TS: "Right Down The Line" vs "Baker Street"

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There's a couple of "Baker Street" threads, but none on "Right Down The Line." While hearing "Baker Street" in the car in 1979 may be my earliest musical memory, I only heard "Right Down The Line" at the supermarket a couple of months ago. It's quickly become one of my all-time faves, the best Dire Straits song ever written: John Lennon singing something off Making Movies, say. It's all in how Raffery mixes down the lead guitar, foregrounds the rhythm guitar, lets the bass play a slight skank, and the organ do the rest.

Overall, it's a draw, but "Right Down The Line" projects the ever-so-sinister cheerfulness of a lot of late seventies Buckingham-helmed productions (John Stewart's "Gold" or his own "Save Me A Place"), plus hasn't been worn by replay on AOR stations quite as much as its #2 charting predecessor.

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Monday, 7 May 2007 02:05 (fourteen years ago) link

I should really choose between these two, but I prefer the perfect one-two punch of these two together. I remember hearing "Right Down the Line" and thinking, "Wow, I didn't see that coming." (I was 13 or whatever but I REALLY REALLY liked "Baker Street.")

Dimension 5ive, Monday, 7 May 2007 02:24 (fourteen years ago) link

prefer the perfect one-two punch of these two together. I remember hearing "Right Down the Line" and thinking, "Wow, I didn't see that coming."

Exactly!

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Monday, 7 May 2007 02:48 (fourteen years ago) link

"Right Down The Line" is great. Gerry Rafferty actually had a great run of almost-hits for awhile there: "Get It Right Next Time," "Days Gone Down," "Royal Mile," etc.

mike a, Monday, 7 May 2007 15:02 (fourteen years ago) link

City to City is a good little album. Baker Street holds such an iconic place in my mind (it's one of my earliest musical memories as well), it's basically impossible to compare it to anything else. Right Down the Line reminds me of Star Wars action figures.

Billy Pilgrim, Monday, 7 May 2007 15:37 (fourteen years ago) link

i'll choose "baker street" because it's awesome and i've never heard "right down the line." this thread is kind of funny
http://www.ilxor.com/ILX/ThreadSelectedControllerServlet?boardid=41&threadid=32313

kamerad, Monday, 7 May 2007 15:57 (fourteen years ago) link

kidding me, Alfred? I mean, "Right Down the Line" is nice and all, but, c'mon, "Baker Street"!

The Good Dr. Bill, Monday, 7 May 2007 17:03 (fourteen years ago) link

Baker Street if only for my association of it with late nights listening to Art Bell (who used it to go to commercials) while stoned out of my gourd.

Sparkle Motion, Monday, 7 May 2007 17:14 (fourteen years ago) link

the sax wins.

M@tt He1ges0n, Monday, 7 May 2007 17:30 (fourteen years ago) link

"baker st" obviously, but they're both pretty classic. gerry rafferty's best-of (named "right down the line," fwiw) is about half-great. it would be better if it had some stealer's wheel on it...

tipsy mothra, Monday, 7 May 2007 17:43 (fourteen years ago) link

(i see there's another best-of that does have some stealer's wheel. guess i got the wrong one.)

tipsy mothra, Monday, 7 May 2007 17:44 (fourteen years ago) link

nice use of "Baker Street" in Good Will Hunting...(fight scene)...nod to Tarentino?

henry s, Monday, 7 May 2007 17:45 (fourteen years ago) link

"Baker Street", and not just because my first and last name is spelled out in the title.

(Yes, I've mentioned that before.)

Pleasant Plains, Monday, 7 May 2007 20:57 (fourteen years ago) link

"Baker Street" wins, but "Right Down The Line" is nearly as wonderful. It just kind of floats along. I'm tempted to start a thread in search of more songs like it.

C. Grisso/McCain, Monday, 7 May 2007 21:26 (fourteen years ago) link

I just had a caller call me on the sports show, asking for me specifically and wanting to know the name of a song. He then proceeded to hum "Baker Street"!!!!!
!!!!

