Gerry Rafferty
Genre Folk Rock
City Paisley
Country Scotland
Tags

Gerald "Gerry" Rafferty was born on 16 April 1947 into a working-class family in Underwood Lane in Paisley, grew up in a council house on the town's Foxbar estate and was educated at St Mirin's Academy.

His Irish-born father, a violent alcoholic, was a miner and lorry driver who died when Rafferty was 16.

Heavily influenced by folk music and the music of the Beatles and Bob Dylan, Rafferty started to write his own material.

At weekends he and a classmate, future Stealers Wheel collaborator Joe Egan, played in a local group named The Maverix, mainly covering chart songs by groups such as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. In the mid 1960s Rafferty earned money, for a time, busking on the London Underground. In 1966, Rafferty and Egan were members of the band The Fifth Column. The group released the single "Benjamin Day"/"There's Nobody Here" (Columbia 8068), but it was not a commercial success.

In 1969 Rafferty became the third member of a folk-pop group, The Humblebums, composed of comedian Billy Connolly and Tam Harvey. Harvey left shortly afterwards, and Rafferty and Connolly continued as a duo, recording two albums for Transatlantic Records. A 1970 appearance at the Royal Festival Hall, supporting Fotheringay with Nick Drake, earned a positive review from critic Karl Dallas, who noted that all three acts showed "promise rather than fulfilment", and observed that "Gerry Rafferty's songs have the sweet tenderness of Paul McCartney in his 'Yesterday' mood".

Rafferty enjoyed alcohol from a young age, and early songs, such as "One Drink Down", "Baker Street", and "Night Owl", freely mention the subject. According to Michael Gray, the singer's personal manager in the early 1980s: "It never occurred to me in all the time I knew him that he was heading for alcoholism. Maybe I should have realised, but I didn't. I'm unsure whether he did." As the 1980s progressed, Rafferty's growing drinking problem placed his marriage under impossible strain and his wife divorced him in 1990, though they remained close.

In November 2010, Rafferty was admitted to the Royal Bournemouth Hospital where he was put on a life-support machine and treated for multiple organ failure. After being taken off life support, Rafferty rallied for a short time, and it seemed that he might recover. Sadly, Gerry Rafferty died at his daughter Martha's home in Stroud, Gloucestershire, on 4 January 2011 of liver failure.

Albums (10)
Songs (118)
Vinyl Vinyl

CD CD

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