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Stuck In The Middle With You by Stealers Wheel

Album: Stealers WheelReleased: 1972Charted:
6
8
  • Also known simply as "Stuck In The Middle," this Stealers Wheel classic was co-written by the group's guitarist Gerry Rafferty and keyboard player Joe Egan.

    In his obituary of Rafferty for the January 5, 2011 issue of the Daily Telegraph, Martin Chilton said of this song that it was "Written as a parody of Bob Dylan's paranoia, it ridiculed a music industry cocktail party, with the lyrics:

    Clowns to the left of me
    jokers to the right
    here I am, stuck in the middle with you.


    To Rafferty's utter disbelief his parody, composed as little more than a joke but with a catchy Pop arrangement, struck gold, selling more than a million copies. The song reached a new generation of listeners when Quentin Tarantino used it in the notorious ear-slicing scene in his 1992 movie Reservoir Dogs."

    Commenting to the BBC shortly after Rafferty's death, music industry pundit Paul Gambaccini echoed Chilton's sentiments about the song. (thanks, Alexander Baron - London, England)
  • This was the group's first album. After two more albums, Rafferty went on to a solo career and had a hit with "Baker Street." He was replaced by Luther Grosvenor from the band Spooky Tooth.
  • This played a big part in Quentin Tarantino's 1992 movie Reservoir Dogs, where a sadistic character played by Michael Madsen tunes in a radio station that begins playing this song, then proceeds to mutilate a police officer he is holding hostage. Tarantino recalled to Rolling Stone his use of this song: "That was one of those things where I thought [the song] would work really well, and [during] auditions, I told the actors that I wanted them to do the torture scene, and I'm gonna use 'Stuck in the Middle With You,' but they could pick anything they wanted, they didn't have to use that song. And a couple people picked another one, but almost everyone came in with 'Stuck in the Middle With You,' and they were saying that they tried to come up with something else, but that's the one. The first time somebody actually did the torture scene to that song, the guy didn't even have a great audition, but it was like watching the movie. I was thinking, 'Oh my God, this is gonna be awesome!'"
  • This was produced by the team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. They wrote many hit songs, including "Hound Dog" and "On Broadway."
  • In 2001 former Eternal singer Louise had a #4 hit in the UK with her cover version.
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Comments: 52

First thing that grabs your listening ear is the strumming of the guitar. Then, the bass joins in. It's that wonderful music magic that happens when the right instruments striking the right chords at the right time blend together to make an unforgettable tune. In this video, and the other one mentioned by Alan that's on YouTube, the bass doesn't seem to play a part in the sound, and it's much to bland that way. Listen to it on the radio, tho, and the excitement of the song starts when that bass pops out as you listen.Camille - Toronto, Oh
Thank you, Alan, from Prestwick, UK, for the information about the video. I was wondering how come Gerry Rafferty sung the lead vocals, yet he was not in the official videoEduardo - San Jose, Costa Rica
I went to youtube and here is the Greatful Dead's version that I got.
http://youtu.be/wZnNS1iNuDM
kirk, fredericksburg, virginia
Kirk - Fredericksburg, Va
This song was covered by The Hedgehoppers Anonymous and I found it on a compilation called Classic Rock Cover Versions on Amazon UK. It was not written for or by them as someone else said here.Terry - Colchester, Vt
And no, Bob Dylan never covered it.Alan - Prestwick, United Kingdom
And Gerry's lead vocal was done in one take.Alan - Prestwick, United Kingdom
The lead vocal on this song is sung by GERRY RAFFERTY, not Joe Egan. In the music video for the song, Joe is seen miming to Gerry's vocal, as Gerry left the band for a few months, during which time the song started to climb the charts and the video was commissioned. If you search on Youtube under AlanRafferty (no spacces) you can see a performance of it from Top of The Pops, which was a very popular weekly music chart show in the U.K, and here you can see Gerry singing the lead. The song was co-written by Gerry and Joe Egan and NOBODY recorded it prior to them in 1973.Alan - Prestwick, United Kingdom
Wonderfully infectious song, and I have to say the use of it in "Reservoir Dogs" was jarring to put it mildly.
That scene is so disturbing, with horrific violence being committed while this upbeat song with the handclap percussion section and Gerry's nice little bluesy guitar thrown in, and the perpetrator dancing along while doing it.
Sad to say, Gerry Rafferty is gone now, but his two major hits will be here for decades to come.
Oldpink - New Castle, In
Great song. You should check out Jeff Healey's version,it is great as well...RIP GERRY..Jim - Long Beach, Ca
Eagan sang lead on this song, Gerry Rafferty did the backup vocals.J - Marshfield, Wi
The New York Times' article reporting Rafferty's death repeats the anecdote mentioned on this page that "Stuck in the Middle with You" was intended as a Dylan parody. Rafferty apparently indicated that was the case during an 1978 interview with Rolling Stone.