WTF

Pleasant Plains, Monday, 7 May 2007 21:53 (fourteen years ago) link

That wasn't one of you calling for an ass-kicking, was it?

Pleasant Plains, Monday, 7 May 2007 21:53 (fourteen years ago) link

TS: Baker Street v. Spooky

Billy Pilgrim, Monday, 7 May 2007 21:54 (fourteen years ago) link

Rock Hardy is stalking you again, Tre.

James Redd and the Blecchs, Monday, 7 May 2007 22:09 (fourteen years ago) link

kidding me, Alfred? I mean, "Right Down the Line" is nice and all, but, c'mon, "Baker Street"!

I have nothing but love for "Baker Street." I'm infatuated with a song which doesn't get played half as much.

Those of you in the know: how did City to City become a #1 American smash? It's not like Stealer's Wheel sold so many records.

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Monday, 7 May 2007 22:14 (fourteen years ago) link

one year passes...

RIGHT DOWN THE FUCKING LINE

Turangalila, Monday, 25 August 2008 23:03 (twelve years ago) link

I love your description. Alfred.

Turangalila, Monday, 25 August 2008 23:05 (twelve years ago) link

thanks!

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Monday, 25 August 2008 23:17 (twelve years ago) link

John Lennon singing something off Making Movies

ha yeah! when i was a little kid i thought that stealer's wheel song was lennon.

will, Monday, 25 August 2008 23:28 (twelve years ago) link

i seriously don't think I've ever heard "right down the line" so "baker st" wins (though I didn't know that was the name of that song for years either)

akm, Monday, 25 August 2008 23:38 (twelve years ago) link

Your vote is disqualified.

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Monday, 25 August 2008 23:42 (twelve years ago) link

I'd never heard "Right Down the Line" (at least, not until a few minutes ago). I have, however, heard the Rafferty-produced version of R&L Thompson's "Shoot Out the Lights."

Anyway, I don't think there's much contest here. "Baker Street" is iconic. "Right Down the Line" is nice but somewhat ephemeral. Had Buckingham indeed produced it it would have been 10x better. To paraphrase Xgau in his review, Fleetwood Mac this ain't.

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 25 August 2008 23:52 (twelve years ago) link

"Baker Street" obv, but I'll also take "Home And Dry" over "Right Down The Line". (Nearly 30 years after it hit, I finally identify that song back in February! Wouldn't have taken so long if Allmusic had the proper info. Of course, if I owned City to City I wouldn't've had that problem, so it's my own fault too.)

Myonga Vön Bontee, Tuesday, 26 August 2008 02:28 (twelve years ago) link

"Right Down The Line" is the archetypal sleeper, Josh. Give it a chance.

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Tuesday, 26 August 2008 02:31 (twelve years ago) link

Right Down The Line for me. It's on nearly every mix cd I make!
"It's been you, woo-mon, riiight down the line" :)

craven, Wednesday, 27 August 2008 04:40 (twelve years ago) link

i don't know if it's disconcerting or reassuring when i open a thread intending to write something and discover i already wrote it over a year ago.

but i think i can answer this lingering question:
how did City to City become a #1 American smash?

there's the obvious answer -- huge hit single -- but beyond that i think there's the specter of rumors and baby boomers embracing their 30s. the albums that i remember my dad and all his friends having and playing in 1976, '77 and '78, respectively, are blood on the tracks, rumors and city to city. (i know blood on the tracks was '75, but it was dylan, it got played for at least two straight years.) i think what all those have in common is a sort of wistful, pained awareness of aging and a fair amount of self-centered melancholy. but they also allowed an aging audience to buy records that were big hits and dominated the pop charts and not feel displaced just yet.

not that city to city had anything like the resonance of those other two albums. but i think it rode their coattails and trafficked in the same generational flattery.

tipsy mothra, Wednesday, 27 August 2008 05:06 (twelve years ago) link

awesome cover art didn't hurt.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/9/9a/Citytocity.jpg

tipsy mothra, Wednesday, 27 August 2008 05:12 (twelve years ago) link

According to Wikipedia:

