Gerry Rafferty tributes: 'Music world has lost a true genius'
BILLY Connolly has led celebrity tributes to his former bandmate Gerry Rafferty, the Scottish musician who died this week.
Connolly, who performed with Rafferty when they were members of the Humblebums folk group, said: "Gerry Rafferty was a hugely talented songwriter and singer who will be greatly missed.
"I was privileged to have spent my formative years working with Gerry and there remained a strong bond of friendship between us that lasted until his untimely death.
"Gerry had extraordinary gifts and his premature passing deprives the world of a true genius."
Rafferty, whose music was loved by millions of fans worldwide, died on Tuesday, aged 63.
The singer had well-documented problems with alcohol. He had previously received treatment for liver failure and was admitted to Royal Bournemouth Hospital in November after he collapsed.
It is believed his funeral will be held later this month in Paisley, where he was born.
He cut his teeth as a busker before appearing alongside Connolly, but later fell out with the comedian when Connolly's jokes began to take up more time at the band's concerts, and the band split in 1971.
Rafferty then formed Stealers Wheel, with whom he scored another huge hit in 1972 with Stuck In The Middle With You.
In a statement released on behalf of Stealers Wheel, bandmate Rod Coombes said: "It's very sad that Gerry has passed. He had a long, hard battle with alcoholism. Gerry was a consummate craftsman and gave a lot to the music world.
"He leaves a brilliant legacy as a songwriter, so, in his life, achieved that and he meant a lot to a lot of music fans.
"Our condolences go out to his daughter Martha, his granddaughter Celia and, of course, brother Jim.
"All of us feel we would have liked to have supported Gerry through his problems but he was a loner, which made it difficult for us all, I think."
Derek Mackay, SNP leader of Renfrewshire Council, above, said: "Paisley people take great pride in their townsfolk and Gerry Rafferty was one who became a global star. His music spanned the globe, is timeless and will live on. Baker Street will live on forever."
Mr Mackay added: "It would be appropriate if his funeral was to be held in the town so that local people could pay their respects. The council is now considering some way of commemorating this great musician."
Among other musicians paying tribute yesterday were Scots band The Proclaimers, above, who said: "He was exceptional when we worked together and very kind to us.
• Buddy recorded a track to match every mood
"As well as a great songwriter, he was a really, really good singer with fantastic harmony ideas. The fact that as well as producing Letter From America, he sang backing harmonies on it meant a lot to us. A great guy, a fantastic songwriter, Gerry will be sorely missed and we are greatly saddened at the news."
Music journalist Paul Gambaccini, below right, said it was a cruel irony that Baker Street, about Rafferty's unhappiness with being a star, brought him more of the fame he hated.
Gambaccini said: "He just wasn't of the constitution to deal with the music business, or to respect it. And thus he found fame and artistic success incompatible, and he became a wanderer, a lonely man, allegedly a drinker. And now we have this unhappy end."
Musician and BBC 6 Music presenter Tom Robinson said: "I'm deeply saddened to hear that Gerry has lost the battle with his failing health.
"His early work with Stealers Wheel was an inspiration to a whole generation of songwriters in the 70s, including me.
"Many of us had hoped his recent album Life Goes On in 2009 would lead to a full-time return to writing and performing for a lyrical and highly gifted artist."
Fans have posted thousands of tributes online. On Twitter one wrote: "Gerry Rafferty's passing evokes floods of memories of wonderful times for me. A traumatic life brought solace to many. RIP." The actor Michael Sheen also tweeted: "Just found out that Gerry Rafferty died. I have loved his music since my cousin Huw gave me Night Owl when I was about 13. RIP."
A tweet by Scottish singer Barbara Dickson, above, said: "Gerry Rafferty, luminous, glorious Scottish musician. May he rest in peace."
One fan on scotsman.com said: "Great singer, some great songs, come a long way from Humblebum beginnings, how sad that he wasn't personally happy." Another fan Susan Miller, from Kilmaurs, Ayrshire, said: "Don't Speak of My Heart was my favourite. His voice was like velvet."
Politicians also paid tribute. Fiona Hyslop, the culture minister, said: "Gerry Rafferty was a hugely talented songwriter and musician.
"Responsible for some of the most iconic songs of our time, he will long be remembered for his significant cultural contribution and musical achievements, both at home and abroad.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Monday 20 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 20 C
Wind Speed: 7 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 8 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 10 mph
Wind direction: North west