Stealers Wheel

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Stealers Wheel
Stealers Wheel - TopPop 1973 9.png
Joe Egan (left) and Gerry Rafferty in 1973
Background information
Origin Paisley, Scotland
Genres Pop rock, folk rock, soft rock, pub rock
Years active1972–1975, 2008
Labels A&M
Past members Joe Egan
Gerry Rafferty
Rod Coombes
Paul Pilnick
Tony Williams
Luther Grosvenor
DeLisle Harper
Tony Mitchell
Roger Brown
Iain Campbell
Rab Noakes

Stealers Wheel were a Scottish folk rock/rock band formed in 1972 in Paisley, Scotland, 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 met as teenagers in Paisley, and became the core of Stealers Wheel. They were initially joined by Roger Brown, Rab Noakes and Ian Campbell in 1972. By the time the band was signed to A&M Records later that year, Brown, Noakes and Campbell had been replaced by Paul Pilnick, Tony Williams and Rod Coombes. [2]

The original line-up recorded Stealers Wheel (October 1972), produced by American songwriters and producers Leiber & Stoller, [2] 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". [3] [4] [5]

Stealers Wheel appearing on TopPop in 1973 Stealers Wheel - TopPop 1973 4.png
Stealers Wheel appearing on TopPop in 1973

By the time the first album was released, Rafferty had left the band; Luther Grosvenor filled in for him on tour. [2] Tony Williams also left 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 [6] in 1973, selling over one million copies worldwide, and was awarded a gold disc. [7] 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. [2] 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] [6] 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. [8]

A second album, Ferguslie Park , was released in 1973, [2] the duo supported by nine musicians. [9] 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. [2] 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 1978, A&M released the compilation album Gerry Rafferty And Joe Egan — Stuck In The Middle With You (The Best Of Stealers Wheel).

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

After being contacted by iTunes and K-tel in California, Tony Williams briefly re-formed Stealers Wheel in Blackpool in 2008 with Rod Coombes and Paul Pilnick, together with close friend 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. [10]

Gerry Rafferty died on 4 January 2011 of liver failure. [11]

In early 2016, independent record label Intervention Records reissued both Stealers Wheel and Ferguslie Park on 180-gram vinyl. [12] [13]

Stealers Wheel was among hundreds of artists whose material was destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire. [14]

Band members




YearSingle UK [6] AUS [16] US CAN
1973"Stuck in the Middle with You"81662 [17]
1973"Everything Will Turn Out Fine" (in AUS/US/CAN as "Everyone's Agreed That Everything Will Turn Out Fine")33904925 [18]
1973"Star"25672912 [19]
1975"Right or Wrong"----
1975"Found My Way to You"----

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  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. pp. 1132/3. ISBN   1-85227-745-9.
  3. "Old Grey Whistle Test - Vintage Rock TV Archive". Retrieved 24 October 2017.
  4. "Stealers Wheel - 'I Get By'". YouTube. 1 March 2009. Retrieved 24 October 2017.
  5. "Late Again (Stealers Wheel)". YouTube. 6 May 2011. Retrieved 24 October 2017.
  6. 1 2 3 Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 527. ISBN   1-904994-10-5.
  7. Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p.  337. ISBN   0-214-20512-6.
  8. Middleton, David. "Forty-Five Revolutions per Minute #18: Born Sippy". Retrieved 17 January 2013.
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  10. Parkinson, Shelagh (11 November 2008). "Blackpool Councillor follows Take That's lead". Blackpool Gazette . Retrieved 11 November 2008.
  11. Gray, Michael (4 January 2011). "Gerry Rafferty obituary". The Guardian . Retrieved 4 January 2011.
  12. "Stealers Wheel 180G LP". Retrieved 17 June 2018.
  13. "Ferguslie Park 180G LP". Retrieved 17 June 2018.
  14. Rosen, Jody (25 June 2019). "Here Are Hundreds More Artists Whose Tapes Were Destroyed in the UMG Fire". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
  15. "Stealers Wheel The A&M Years : CD Box Set". Retrieved 28 September 2019.
  16. Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 292. ISBN   0-646-11917-6.
  17. Canadian peaks RPM Magazine
  18. Canadian peaks RPM Magazine
  19. Canadian peaks RPM Magazine

Further reading