This was a track from English rock band Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel's third album, The Best Years of Our Lives. It was released as the follow-up single to the band's million-selling hit, "Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me), and it peaked at #13 on the UK singles chart.
Steve Harley told Mojo magazine's Fred Dellar in the June 2010 edition of the magazine that the titular character refers to a fictional thief created by author E.W. Hornung. He explained: "Raffles was a master thief. He was a con artist too. I use his name to invoke a religious allegory, yes. We see religion and its leaders in our own ways:
'Sham: 'Man, it was mean to be seen in the robes you wore for Lent, you must've known that it was Easter.' The Devil within: 'Then in Amsterdam you were perfect fun. You never let on you had a gun and then you shot that Spanish Dancer.' Truthfully, I always think these references and allusions are obvious to listeners, and it feels a little pretentious to explain. It's not T.S. Eliot, I know, but I was a serious young man!"