“Baker Street” Sax Player Dies
The saxophone solo in the iconic 70’s song “Baker Street” by Gerry Rafferty is very recognizable. The man who performed it, not quite as much. His name was Raphael Ravenscroft and he died this over the weekend of a suspected heart-attack at the age of 60. (Rafferty himself passes away in 2011 at age 63).
As a kid, “Baker Street” used to be one of my favorite songs on the radio. And the sax solo my favorite part. Like most kids, I used to “air guitar” popular songs, but during that particular one I’d go into “air saxophone” mode instead.
For his part in the song, Ravenscroft was reported only paid 27-pounds for the recording session (or about $43 U.S. dollars), while Rafferty made millions on the tune. Ravenscroft would go on to work with other famous musicians including Pink Floyd, Abba, Marvin Gaye and more recently Daft Punk. But he’s best known for that famous “Baker Street” solo, even though years later he said the song annoyed him. How could such a classic song, loved by millions, annoy the guy that helped bring it to life? He said it’s because it was out-of-tune and flat. While most people couldn’t tell, Ravenscroft said it was off by just enough of a degree to irritate him.
Watch and listen to the video and decide for yourself. In the meantime, I’ll be pulling out my old “air saxophone” in tribute to Raphael.