 1990s after being featured in Quentin Tarantino's hit movie Reservoir Dogs.
His biggest success came in 1978 with his solo album City To City, which contained the single Baker Street. It proved to be an enduring radio staple.