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/gerry-raffertys-baker-street-blues-rolling-stones-1978-feature-20110104
Gordon - Philadelphia, Pa
One half of Stealers Wheel, Gerry Rafferty, recently died of liver failure. RIP Gerry.Wayne - Crockett, Tx
I first heard it on Gilmore Girls and fell in love but I didn't know the name..... luckily my Boston Pandora station played it and now I can't stop listening to it....Stealers Wheel is genius!Itzel - Mount Pleasant, Tx
The song is actually a tribute to Billy Connolly. After Billy left the Humblebums and went on to world recognition as a comedian Gerry Rafferty penned the song.
"Well you started off with nothing
And you're proud that you're a self-made man
And your friends they all come crawling
Slap you on the back and say
Please, please".
Good pub trivia question.
Paul - Salford, United Kingdom
So, If "Stuck" was recorded by The Hedgejumpers Anonymous circa 1966, and neither Rafferty or Egan were members of that band, what's the deal? Did they write for the Hedgejumpers and hold on to it for almost a decade?Tim - Springfield, Ma
Nobody has mentioned the Jeff Healy cover of this song. Healy was a gifted blind guitarist who passed away a few years ago. Not many people know about him, but he made this song grungier still distortion guitar. Check it out.Rick - Boston, Ma
The latest cover of the song, is Pat Green and Cory Morrow.Chris - Galveston, Tx
Guys, the song was covered by Susanna Hoffs! Yes, the one from the Bangles with the sweetest voice ever! It is the a hidden track (nr. 13, after the other hidden cover 'To Sir with Love') on het 1996 solo CD Susanna Hoffs. Sue's first solo album 'When you're a Boy', was released in 1991, she covered David Bowie's 'Boys keep swingin' on that one.

There is also a dutch famous country/rock singer Ilse DeLange who did the song in the dutch stadium Ahoy in Rotterdam. This version is to be found on YouTube. Though I am a big fan of Ilse, I prefer Sue's version.
Iris - Hilversum, Netherlands
Steely Dan never recorded this song. They only recorded their own material except "East St. Louis Toodle-oo" off of, i believe, the "Pretzel Logic" album.Dave - Easton, Pa
gotta say this is to the nth my absolute favorite work songRichard - Pittsburgh, Pa
Does anybody know who is the lead singer - Egan or Rafferty? (or someone else?)Eduardo - San Jose, Other
i assure you this isnt bob dylanKyle - Hewitt, Nj
I have to say, I am very suprised to find out Bob Dylan did not in fact write or sing, "Stuck in the middle with you." I keep seeing and hearing people say that Dylan did do his own version. If anybody knows if this is true please let me know!!Michelle - Media, Pa
Sounds like a bad Dylan ripoff to me.Bruce - Long Branch, Nj
Fred..You did hear this song in 1966. It was recorded then by The Hedgehoppers Anonymous. They had a hit with "Good News Week"...but this song is on their first album. You can download it on itunes.
It was 1966!
Scott - Medford, Or
The song was released in the States in 1973 (don't know about U.K.)Charles - Charlotte, Nc
I love this song but the album is not good.Juan - Buenos Aires, Argentina
ok Fred, you're right, it was never covered by the beatles, but it was indeed covered by Dylan. I actually know this song because of his version...Daniel - San Luis Potosi, Mexico
Certain it was never covered by the Beatles; pretty sure it wasn't covered by Dylan, Steely Dan, or Steve Miller; and seriously doubt it was ever done by Joe Walsh. Concerning the year, I could have sworn I was hearing this in summer of '66 here in the U.S. (specifically, some AM station in La Plata, Md), but now I think I must be confusing different memories with each other. Anybody else think they heard it back then?Fred - Laurel, Md
Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller produced this song; it's written by Rafferty and Egan.Teresa - Mechelen, Belgium
It isn't a Leiber/Stoller song, this was written by band members Joe Egan & Gerry RaffertyDave - Cardiff, Wales
Bob Dylan does not cover this song nor does the steve miller bandMilton - Island, Canada
I dont think Dylan covered it at all.