"Rafferty had checked himself into St Thomas' Hospital hospital for liver problems. However, he disappeared on August 1, 2008, leaving his belongings behind. The hospital filed a missing persons report.[1]"

A Derek Erdman, Wednesday, 27 August 2008 05:27 (twelve years ago) link

o_0

Gerry Rafferty wasn't even on tour – his last public performance was a good half decade ago. Instead the 61-year-old singer-songwriter quietly booked himself into a five-star London hotel and four days later allegedly left a violated room soaked in blood and urine. By all accounts a quiet guest, who kept himself to himself, his stay was halted when cleaners finally gained access to his suite - although the hotel manager claimed that instances of Rafferty relieving himself in unlikely corners of the hotel were also causing distress for the other residents. The 'Baker Street' composer was later admitted to St Thomas's hospital to be treated for liver problems, but he disappeared, leaving behind his clothes and luggage. On Friday, it was reported that hospital staff had filed a missing persons report with police.

tipsy mothra, Wednesday, 27 August 2008 06:05 (twelve years ago) link

what the fuck?

Turangalila, Wednesday, 27 August 2008 07:02 (twelve years ago) link

:(

Turangalila, Wednesday, 27 August 2008 07:02 (twelve years ago) link

i have a vivid memory of standing in our kitchen listening to baker st. on the radio when i was twelve and knowing that there would be no buying of some land, no settling down in some quiet little town, no forgetting about everything, and it was a truly terrible ask not for whom the bell tolls moment.

estela, Wednesday, 27 August 2008 07:34 (twelve years ago) link

Dude, I don't even KNOW "Right Down The Line". What kind of competition is this? "Baker Street" is fucking classic, man. Get the fuck out of the door, as Lou Reed would say.

Oh no! "Right Down The Line" is by Dire Straits?!?! What? *holds up sign of the cross with fingers to ward evil spirits off*

Hi, Turangalila! ;)

Bimble Is Still More Goth Than You, Wednesday, 27 August 2008 07:40 (twelve years ago) link

Alright, look, you are all meanies. There has been no You Tube link posted here. But okay, I'd rather eat bugs than to listen to Dire Straits. I'll do this, but it is the LAST TIME and only because I love ILXOrs. Okay? THE LAST TIME I WILL EVER WILLINGLY LISTEN TO DIRE STRAITS. GOT IT?

Bimble Is Still More Goth Than You, Wednesday, 27 August 2008 07:44 (twelve years ago) link

No, it's written by Gerry Rafferty. It's also wonderful & heartbreaking.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SS0FwVBME0c

I posted it on another thread, but Lord Alfred scolded me.

Turangalila, Wednesday, 27 August 2008 07:46 (twelve years ago) link

Okay, it's by Gerry Rafferty isn't it? I got it now. Alfred, why did you have to confuse me on the first post?

Yeah I know this song "Right Down The Line", of course I do, but it's still nowhere near fucking "Baker Street", and I'll go to court to testify about that. Fuck right off. I'm talking about saxophones here, what the fuck are you guys talking about?

xpost! Turangalila! You're awake! Winking at you! ;)

Bimble Is Still More Goth Than You, Wednesday, 27 August 2008 07:49 (twelve years ago) link

And did Lord Alfred scold you???

Alfred, how do you plead?

Bimble Is Still More Goth Than You, Wednesday, 27 August 2008 07:49 (twelve years ago) link

But you're not online!

Turangalila, Wednesday, 27 August 2008 07:53 (twelve years ago) link

Also, Baker Street may have had more sociocultural impact, but I have so much more emotional resonance toward RDtL.

Turangalila, Wednesday, 27 August 2008 07:54 (twelve years ago) link

BAKER STREET
BAKER STREET
BAKER STREET
BAKER STREET
BAKER STREET
BAKER STREET
BAKER STREET

Oh my god the only song I can think of from my childhood to pair with that one is Al Stewart's "Time Passages".

Oh sweetie, Turangalila, I know why I'm not online and it's not my fault, honey. I'll be online in just a sec.

Bimble Is Still More Goth Than You, Wednesday, 27 August 2008 07:54 (twelve years ago) link

I didn't exist at the time. Sorry.

