A few weeks, ago, I paid tribute to The Bangles, and in the process, apparently kicked AM Gold in the teeth a little. Specifially, I suggested that Simon & Garfunkel don’t rock. I stand by that statement: they don’t. I listen to them frequently and find the songs beautiful and melancholy, but it’s not the kind of thing I crank up during a long stretch on the turnpike, or in the shower.
Melinda, whose favorite bands are The Scissor Sisters and everything on AM Gold, called me out on it. I’ve been trying to come up with a way to make it up to her, and then yesterday, on my way back from Lowe’s, new space heater in the passenger’s seat (my home office has no heating vent, and I got tired of wearing gloves by the end of the day), 3WS, Pittsburgh’s home for oldies, kicked out with the most rocking tune ever to be played in a dentist’s office: Gerry Rafferty’s “Baker Street.”
Here’s the funny thing about “Baker Street”: I’ve heard the song five thousand times, give or take a million, and I don’t think I ever knew the title. Or if I did, it was one of those things where I’d hear the title and think, “Oh, yeah, it’s ‘Baker Street.’” And then: “Oh, right, Gerry Rafferty.” And then I would forget the name and artist, because I would spend the next half hour trying to remember who had sex to the song in which movie.
And by George Michael’s yacht: someone did. Either that, or the saxophone conjures a false memory of having sex in an urban landscape, with a view of the wet pavement, silhouetted against louvered blinds. The sex partner is someone with whom you had an affair ten years ago, but he’s married and you’re engaged, and his marriage is failing and your fiance is in a coma, or drives a Camaro. Or else you’re a teacher and he’s a former student. Or you’re dating his best friend.
Which scenario was it? I don’t know. I don’t remember. It’s right there, at the corner of waa-waa and do-do-doooo, but it keeps slipping away. Andrew McCarthy and Ally Sheedy. Kim Basinger and Mickey O’Rourke. Somebody had sex to this song, damn it, and the internet’s no help at all.
In any case, I knew I’d feature it this week, although there’s no video, since it was released in 1978. Just this live TV clip. And thank the heavens for the mid-morning DJ, because she said the name of the song, which I repeated five times, and then made my daughter repeat, for good measure. So I’ll never again forget that the name of this song is “Baker Street.”
One thing, though. Listening to it on the radio again, I realized something truly astounding: did you know this song has lyrics?