Raphael Ravenscroft, who played one of the most recognizable saxophone solos in popular music on Gerry Rafferty’s 1978 hit“Baker Street,” died on Sunday in Exeter, England. He was 60.
His death was announced by his family. No cause was specified, but the BBC said he was believed to have had a heart attack.
Mr. Ravenscroft’s bluesy eight-bar saxophone break helped make “Baker Street,” a haunting soft-rock tune, a hit for Mr. Rafferty, who was beginning a solo career after the breakup of his group Stealers Wheel. It reached No. 3 in Britain and No. 2 in the United States, and has continued to receive radio play through the years.
In a 2011 radio interview, Mr. Ravenscroft said that he didn’t like listening to “Baker Street” because his playing was out of tune. But his daughter, the artist Scarlett Raven, told the BBC that he was “very proud of ‘Baker Street’ ” because “it made people feel good.”
Mr. Ravenscroft received a flat fee for his work on the song, which made Mr. Rafferty a fortune, but it kick-started his career. A virtual unknown when he played on “Baker Street,” he went on to become a busy studio musician, working with Pink Floyd, Abba, Marvin Gaye and others.
Mr. Rafferty died in 2011.