THE GREATEST OF ALL TUNES (G.O.A.T.) is a salute to the greatest songs of all time. One song per artist, with suggested further listening and covers!
Just for the record, I loved this song before it became the soundtrack to Mr. Blond cutting off Officer Nash’s ear.
Stealers Wheel were Joe Egan and Gerry Rafferty, the latter of whom was a tragically talented songwriter who had a strong solo career before literally drinking himself to death. Rafferty was the classic rock star, whose drinking led to divorce, trashed hotel rooms, blowing through tons of record company money, and finally exploding his own liver in 2010. His list of hits is impressive (see “Further listening” below for other really good tunes he created).
I couldn’t find anything on why he and Egan split up, but I have to imagine Rafferty’s behavior was a big part of it. Egan went on to make a few solo albums before retiring from performing and running a publishing house in England.
As for “Stuck in the Middle With You,” the song is great for so many reasons. The music feels like a carnival, like adrenaline, like something is going to happen in any minute as the song careens forward at a breakneck pace. Rafferty’s voice on the lead single is that of a storyteller—and the story is about a meeting between the narrator and a record company, “I don’t know why I came here tonight, I got the feeling that something ain’t right,” he starts, singing of the suspicion artists in the late 1960s and early ‘70s had of any member of the establishment—particularly music execs. Production was by the superduo Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who were responsible for so many of pop music’s Greatest Of All Tunes.
The video was great, too, as you can see above.
Further listening: Stealer’s Wheel were a one-hit wonder band, but Rafferty’s greatest songs include Baker Street, Get It Right Next Time, and Night Owl.