Turangalila, Wednesday, 27 August 2008 07:55 (twelve years ago) link

Heheh. Oh that's okay! Did you send me your muxtape yet? Naw, I bet not!

Bimble Is Still More Goth Than You, Wednesday, 27 August 2008 07:59 (twelve years ago) link

WTF indeed!

Jesus, sometimes it really is better just to concentrate on the music and forget about the musician.

City To City's always been one of my favourite albums of its kind and that organ totally makes "Right Down The Line." I'm sure Green Gartside is or was a fan because that song is so proto-Scritti it's unreal.

Marcello Carlin, Wednesday, 27 August 2008 08:54 (twelve years ago) link

(esp. the way GR sings "woman" in the chorus)

Marcello Carlin, Wednesday, 27 August 2008 08:54 (twelve years ago) link

haha yes

Turangalila, Wednesday, 27 August 2008 09:00 (twelve years ago) link

This thread is making me want to hear not only City to City but also the Night Owl singles - for the first time since 1980, practically

Myonga Vön Bontee, Wednesday, 27 August 2008 15:47 (twelve years ago) link

"Right Down the Line" is pleasant enough but "Baker Street"? You can't fuck with that.

it's like preferring "Breaking Us In Two" to "Steppin' Out"

will, Wednesday, 27 August 2008 15:53 (twelve years ago) link

So is the rest of City to City worth hearing?

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Wednesday, 27 August 2008 15:59 (twelve years ago) link

So is the rest of City to City worth hearing?

Absolutely, says the guy who's too in love with the album to be impartial.

Night Owl and Snakes and Ladders are both really good too.

Hideous Lump, Friday, 29 August 2008 04:49 (twelve years ago) link

Jesus wept, I didn't know about Rafferty's problems. Only looked in here because I heard 'Get it right next time' the other day, which now sounds blackly comic after reading that Scotsman piece.

Billy Dods, Friday, 29 August 2008 05:57 (twelve years ago) link

five months pass...

I can't believe I heard 'Right Down The Line' just today. Didn't know it was Gerry Rafferty, had to look it up through bits of the lyrics I remembered. Goes to show how it planted itself in my memory the first time already. Timeless, and utter utter classic. I feel ashamed having gotten to know this song just today.

Le Bateau Ivre, Wednesday, 4 February 2009 00:32 (twelve years ago) link

Yesssssssss. Such a fantastic song.

Turangalila, Wednesday, 4 February 2009 01:16 (twelve years ago) link

Do yourself a favor and listen to Star by Stealer's Wheel. That is the best Gerry Rafferty-related song. How that wasn't a major mega international hit is beyond me. Such a catchy song. makes Right On Down The Line sound like Faust.

kornrulez6969, Wednesday, 4 February 2009 01:18 (twelve years ago) link

two weeks pass...

Rafferty is alive and well

SCOTS singer Gerry Rafferty has reassured worried fans he is not "missing".

Concerns for the Paisley-born musician grew this week after reports that friends had not heard from him since he disappeared six months ago while being treated for liver failure at a London hospital.

But last night solicitors for the singer - best-known for his 1978 hit Baker Street - said he was "extremely well" and composing songs at his home in Italy.

A statement said: "Contrary to reports, Gerry is extremely well and has been living in Tuscany for the past six months.

"At his house there, which is just north of Florence, he continues to compose and record new songs and music.

"He would like to send a personal thank-you to all of his fans who have expressed their concern for his well-being and he hopes to release a new album of his most recent work in the summer."

Rafferty also had a huge hit in 1972 with Stuck In The Middle With You with the band Stealers Wheel.

His former Stealers Wheel bandmate Tony Williams said he had been concerned for 61-year-old Rafferty, who has a history of alcohol problems.

Last night he said: "I'm delighted he's fine."

Chris Barrus (Elvis Telecom), Saturday, 21 February 2009 07:53 (twelve years ago) link

Ouch. The same guy who did Baker Street did that awful "Stuck In The Middle With You" song? Oh the horror.

