Friday, November 24, 2017

Today's Featured Artist..November 24, 2017...Stealers Wheel (video + blog)

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Stealers Wheel

(Read all about Stealers Wheel after the video)

Stealers Wheel was a Scottish folk rock/rock band formed in Paisley, Scotland, in 1972 by former school friends Joe Egan and Gerry Rafferty.[1] Their best-known hit is "Stuck in the Middle with You." The band broke up in 1975 and re-formed briefly in 2008.

Egan and Rafferty first met when they were teenagers in Paisley, and they became the core of Stealers Wheel. They were initially joined by Roger Brown, Rab Noakes and Ian Campbell in 1972. However, that line-up only lasted a few months and by the time the band was signed to A&M Records later that same year, Brown, Noakes and Campbell had been replaced by Paul Pilnick, Tony Williams and Rod Coombes.

The original line-up recorded their self-titled debut album Stealers Wheel (October 1972), which was produced by the influential American songwriters and producers Leiber & Stoller, and was a critical and commercial success, reaching No. 50 in the US Billboard 200 album chart, with their hit single "Stuck in the Middle with You" coming from the album.[1] On 7 November 1972 the band appeared on BBC 2's The Old Grey Whistle Test, performing "I Get By" and "Late Again".[2][3][4]

By the time the first album was released, Rafferty had left the band, and Luther Grosvenor filled in for him on tour. Tony Williams also left the band shortly afterwards, and DeLisle Harper joined on bass for the tour.

"Stuck in the Middle With You" reached No. 6 in the US Billboard Hot 100 and No. 8 in the UK Singles Chart[5] in 1973, and sold over one million copies worldwide, and was awarded a gold disc.[6] With the album also selling well, Rafferty was persuaded to return. However, Grosvenor, Coombes, Pilnick, and Harper all left the band. The band officially became a duo with various backing musicians on guitar, bass, and drums. Later in 1973, the single "Everyone's Agreed That Everything Will Turn Out Fine" had modest chart success, and in 1974, the single "Star" reached the Top 30 of both the UK and US charts.[1][5] Reviewing the single "Star", David Middleton at PopRockNation wrote:

"A catchy shuffle of the Lennonesque variety, "Star" is 3 minutes of pure shimmering acoustic-guitar pop loveliness and honey-throated vocal harmonies, punctuated with spikes of harmonica, kazoo, woodblock, and bawdy barrelhouse piano."[7]

The group's second album, Ferguslie Park, was released in 1974 with the duo backed up by nine backing musicians.[8] The album, named after an area of Paisley, just reached the US Billboard 200 and was a commercial failure. With increasing tensions between Egan and Rafferty, and with Leiber & Stoller also having business problems, Stealers Wheel broke up. By the time the album Right Or Wrong was released in 1975, they had already disbanded.[1] Because of disagreements and managerial problems, it was produced by Mentor Williams.

In 1990 a Best of Stealers Wheel compilation album was released. In 1992 director Quentin Tarantino used the track "Stuck in the Middle with You" in the soundtrack of his debut film Reservoir Dogs.[1] In September 2001 a dance version of "Stuck in the Middle with You" was a UK Top 10 hit for Louise, with a music video that drew heavily on the original song's appearance in the soundtrack of Reservoir Dogs.

All three albums had been unavailable for many years, though in 2004 and 2005 the British independent record label Lemon Recordings, of Cherry Red, re-released and remastered them.

After being contacted by iTunes and K-tel records in California, Tony Williams briefly re-formed Stealers Wheel in Blackpool in 2008 with Rod Coombes and Paul Pilnick, together with close friend, local musician, and songwriter Tony Mitchell. On 10 November 2008, they started filming a music video for a re-recording of "Stuck in the Middle" on the Fylde coast. They also began writing new songs, although they had no plans to tour, and disbanded again.[9]

Gerry Rafferty died on 4 January 2011 from liver failure.[10]

In early 2016 independent record label Intervention Records reissued both Stealers Wheel and Ferguslie Park on 180-gram vinyl. The albums were mastered from analog tapes at CoHearent Audio in Los Angeles and both included deluxe jackets created using the original album art and printed at Stoughton Printing[11].

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