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Ignorance and Baker Street.

old git

Tremendous Bore
Messages
5,545
BBC Radio 4 11:30 today and presumably, on iPlayer soon.

Always thought that the alto solo was improv or semi-imorovised, yet it seems it was written.

Hope this has not destroyed too many cherished beliefs.
 

Koen88

Sax Drinker / Beer player
Messages
426
didnt knew that but I can't say that surprises me... But if so, it`s well written.
 

Taz

Busking Oracle
Messages
3,662
Or perhaps we should believe this, I found this whole passage and more on a blogg by Jude Calvert-Toulmin


The following quote was found on Sax on the Web;

“The Sax AL NEWMAN used is a Selmer Alto Mark VI circa 1958
SN84452. In the docs Al supplied to Howarths of London he
writes: "The last recording session I played it on prior to
leaving for America in late 1977 was at a recording studio in
Rodmarton Street, near Baker Street W1 where was required to
perform an Alto Sax solo and had to sign a release form. I

later found out that this track was Baker Street by Jerry
Rafferty and that credit for the Sax solo was first taken by
the producer of the track and later falsely by Raf
Ravenscroft who certainly did not play on that track - which
in actual fact I did!!!"
 

c9off

Senior Member
Messages
604
I seem to recall that it was written for guitar, but John Laughter's history says this:

#28 ALMOST SUMMER-CELEBRATION CHARLES LLOYD TENOR
#2 (£3) BAKER STREET-GERRY RAFFERTY RAPHAEL RAVENSCROFT ALTO
RAPHAEL RAVENSCROFT is given credit on the original LP cover
City to City.
And more from http://news.scotsman.com/opinion/Stuck-in-abattle-
with.4352529.jp
Rafferty's perfect pop moment came in 1978 with 'Baker
Street', a song of hoarse sincerity about giving up the booze
and the one-night stands and settling down. It is now a
staple of soft rock stations, where it has the sturdy
inevitability of Christmas or death. Movie director Gus Van
Sant used it for a key scene in Good Will Hunting and the
song was a hit once again in the Nineties when covered by
Undercover. It even featured in an episode of The Simpsons,
with Lisa playing it on her saxophone. Yet until Raphael
Ravenscroft overlaid a glistening saxophone solo, it was
destined to be just another folky tune. Ravenscroft's name
doesn't appear on the writing credits – allowing the NME to
start up an urban myth that bespectacled former Blockbusters
presenter Bob Holness had performed the sax solo. Rafferty
maintains that he wrote the hook, and claims he intended to
sing the refrain at first. Ravenscroft disagrees, saying he
was presented with a song that contained "several gaps".
"In fact, most of what I played was an old blues riff," says
the sax musician. "If you're asking me: 'Did Gerry hand me a
piece of music to play?' then no, he didn't." Ravenscroft's
fee was a cheque for £27, which he says bounced anyway and is
now framed and hangs on his solicitor's wall. Rafferty has
not attempted to make further payment, and Ravenscroft has
chosen not to pursue the matter of a song that guarantees
Rafferty a yearly income of £80,000. Since the song thrust
Rafferty into a spotlight that has made him deeply
uncomfortable ever since, maybe Ravenscroft is right to
regard the riches of 'Baker Street' as tainted money: "If I
had received pots of money, I wouldn't have known what to
do," he remarked recently. "It might have destroyed me."
Note: Raphael Ravenscroft is given credit on the LP cover.
The following quote was found on Sax on the Web;
“The Sax AL NEWMAN used is a Selmer Alto Mark VI circa 1958
SN84452. In the docs Al supplied to Howarths of London he
writes: "The last recording session I played it on prior to
leaving for America in late 1977 was at a recording studio in
Rodmarton Street, near Baker Street W1 where was required to
perform an Alto Sax solo and had to sign a release form. I
later found out that this track was Baker Street by Jerry
Rafferty and that credit for the Sax solo was first taken by
the producer of the track and later falsely by Raf
Ravenscroft who certainly did not play on that track - which
in actual fact I did!!!"
The following statement is from Al Newman’s son;
1/7/2011
Hi John,
“I found your history of sax.
My name is Jonathan Newman and I am the son of Al Newman, who
recorded the original sax riff on Baker St. I am so pleased
you have set the record straight to what is a very long
overdue omission in the history of this famous song.
(Jonathan refers to the above note found on Sax on the Web)
The last session my father played on in 1977 prior to leaving
for LA was Rafferty's Baker St, in a recording studio in
Rodmartin St, where he played alto sax (a Selmer Alto Sax MK
V! - No 84452 -auctioned through Howarth's). He was required
to sign a release form, common in those days. He later found
out that credit was first taken by the producer of the track,
and then sometime later falsely taken by Ravenscroft.
My father, though very well known in both the jazz and the
session world, has never sought the limelight. He is now in
his 80s and has retired. It is sad to me that the truth has
never come out, that Rav took credit for this, and that my
father never got the recognition he deserved”.
Best wishes,
Jonathan Newman
My response to Jonathan;
1/8/2011
Jonathan, it is good to hear from you!
I will be glad to add your email to the list if that is okay
with you? I have followed the comments on SOTW and will be
glad to add your comment to the list so that everyone can
read all sides of the history behind the song "Baker Street".
Is it okay to add your email statement to the book?
Thanks
John Laughter
1/8/11
“Yes of course”
 

old git

Tremendous Bore
Messages
5,545
The alto solo was played on guitar in the demo. Go iPlayer and see what you think.
 

Morgan Fry

Senior Member
Messages
447
Heard that piece in the car today. Interesting bit of radio, even though I hadn't heard anything about any controversy about it before. I always find it interesting to hear the demos of tunes you know, like this one. The arrangement we know works a lot better -- that one lick that makes the tune works better on alto than guitar, and man, those claves!
 

jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,680
I thought that the idea of someone other than R Ravenscroft playing sax on Baker Street was itself a fiction out of the blogosphere, as a riposte or reaction to the myth that it was Bob Holness who played it. Surely, given that RR has made a substantial living out of the sale of sax tuition books, and which trade heavily on his playing on Baker Street, if there was any truth in the story that he didn't really play on the track there'd have been a court case by now?
 
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