Song of the Day: Stuck In The Middle With You by Stealers Wheel

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.

Lyrics:

Well I don’t know why I came here tonight,
I got the feeling that something ain’t right,
I’m so scared in case I fall off my chair,
And I’m wondering how I’ll get down the stairs,
Clowns to the left of me,
Jokers to the right, here I am,
Stuck in the middle with you.

Yes I’m stuck in the middle with you,
And I’m wondering what it is I should do,
It’s so hard to keep this smile from my face,
Losing control, yeah, I’m all over the place,
Clowns to the left of me, Jokers to the right,
Here I am, stuck in the middle with you.

Well you started out with nothing,
And you’re proud that you’re a self made man,
And your friends, they all come crawlin,
Slap you on the back and say,
Please…. Please…..

Trying to make some sense of it all,
But I can see that it makes no sense at all,
Is it cool to go to sleep on the floor,
‘Cause I don’t think that I can take anymore
Clowns to the left of me, Jokers to the right,
Here I am, stuck in the middle with you.

Well you started out with nothing,
And you’re proud that you’re a self made man,
And your friends, they all come crawlin,
Slap you on the back and say,
Please…. Please…..

Well I don’t know why I came here tonight,
I got the feeling that something ain’t right,
I’m so scared in case I fall off my chair,
And I’m wondering how I’ll get down the stairs,
Clowns to the left of me,
Jokers to the right, here I am,
Stuck in the middle with you,
Yes I’m stuck in the middle with you,
Stuck in the middle with you

……

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 2 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.x

-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.

via songfacts.com

Cover versions

Country-pop singer Juice Newton remade the song on her 1985 album Old Flame. Jeff Healey recorded a cover version of “Stuck in the Middle With You” in 1995 for his album Cover to Cover. Bangles member Susanna Hoffs covered the song on her eponymous 1996 release.

English singer Louise Redknapp recorded a cover version in 2001, which reached #4 in the UK in 2001. The Eagles of Death Metal have also released a cover version of this song on their album, Peace, Love, Death Metal titled, “Stuck in the Metal”. Michael Bublé also covered it with an upbeat brass arrangement. Keith Urban did a country-flavored version with his short-lived The Ranch, which was omitted from their contemporaneous late 90’s release but included by the label as a bonus track on the disc’s 2004 reissue. American alternative rock band Lazlo Bane covered the song for their 70’s covers album Guilty Pleasures. Collin Raye released a version of the song on his 2009 album Never Going Back.

In 2012 The Bo-Keys recorded a Memphis Soul style version for a fund raising cd titled “Super Hits Of The Seventies” for radio station WFMU.

Singer Dick Rivers released a disco song titled “J’ai pas la côte avec toi” with the same tune as “Stuck in the Middle With You”, set to French lyrics, in 1978.

Stealers Wheel

Origin Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland
Genres Rock, folk, folk rock, soft rock
Years active 1972–1975, 2008–present
Labels A&M
Members Paul Pilnick
Rod Coombes
Tony Williams
Tony Mitchell
Past members Gerry Rafferty
Joe Egan
Ian Campbell
Roger Brown
Rab Noakes
Luther Grosvenor
DeLisle Harper
Andrew Steele
Joe Jammer
Gerry Taylor
Bernie Holland
Dave Wintour

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