Baker Street, Baker Street or Baker Street?

Baker Street

Driving to work this morning I heard on the radio a blast from my past – a song called Baker Street. Only it wasn’t the 1992 version from my teenage years, it was the original 1978 version!

The 1992 cover by UK dance group Undercover was a track that I learned the lyrics of and sang endlessly to whilst forcing my family to endure it on repeat play. Whilst I was aware that it was a cover, I’ve not encountered the original until today and I have to say, it is a revelation. The Gerry Rafferty ballad from the late 70’s, in my opinion, is so much better. What were Undercover thinking? They ruined a perfectly good song!

I guess I’m not the only one to encounter this strange phenomenon, where a beloved song is found to be nothing more than a tepid imitator? Judge for yourself, below are three Baker Streets – the first is the original, the second is the cover and the third, a bonus, is a B-side from rockers Foo Fighters.

Let me know if you have a song that you later discovered to be an inferior cover.

Hayden Yale

Child of the 80's. Born, raised and living in the Cheshire countryside, England.Lover of fan art, especially if it is based on my childhood heroes from Masters of the Universe, Thundercats, Transformers and TMNT. Penchant for almost anything retro, especially movies, games and art.

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6 thoughts on “Baker Street, Baker Street or Baker Street?

  1. “They ruined a perfectly good song!” <–That's the nature of cover songs, the vast majority are way worse than the originals (although I have heard a few that were actually better than the original).
    In most cases I have (to the best of my knowledge) heard the original version before hearing the cover. The one exception I can think of atm is "war" from the small soldiers movie. I rather liked the song overall, but hated the *&^*%&^ rapping in the middle. Later I heard the original edwin starr version (with no damned rap) and thought it was much better.

  2. Spotted Feather says:

    Never heard of this band or this song. But if you like it, more power to you.

  3. I’m sure there are other songs where I’ve heard the cover before the original… must try and think of them. I’m sure the cover artists in most cases are trying to create an equal or greater version, though what they tend to do is only create something contemporary.

    Off to Youtube now for a little Edwin Starr…. WAR, HUH, what is it good for, absolutely nothin’!

  4. Strechman says:

    I had no idea there was any other version of Rafferty’s Baker Street. I remember reading somewhere that the classic sax solo was just filler during the recording. It was meant to be replaced by a guitar solo.

    As far as any covers being superior to the original, I have two candidates:
    Higher Ground – Red Hot Chili Peppers
    Hurt – Johnny Cash.

    I’m sure there are a few more (Pseudo Echo anyone?)

  5. Rick says:

    If you like Gerry Rafferty’s “Baker Street” (and let’s be real, who doesn’t?), you should check out Rafferty’s “Right Down the Line” and “Get It Right Next Time”. Just YouTube them. BTW, the iconic Baker Street sax solo is by Raphael Ravenscroft.

  6. Rick says:

    Also, I experienced the same thing with the Goo Goo Dolls “A Million Miles Away”, which is a bad knock off of the Plimsouls from 1983. On the other hand, I prefer Shawn Mullins’ “What Is Life?” to George Harrison’s orignal.

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