Skip to main content

Baker Street sax player Raphael dead at 60

Raphael ‘Raf’ Ravenscroft, the saxophonist who played the riff on Gerry Rafferty’s classic track Baker Street, has died at 60.

The respected session musician also appeared on Robert Plant’s debut solo album Pictures At Eleven, Pink Floyd’s The Final Cut, and Mike Oldfield’s Islands and Earth Moving. He also wrote books on sax technique.

He’s thought to have suffered a heart attack at home in Devon after entering semi-retirement in 2012 due to ill health.

Friend Julie Bookham said: “Raphael suffered a stroke some time ago. He was taken to hospital but died early on Sunday morning.”

Baker Street, from Rafferty’s second solo album City to City, won an Ivor Novello Award for Best Song Musically And Lyrically in 1978. In 2010 it was recognised for having been player over 5,000,000 times.

Although his account is disputed, Ravenscroft said he came up with the riff after being presented with a song containing “several gaps.” He added: “Most of what I played was an old blues riff. If you’re asking me, ‘Did Gerry hand me a piece of music to play?’ then no, he didn’t.”

The song’s success led to an increase in sax sales in the years following its release.

Martin Kielty

Not only is one-time online news editor Martin an established rock journalist and drummer, but he’s also penned several books on music history, including SAHB Story: The Tale of the Sensational Alex Harvey Band (opens in new tab), a band he once managed, and the best-selling Apollo Memories (opens in new tab) about the history of the legendary and infamous Glasgow Apollo. Martin has written for Classic Rock and Prog and at one time had written more articles for Louder than anyone else (we think he's second now). He’s appeared on TV and when not delving intro all things music, can be found travelling along the UK’s vast canal network.