If you have a reference, please list it... I would love to hear that version.
Jai - Atlanta, Ga
I was told that this was sung by Steely Dan. I can see how people can think that it is Steve Miller though. The funniest one was that someone told me that Joe Walsh sang it.Mike - Winnipeg, Canada
My friend said this song was written and performed by The Beatles. I wasn't sure if he was right or not. I didn't think he was, I always thought The Steve Miller Band did this song.Ray - Stockton, Nj
First of all "antisemitism" is something that we never may tolerate and I don't know what meaning the song has if you replace "you" with "Jews".
Secondly the last time I heard the song of Cheryl Crow "All I wanna do" I realised that the background music is very simulant but "Stuck in the middle with you" is much better.
Teresa - Mechelen, Belgium
I heard that the meaning of the song was Gerry and Joe's diffculty in breaking into the UK scene coming from Scotland. (similar for Nazareth) All the managers wanted was bands to do covers of English bands. After a very difficult time in front of many an established management firm, they wrote the song. if you replace "you" with "Jews" it makes much more sense, but obviously at the time anti-semitism in the UK was not tolerated, Sing along, you will see it now no longer "makes no sense at all"Ignatz - Edmonton, Canada
I didnt know Bob Dylan covered this either! Im singing this song for my auditon on 5th June! Wish me luck!!Kellie - Swidon, England
One of my favorite songs from 1973. Years later, I got to relive the fun with the almost carbon copy instrumentals in Cheryl Crowe's "All I Wanna Do".Paul - Tucson, Az
this is a great song and its in my favorit scene of one of my favorate movies.Brian - Alluhrst, Nj
Does Steve Miller cover this song? My friends at school think he does, but I am certain he does not cover it.Ni - Mechanicsburg, Pa
Love this scene in Reservoir Dogs!Sean Harris - Hatfield, Pa
This is absolutely a very good song; I didn't know Leiber/Stoller produced it. I also like their slow called "Late again", a real tender and beautiful song. Radio "Classic 21" from Belgium plays ofter a success of Stealers Wheel or Gerry Rafferty.Teresa - Mechelen, Belgium
The scene in "Reservoir Dogs" the music is used for is when Mr. Blonde (Michael Madsen) ties up and tape-gags the police officer's mouth closed and is preparing to cut off his ear.Sean - Toronto, Canada
Gerry Rafferty previously palyed in a band called The Humblebums with Billy Connelly.Mark - Hereford, England
the grateful dead did a cover.Dustin - Black Mountain, Nc
I can see why people think it's Bob Dylan. the singing is more his sstyle.Stefanie Magura - Rock Hill, Sc
Never knew Bob dylan covered this song. Makes sense though.Stefanie Magura - Rock Hill, Sc
Bob Dylan actually did cover this song, his version was better as always.Matt - Downey, Ca
I think a majority of people believe(d) this is bob dylan. i did before today. also, if you search for this song using a search engine, about half of the results come up as bob dylan.Cody - San Antonio, Tx
Edna, I read somewhere several years ago that the vocals were deliberately meant to be a parody of Dylan. Rafferty and Egan were somewhat surprised by the song's subsequent popularity.Shell - Riverdale, Ga
That´s one of the best 100 songs I ever heard. I didn´t know it was Leiber/Stoller. I have the album and first time I heard it I thought it was Bob Dylan.Edna - Barcelona, Spain