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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Gerry Rafferty R I P



The singer composer from Paisley, Scotland, Gerry Rafferty died on 4th January 2011.

May he rest in peace.

Yesterday his funeral was in the Roman Cathedral Cathedral of St Mirin`s in Paisley.



"Rafferty: Hundreds turn out to honour nation’s greatest songwriter

Gerry Rafferty was a loner in life.

However, relatives, friends and fans of the pop superstar from Paisley did not echo the musician’s personal eccentricities yesterday by turning out in their hundreds to share their grief at his untimely death.

Rafferty’s funeral was held at St Mirin’s Cathedral in the centre of the town, just a mile from his old school, St Mirin’s Academy.

The fact that the 1000-seater church was close to full reflected the popularity of the man, not just as the creator of pop classics such as Baker Street and Stuck In The Middle With You, but, in Father John Tormey’s words, “as a highly spiritual man”.

The service was attended by Rafferty’s daughter Martha, granddaughter Celia, old friend and art collaborator John Byrne, who designed the singer-songwriter’s album sleeves, The Proclaimers, First Minister Alex Salmond and former Stealers Wheel partner Joe Egan. Other musician friends paying their last respects included Robert Noakes and Graham Lyle.

Most of them knew Rafferty, who had a long-standing problem with alcohol, had spent much of his life battling his own demons.

Fr Tormey reflected on the fact the rock legend was a man who embraced solitude and kept his own counsel.

He said:

“Gerald shunned the trappings of fame and celebrity to be true to himself. And sometimes this choice involved deep pain and anguish. But he was a wonderful soulmate to those close to him. And we can be thankful artists such as Gerald have a gift to be able to express themselves through their genius.”

There is no doubt Rafferty, who died on January 4, was considered a musical genius. The first signs the young man from the Paisley suburb of Glenburn would reach great heights emerged in the 1960s when he performed on the local folk club circuit, revealing a range of introspective songs with incredible melodies.

Rafferty formed an unlikely partnership with Billy Connolly – who wasn’t at yesterday’s funeral as he is touring in Australia – and their group, The Humblebums, attracted considerable attention. But it was when Rafferty formed a band with former school pal Egan that he began to enjoy international success.

His first chart success came in 1973 with Stealers Wheel’s Stuck In The Middle With You, a song that was later revived in Quentin Tarantino’s film Reservoir Dogs, the script content of which Rafferty was entirely unaware until several years later.

It was Baker Street and its haunting saxophone riff that was to propel Rafferty to a global audience. But the weight of celebrity hung heavily on his shoulders. Rafferty hated publicity.

He shunned the limelight focusing on his private life.

“It wasn’t a surprise Gerry took this stance,” said old friend Walter MacAusland, a former bar owner and promoter who gave Rafferty – who would go on to sell 10 million records – some early gigs in Glasgow.

“He just didn’t like to be the focus of attention. At parties he’d sit in the corner, tight-lipped. But that didn’t mean he had nothing to say. Gerry was incredibly clever, with an incredibly poetic mind.”

Byrne echoed the comment. “Gerald could be incredibly funny. There are so many occasions when he had me laughing helplessly. But what some people may not appreciate is the lyrics to his songs were incredible.

“He wrote hundreds and hundreds of songs and he is the greatest songwriter Scotland has ever produced.

“When I saw him a few weeks ago his body was weak but his spirit as strong as ever. He had a serenity about him that I thought was wonderful. I know he went to meet his maker sober, unafraid and curious.”

He added: “He wasn’t a saint, but then which of us are? I loved him dearly.”

Egan wasn’t in regular contact with his lifetime friend but their closeness continued. “We hadn’t spoken for a couple of years, but that didn’t really matter because we were so close. After all, we’d lived out of each other’s pockets for years. But I’m sad. Really, really sad.”

If anyone in the congregation was unsure of the talent of Gerry Rafferty, an incredibly poignant reminder appeared in the form of a performance of one of his songs by his late brother Joe’s children Neal, Brian, Eileen, Claire and Mark, and Rafferty’s daughter Martha.

They sang Whatever’s Written In Your Heart, in perfect harmony:

“Whatever’s written in your heart, that’s all that matters
You’ll find a way to say it all someday
Whatever’s written in your heart, that’s all that matters
Yeah, night and day, night and day.”

Martha revealed it was the song they had to choose.

“We all used to sing this song in the house as a kid,” she said. “We loved singing his songs. And this one just seemed perfect for today.”

Rab Noakes agreed; “Gerry would have loved it,” he said. “It was incredible.”