Mark Maynard announces best song ever!

I had an epiphany today, on the way home from work. I realized that Baker Street by Gerry Rafferty is the best song ever written. If I could write a song like this, I’d die a happy man. It’s prefect in every way, and I mean that without the slightest sense of irony. (The song Stuck in the Middle with You, which Rafferty performed with Stealers Wheel, is probably in my top 100.)

Baker died earlier this year, at the age of 63, after a lifelong battle with alcoholism.

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31 Comments

  1. Quakenbush
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    It’s all about the sax, baby.

  2. Dan R.
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGUlvArcRCM&feature=related

  3. Andrew Jason Clock
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    Shameless, barely related plug:

    August 6 & 7 in Ypsilanti

    ‎ 33 Musical Acts
    16 Visual Artists
    6 Stages
    4 Venues
    2 Days
    1 Amazing Festival

    The 2011 Michigan Roots Jamboree
    http://www.rootsjamboree.com

  4. Andrew Jason Clock
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    Also, I second GQ.

  5. Bob
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

    I fucking hate that sax solo.

  6. Timmy
    Posted July 14, 2011 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

    It’s a great song, but “best song ever” is a big claim.

    Perhaps if you were willing to narrow the category to “Best song written about a journey that ends in disillusionment, features a sax, includes references to both urban and rural settings, and was written by a pale male native of the British Isles” I’d be on board. Then, it’s a real contender in what remainsa pretty strong and crowded field.

  7. Andrew Jason Clock
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 12:56 am | Permalink

    And I’m apparently sleep- blogging. Or I’m just dumb, which is a distinct possibility. The Jamboree was August 6 & 7 last year. This year its August 5 & 6. All the other stuff is right. So I’ll do it again:

    August 5 & 6 in Ypsilanti
    ‎ 33 Musical Acts
    16 Visual Artists
    6 Stages
    4 Venues
    2 Days
    1 Amazing Festival
    The 2011 Michigan Roots Jamboree
    http://www.rootsjamboree.com

    There. That’s better.

  8. магазин
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 2:50 am | Permalink

    The Foo Fighters did it first.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BO1qcWa6blQ

  9. K Mertz
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 5:47 am | Permalink

    The sax is good, but I think it’s something else that makes the song great. There’s a beautiful sadness about it.

  10. Edward
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    Alcoholics write the best songs.
    And I don’t mean that to be funny.
    They really do.

  11. Posted July 15, 2011 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    For reasons I can’t explain, the fact that the Foo Fighters changed the lyric from “booze” to “crack” pissed me off. It could be because I can’t stand Dave Grohl or because it just seemed unnecessary. I don’t really know.

  12. Tommy
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the ear worm, Mark. Will take a while to get this marginally good song out of my head. Please don’t offer up any ToTo songs or Al Stewart”s ‘Year of the the Cat’ on this site- ever – or I will have to track you down at the Corner Brewery and beat the living shit out of your unshaven, sweaty, and pock marked skull (based on your most recent portrait that greets me each morning). To get this and all other ear worms out of my head, I will do what i always do – sit in my living room this evening, alone, listening to Billie Holiday record while drinking vodka. What the fuck does -“Hold the line, love isn’t always on time” mean anyway?

  13. Eel
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Tommy, if you like Billie Holiday and vodka, should really check this out, man. I think you’d really like it.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QM7LR46zrQU

  14. Eel
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    From Wikipedia, on the irony of his success with Baker Street.

    His song “Baker Street” was about how uncomfortable he felt in the star system, and what do you know, it was a giant world hit. The album City to City went to #1 in America, and suddenly he found that as a result of his protest, he was a bigger star than ever. And he now had more of what he didn’t like. And although he had a few more hit singles in the United States, by 1980 it was basically all over, and when I say ‘it’, I mean basically his career, because he just was not comfortable with this.

  15. Tommy
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Eel – you bastard! May have to play Strange Fruit twice now. I honestly thought the link was to some Lady Day performance. Always loved the Peter Lorre reference at the beginning. Thanks for the extended piano intro too! Just to let you know, I did watch Time Passages as I am a sucker for shitty 70s ballads. I draw the line at Dream Weav-aaaa, however.

    Mark should start a thread on shittiest Ballads from the 70s. ‘Beth’ would be my #1.

