Connolly leads tributes to Rafferty

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Gerry Rafferty has died following a long illness

Music stars and comedian Billy Connolly have led tributes to singer-songwriter Gerry Rafferty, best known for his 1978 hit Baker Street, who has died at the age of 63.

The Scot is said to have died peacefully after a long illness at his home in Dorset on Tuesday, with daughter Martha by his side.

Baker Street, with its distinctive saxophone solo, reached number 3 in the UK charts and no 2 in the US.

Rafferty, who split from wife Carla in the 1990s, was said to have earned £80,000 a year from the royalties on that song alone.

Connolly, who performed with Rafferty in the past, 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 was born in Paisley near Glasgow on April 16 1947. He cut his teeth as a busker and also appeared with Connolly’s folk group The Humblebums.

He fell out with the comedian when Connolly’s jokes began to take up more time at the band’s concerts, and he walked out in 1970.

Two years later he formed Stealers Wheel, with whom he scored another huge hit in 1972 with Stuck In The Middle With You. The outfit ended in acrimony in 1975.

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