Rafferty claimed he wrote the hook with the original intention that it be sung. Ravenscroft said differently, saying he was presented with a song that contained "several gaps". "In fact, most of what I played was an old blues riff," stated Ravenscroft. "If you're asking me: 'Did Gerry hand me a piece of music to play?' then no, he didn't." However, the 2011 reissue of City To City included the demo of Baker Street which included the saxophone part played on electric guitar by Rafferty. A very similar sax line, however, was originally played by saxophonist Steve Marcus for a song called "Half A Heart", credited to vibraphonist Gary Burton, that appeared on Marcus' 1968 album Tomorrow Never Knows.
Ravenscroft, a session musician, was in the studio to record a brief soprano saxophone part and suggested that he record the now-famous break using the alto saxophone he had in his car. The part led to what became known as "the 'Baker Street' phenomenon", a resurgence in the sales of saxophones and their use in mainstream pop music and television advertising.
In January 2011, radio presenter Simon Lederman revealed that Ravenscroft himself thought the solo was out of tune. When asked during a live radio interview on BBC London 94.9, "What do you think when you hear [the sax solo] now?" Ravenscroft replied, "I'm irritated because it's out of tune; yeah it's flat; by enough of a degree that it irritates me at best" and admitted he was "gutted" when he heard it played back. He added that he had not been able to re-record the take as he was not involved when the song was mixed.
The single version was produced using the tape of the album version sped up slightly, so as to raise the tempo and thus be more radio-friendly. This also had the result of raising the key by a half tone.Urban myths
According to one story, Ravenscroft received no payment for a song that earned Rafferty an income of £80,000 per annum; a cheque for £27 given to Ravenscroft bounced and was framed on the wall of his solicitor. The bouncing cheque story was denied, however, by Ravenscroft on the Simon Mayo Drivetime show on BBC Radio 2 on 9 February 2012.
The saxophone riff was also the subject of another urban myth in the UK, created in the 1980s by British writer and broadcaster Stuart Maconie. As one of the spoof facts invented for the regular "Would You Believe It?" section in the NME, Maconie falsely claimed that British radio and television presenter Bob Holness had played the saxophone part on the recording. Later, the claim was widely repeated.
― Johnny Fever, Monday, 20 October 2014 20:17 (six years ago) link
― Johnny Fever, Monday, 20 October 2014 20:20 (six years ago) link
― Johnny Fever, Monday, 20 October 2014 20:22 (six years ago) link
wow, that clave is terrible there
― my jaw left (Hurting 2), Monday, 20 October 2014 20:34 (six years ago) link
BBC Soul Music episode on the making of "Baker Street." Worth a listen.http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01b9jp0
― Elvis Telecom, Monday, 15 December 2014 23:42 (six years ago) link
"Baker Street" when it came out in 1978 sounded like just about nothing else being played on the radio, and it (to a certain degree) retains that freshness today.
this is otm. when i first glanced the tracklisting to the Good Will Hunting soundtrack, i was like how does "BAKER STREET" fit into this? but you listen to it in that context and it does sound modern/fresh. though i'd add it's all about the VERSES.
― rip van wanko, Monday, 15 December 2014 23:54 (six years ago) link
Baker Street is a very well done production. It's got that smoothe 70s studio sound with that electric piano and the additional latin percussion which keeps things moving during the breakdowns. Underneath that soft synth giving a totally different texture to the raw guitar and the uber sax riff, during the musical breaks. That smoothe jazzy underpinning then works so well when it breaks down with the laid back vocals. That laid back smoothe to the riffy crunch is definitely one of those birth of the power ballad moments that many have tried to ape but few ever really pulled off nearly as well.
― earlnash, Tuesday, 16 December 2014 02:06 (six years ago) link