Folk supergroup formed by Gerry Rafferty and Joe Egan after the break up of the Humblebums (Rafferty plus comedian Billy Connolly). The earliest version of the Wheel also featured Rab Noakes, who is in evidence on Rafferty's beautiful solo album for Transatlantic, Can I Have My Money Backon which both Noakes and Egan guest. That version broke up before recording, making way for a band fronted by Egan and Rafferty, with Rod Coombes on drums, De Lisle Harper on bass. Luther Grosvenor (aka Ariel Bender in Mott the Hoople) played electric guitar. It is said that Coombes (as was the case with Strawbs) was very influential on the arrangements for the first, self-titled album, produced by the legendary Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller, and may have played bass on a couple of tracks before Harper came on board (I'd love to think that that is him playing those wonderful opening bars of the bassline on "Stuck In The Middle" which is so integral to the song.)
By the time they released Stealers Wheel, Gerry Rafferty (a difficult person to work with, it seems) had left as well, but was dragged back by the success of "Stuck In The Middle With You". Going forward, Egan opted to stick with the immensely-talented Rafferty, and the duo dumped the other band members; Coombes, Harper and Grosvenor were replaced by sessions players for later albums.
The augmented duo went on to record two more albums - Ferguslie Park and Right Or Wrong before breaking up. After a period of management limbo, when he was not able to record anything from 1975 to 1978, Rafferty then went on to superstardom with "Baker Street" and a slew of excellent mega-selling albums in the late 70s. Egan fared less well, recording a couple of solo albums for Ariola, which failed to move many copies.
Stealers Wheel - Stealers Wheel (1972)
- Late Again (Egan/Rafferty)
- Stuck In The Middle With You (Egan/Rafferty)
- Another Meaning (Egan)
- I Get By (Egan)
- Outside Looking In (Rafferty)
- Johnny's Song (Rafferty)
- Next To Me (Egan/Rafferty)
- Jose (Egan)
- Gets So Lonely (Egan)
- You Put Something Better Inside Me (Egan/Rafferty)
Two excellent albums followed - Ferguslie Park and
Singles - a selection
The last of these singles was re-recorded for the second album, Ferguslie Park. The single version, which is a jaunty version picking up on some of the feel of "Stuck", may have included Rod Coombes; the B-side is taken from the first album.
There are some nice European picture sleeves of Stealers Wheel singles taken from that first album, and the follow-up single; the early ones feature our own Mr Coombes in the line-up.