Someone was more goth than someone else (Bimble), Saturday, 21 February 2009 09:17 (twelve years ago) link

one year passes...

lol bimble

Finally got City to City. "Stealin' Time" is a quiet stunner.

Filmmaker, Author, Radio Host Stephen Baldwin (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 15 June 2010 23:06 (eleven years ago) link

i'm going with "baker st". not that "right down the line" isn't terrific. i agree w/the poster above who said you can't really compare "baker street" to anything else. it's a force of nature. you've got earth, fire, water, wind, and BAKER STREET

hobbes, Tuesday, 15 June 2010 23:30 (eleven years ago) link

I have this best of & I love every song on it:

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/4103961HE5L._SL500_AA300_.jpg

I also love the album cover – it could easily go stealth as a Talk Talk record.

breaking that little dog's heart chakra (Abbott), Tuesday, 15 June 2010 23:33 (eleven years ago) link

Aren't the songs on that comp rerecorded?

Filmmaker, Author, Radio Host Stephen Baldwin (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 15 June 2010 23:38 (eleven years ago) link

I have no idea.

breaking that little dog's heart chakra (Abbott), Tuesday, 15 June 2010 23:42 (eleven years ago) link

Still don't understand how "Right Down The Line" is even in the same neighborhood as "Baker Street," though I still like it a lot. Anyway, related thread (which more Rafferty talk toward the bottom, I believe):

Stealer's Wheel VS. Mouse & The Traps

xhuxk, Wednesday, 16 June 2010 00:33 (eleven years ago) link

The thread title's deliberately provocative, in the old ILM style; sorry if that wasn't clear. I wanted a Gerry Rafferty thread that didn't concentrate on "Baker Street."

City to City is a good album, better than I expected.

Filmmaker, Author, Radio Host Stephen Baldwin (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 16 June 2010 00:37 (eleven years ago) link

Aren't the songs on that comp rerecorded?

There are 3 or 4 minor remixes ("Baker Street" among them), but no rerecording as far as I can tell from the liners.

Hideous Lump, Wednesday, 16 June 2010 02:32 (eleven years ago) link

I wanted a Gerry Rafferty thread that didn't concentrate on "Baker Street."

Then let me mention that the two City to City follow-ups--Night Owl, Snakes & Ladders--are pretty damn good. (Says the guy who ranks City to City in his all-time Top 20, so apply many grains of salt as needed.)

Hideous Lump, Wednesday, 16 June 2010 02:38 (eleven years ago) link

"Home and Dry" is a very nice third single. The Night Owl singles aren't bad either.

Filmmaker, Author, Radio Host Stephen Baldwin (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 16 June 2010 02:45 (eleven years ago) link

six months pass...

RIP big man. TBH I'm amazed he made it to 2011.

State Attorney Foxhart Cubycheck (Billy Dods), Tuesday, 4 January 2011 19:18 (ten years ago) link

Oh, that sucks. RIP

kornrulez6969, Tuesday, 4 January 2011 19:19 (ten years ago) link

" In phases of renunciation, he smashed cases of superb wines into a stream on his land. "

i love you but i have chosen snarkness (Steve Shasta), Tuesday, 4 January 2011 20:31 (ten years ago) link

Aw RIP. I have listened to his best of with pleasure so many times.

Stop Non-Erotic Cabaret (Abbbottt), Tuesday, 4 January 2011 20:35 (ten years ago) link

" In phases of renunciation, he smashed cases of superb wines into a stream on his land. "

worthy of Becker-Fagen.

What a moving story: comfortable with his millions yet always unhappy.

Gus Van Sotosyn (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 4 January 2011 21:24 (ten years ago) link

ten years pass...

I think it's "Right Down the Line" for me, because sometimes the saxophone part grates on me in "Baker Street" after overexposure, and I love the harmonized chorus of "Right Down the Line".

cancel culture club (Neanderthal), Thursday, 10 June 2021 15:43 (one week ago) link

I love the light disco groove of this minor American hit (but big UK hit):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vTnff0pkgs

So who you gonna call? The martini police (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 10 June 2021 15:49 (one week ago) link


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