“Stuck in the Middle With You” is the song everyone knows by Stealers Wheel. It reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart and was given new life when used in Quentin Tarantino’s 1992 debut film Reservoir Dogs. What most folks don’t realize is just how great Stealers Wheel was and that just about every song they recorded was excellent in my opinion.
Stealers Wheel (SP-4377) is the eponymous debut studio album by the Scottish folk-rock band Stealers Wheel. It was released by A&M Records in November 1972 and would reach #50 on the US Billboard 200 Album Chart. “Late Again” was the first single from the LP and was released in 1972. “I Get By” was the B-side.
- Gerry Rafferty – guitar, lead vocals
- Joe Egan – keyboards, guitar, lead vocals
- Paul Pilnick – lead guitar, rhythm guitar (on “I Get By”)
- Iain Campbell – bass
- Tony Williams – bass
- Rod Coombes – drums
- Luther Grosvenor – lap steel guitar (on “Stuck In The Middle With You”), lead guitar (on “I Get By”), acoustic guitar, harmony, and backing vocals (on “Late Again”)
- (uncredited – saxophone)
Geoff Emerick and John Mills did the engineering. Geoff Emerick was an English sound engineer and record producer who has a pretty good resume like The Beatles “She Loves You” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand” as well as Revolver, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and Abbey Road albums. He also engineered the Zombies’ Odessey and Oracle, McCartney’s Band on the Run, London Town, Tug of War, and Flaming Pie, Robin Trower’s Bridge of Sighs to name a few.
“You Put Something Better Inside Me”/”Wheelin'” was the second single, also released in 1972. The final single from the LP was released April 27, 1973, the aforementioned “Stuck in the Middle With You”/”Jose”. The cover painting is by John Patrick Byrne. The words “Stealers Wheel” are embedded ten times in the design, in addition to the large lettering in the bottom left-hand corner (eleven in total).
John Patrick Byrne is a Scottish playwright, artist, painter, printmaker, and theatre designer. He is known for other album covers like those for Gerry Rafferty, The Humblebums, Stealers Wheel, and an almost Beatles cover.
- Late Again Written-By – Gerry Rafferty, Joe Egan 3:10
- Stuck In The Middle With You Written-By – Gerry Rafferty, Joe Egan 3:24
- Another Meaning Written-By – Joe Egan 2:47
- I Get By Written-By – Joe Egan 3:12
- Outside Looking In Written-By – Gerry Rafferty 3:50
- Johnny’s Song Written-By – Gerry Rafferty 3:39
- Next To Me Written-By – Gerry Rafferty, Joe Egan 3:35
- José Written-By – Joe Egan 3:17
- Gets So Lonely Written-By – Joe Egan 2:50
- You Put Something Better Inside Me Written-By – Gerry Rafferty, Joe Egan 3:38
The album was produced by Leiber-Stoller. Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller wrote songs together for over sixty years, creating classics in a variety of genres including Rhythm & Blues, Pop, Jazz, Cabaret, and Rock & Roll. My favorite song on the album is probably “I Get By” sung by Joe Egan. His solo album from 1979, “Out of Nowhere” sounds like another Stealers Wheel recording. Gerry Rafferty would have a very successful solo career with 11 studio albums.