Scottish singer-songwriter Gerry Rafferty had been working steadily in the music business since the 1960s.
He rode the wave of interest in folk music through the 1960s, eventually finding his first taste of success as one of The Humblebums…alongside a banjo player who started out telling a few jokes between songs and would go on to become internationally-famous as a comedian — Billy Connolly.
After a while they went their separate ways and Gerry Rafferty paired up with Joe Egan to form Steelers Wheel…sometimes written as Steeler’s Wheel or even Steelers’ Wheel, so feel free to pick your own preferred punctuation…
Steelers Wheel enjoyed a reasonable level of success in the early 1970s and their song “Stuck In The Middle With You” was a huge hit, reaching the Top 10 in both the UK and the US in 1973. “Stuck In The Middle With You” would become even more famous 20-odd years after its release when Quentin Tarantino used Gerry Rafferty and Joe Egan’s song as the soundscape for a famous scene in his 1992 film “Reservoir Dogs”.
But nothing would eclipse 1978 for Gerry Rafferty…the year he released his “City To City” album which contained the stand-out track “Baker Street”. How we loved Raf Ravenscroft’s saxophone solo coming through the speakers of our transistor radios late at night in the late 70s. It was the perfect track for that time of day…the combination of Gerry Rafferty’s soft voice and Raf Ravenscroft’s other-worldly saxophone was divine.
Much as I love the “City To City” album, which I still have on vinyl in the attic, the Gerry Rafferty song I listen to most nowadays isn’t one of his more famous tracks like “Stuck In The Middle With You”, “Right Down The Line” or “Baker Street”.
It’s a track from his follow-up album to “City To City”, called “Night Owl”… “Get It Right Next Time”. I always think this is a particularly appropriate song for the first day of a new year, like today.
Whatever the year just gone has meant, for all of us there will be some bits we were happy about and other bits which made us less pleased. With the highs come the lows…with the successes come the failures…with every completed objective come legions of other ideas which never made it out the starting blocks.
But Gerry Rafferty reminds us that, whatever has gone before, we can do it differently next time round. We can start afresh and…who knows…might even do better next time round…
Out on the street, I was talkin’ to a man
He said “There’s so much of this life of mine that I don’t understand”
You shouldn’t worry, I said, that ain’t no crime
‘Cause if you get it wrong, you’ll get it right next time
Doing it over won’t always make things better…sometimes all you’ll do is find another way to do it wrong. But one thing’s for sure…if you don’t try again, you’ll never do any better than you’ve done up till now.
Try again and success isn’t guaranteed. But if you don’t try to make things better, they never will be…and you can take that to the bank.
That’s the joy of “Get It Right Next Time”…the reminder that we can keep trying and maybe one day get the result we were looking for all along.
You gotta grow, you gotta learn by your mistakes
You gotta die a little every day just to try to stay awake
When you believe, there’s no mountain you can’t climb
And if you get it wrong, you’ll get it right next time
So whatever 2018 was for you, in 2019 you get a do-over.
If it was a great year for you, I’m very happy. I hope that continues for you in the year ahead.
And if you got it wrong, have the faith that you’ll get it right next time.
Here’s Gerry Rafferty with his UK and US Top 30 hit from 1979, “Get It Right Next Time”…a great motto for us all at the start of a new year…
The video is below, but if you prefer you can listen to the track on Spotify here… https://open.spotify.com/track/4Oxz7wQlwewtLwoiyZ9gwY
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