  16. TaterSalad
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Hey Mark………you are wrong again! Here is the best song ever!

    Do you know any of these azzholes on this video? This is my “FAV-OR-ITE” song………ever!

    http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-211744

  17. Eel
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    Sorry, Dude. I couldn’t help myself. For what it’s worth, though, I’m a huge Billie Holiday fan. Have you see the footage that was recently released by the Library of Congress.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KbtO_Ayjw0M

  18. tommy
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    Eel – thanks for the afternoon delight (don’t do it – because if you do, I will hit that link faster than Mark Maynard can shave his balls)

  19. Mr. X
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    From The Guardian:

    These were the years I worked for him. I was his personal manager – employee, not svengali – visiting the record company in LA, accompanying Gerry when he was working, and running the small office we set up for him in Tunbridge Wells, Kent. Sadly, my job was mostly to say “no” to people.

    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 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 Murphy…

    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.” In phases of renunciation, he smashed cases of superb wines into a stream on his land. Carla finally left in 1990: “There was no hope. I would never have left him if there’d been a glimmer of a chance of him recovering.” She remained a source of dependable help, in contact until the end.

    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.

  20. James Madison
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    Doesn’t sound so much like he “struggled ” with his alcoholism, but rather that it ruined his life and relationships, and ultimately killed him.

  21. Timmy
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    Hey Tater! Congrats for your brave attempt to fledge out their on you own with a relevant comment.

    Thing is, Jimmy Buffet loves Obama.

    Yes, you’re so vain, and yes, that song is about you. Still your favorite?

    Maybe it’s a little soon to leave the nest.

  22. Sarah Smile
    Posted July 16, 2011 at 4:09 am | Permalink

    Al Stewart, eh?
    How many songs have Peter Lorre and patchouli? He should get extra points just for that.

  23. Vern
    Posted July 16, 2011 at 4:21 am | Permalink

    Hey, Timmy, is this one in the running?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swQi4CAzmrA
    Or are paranoia and disillusionment not the same thing?

  24. Timmy
    Posted July 16, 2011 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

    Vern: I think the sax solo certainly qualifies, and I’m on the fence with paranoia vs. disillusionment as they’re often, though not always, bedfellows. But I think it misses on British Isles (not colonies … that opens a whole nother can) and inclusion of urban and rural imagery.

    Unless we adhere strictly to the rules, we’re on a slippery slope to the abyss.

    What I’d like to suggest is we all show a little respect and every time that Tater posts, somebody thanks him by linking to his favorite song.

  25. Andrew Jason Clock
    Posted July 17, 2011 at 1:29 am | Permalink

    It took me a couple days, but I think I figured this post out. You heard “Baker Street” somewhere recently, and spent the next several days with that sax solo playing on endless loop in your head. And you thought “if this has to be in my head, why shouldn’t be in everyone’s?!”

    I’ve come to this conclusion after pressing play on the video three days ago. That sax solo has been on endless loop in my head ever since. Today, I started trying to implant it into the heads of others. That sax solo is like a siren song. Its going to get us all.

  26. Vern
    Posted July 17, 2011 at 5:24 am | Permalink

    Timmy, I could have sworn that Colin “The Man at Work” Haye was a Briton of the Scottish persuasion. Like all good Australians, he was something else first.

  27. Posted July 17, 2011 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    I think this one’s higher on my list. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRqI5R6L7ow

  28. Billy
    Posted July 17, 2011 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

    I was driving with my Dad on a trip once, and this song was playing on the radio. Never being one who was big on conversation, he turned to me towards the end and said, “now that’s a great song”. I Love it…

  29. Posted July 17, 2011 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    This song is best on AM.

  30. ChelseaL
    Posted July 18, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    I did not know he had died. But that song has long been a favorite of mine, too. Had it on a 45.

  31. Posted July 8, 2014 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    53 and every time I listen to this, it sends chills up my spine! I agree, it is number 1! I vote dust in the wind by Kansas as 2!

One Trackback

  1. By Have to believe we are magic… on July 30, 2012 at 10:49 pm

    […] year ago last week, I went out on a limb and declared Gerry Rafferty’s Baker Street to be the best song ever written. It was a courageous stand, and I took a lot of heat for it, but it was the right thing to […]

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