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Gerry Rafferty, Dead at 63

From MTV Dot Com

Gerry Rafferty, the singer/songwriter behind smooth ’70s hits like “Stuck in the Middle With You,” “Right Down the Line” and “Baker Street” died Tuesday (January 4, 2011). He was 63.

Born in Scotland, Rafferty busked on the streets of Glasgow and formed a folk group called the Humblebums with Billy Connolly, who would go on to become a renowned stand-up comedian and actor. After releasing a pair of albums with the band, Rafferty released a solo record and then formed Stealers Wheel, who scored Stateside success in 1972 — they were viewed as the British Invasion’s answer to Crosby, Stills Nash & Young — with their debut album and, of course, the song “Stuck in the Middle With You, which would achieve additional notoriety when it was prominently featured in Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs some two decades later.

Rafferty would move on from Stealers Wheel and find success as a solo artist with 1978’s City to City, which featured “Right Down the Line” and “Baker Street, which features one of the most legendary saxophone solos in music history and has since been covered by everyone from Waylon Jennings to the Foo Fighters.

His follow-up, 1979’s Night Owl, featured appearances from Richard and Linda Thompson and was a moderate success, though each of his subsequent albums fared poorly on the charts, due in no small part to Rafferty’s reluctance to perform live. He continued to release albums into the 2000s, but for the most part, he disappeared from the public eye, and his later years were marked by a series of reports that suggested he was battling alcoholism. Last month, Rafferty reportedly suffered kidney failure and was placed on life support in an English hospital. U.K. newspaper The Guardian reported that he died at his home in Dorset with his daughter Martha by his side.