Stealers Wheel was a problem child from the outset, with revolving door personnel changes, that included Rafferty himself departing and returning, and a poorly negotiated contract with A&M. The band was also a continuous legal morass, with assorted law suits continuing long after the group’s demise in 1975. The band’s third and final album, “Right Or Wrong”, consisted mostly of songs written by either Rafferty or Egan expressing their growing acrimony for each other. Still, “Stuck In The Middle With You” was huge and follow-up songs like “Everyone’s Agreed That Everything Will Turn Out Fine” and “Star” are stellar efforts, even if their chart positions didn’t match up.
As a solo artist, Rafferty is best remembered for his 1978 album “City To City” which contained his biggest hit, “Baker Street” (featuring the saxophone of Raphael Ravenscroft). That album also produced the hits “Right Down The Line” and “Home And Dry”. Rafferty’s next album, “Night Owl”, produced a couple more big charting singles, “Get It Right The Next Time” and “Days Gone Down”. But Gerry’s next two albums in 1980 and 1982 went nowhere and produced no hit singles. It would be another six years before Rafferty recorded another album. Between 1988 and his death, Rafferty released five more albums (not including compilations), none of them achieving notable success and none of them spawning any hits.
Between his last two albums—2000’s “Another World” and 2009’s “Life Goes On”—there was an endless stream of rumors and denials about the singer’s health, whereabouts and even whether he was alive or dead. But it is well known and acknowledged that Rafferty had long battled depression and alcoholism and, in the end, Gerry Rafferty succumbed to liver damage and kidney failure at the age of 63.
It is on Rafferty’s final album--“Life Goes On”, released in 2009—where we find his contributions to Christmas music. My understanding is that both “Adeste Fielis” and “Silent Night” had previously appeared as free downloads on Rafferty’s web site (which no longer exists). In any case, I doubt many were aware of their existence at all.