|"Stuck in the Middle with You"|
|Single by Stealers Wheel|
|from the album Stealers Wheel|
|Released||27 April 1973|
|Recorded||Apple (London, England)|
|Producer(s)||Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller|
|"Stuck in the Middle with You" on YouTube|
"Stuck in the Middle with You" (sometimes known as "Stuck in the Middle") is a song written by Scottish musicians Gerry Rafferty and Joe Egan and performed by their band Stealers Wheel.
The band performed the song on the BBC's Top of the Pops in May 1973, and the song charted at No. 8 in the UK Singles Chart. It also became an international hit, reaching No. 6 in the US Billboard Hot 100.
"Stuck in the Middle with You" was released on Stealers Wheel's 1972 eponymous debut album. Gerry Rafferty provided the lead vocals, with Joe Egan singing harmony. It was produced by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. Rafferty's lyrics are a dismissive tale of a music industry cocktail party written (i.e. the clowns and jokers would be all the music executives and hangers on), and performed as a parody of Bob Dylan's style (the vocal impression, subject, and styling were so similar, listeners have wrongly attributed the song to Dylan since its release).
The band was surprised by the single's chart success. The single sold over one million copies, eventually peaking at No. 6 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, No. 8 in the UK, and No. 2 in Canada. Billboard ranked it as the No. 30 song for 1973.
The band appeared playing the song on BBC's Top of the Pops on 18 May 1973.
The video portrays the band performing in a corner of a large, empty building. Their performance is intercut with shots of Egan, miming to a vocal track by Rafferty (who had by then left the band), at a small banquet table with a number of garishly dressed and made-up supper guests. These include an actual clown, a bespectacled bowler-hatted gent devouring spaghetti and a lavishly dressed woman eating cream cakes and grapes. The clown, who has difficulty eating a plastic chicken, continually squeezes Egan out whenever he tries to take food from the table. The guitar solo is played on a guitar played flat with an empty beer bottle used as a slide. Eventually, the other band members appear, driving off the strange characters so that Egan can sit down at last.
The song is used in Quentin Tarantino's 1992 debut film Reservoir Dogs, during the scene in which the character Mr. Blonde (played by Michael Madsen) taunts and tortures bound policeman Marvin Nash (Kirk Baltz) while singing and dancing to the song. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Tarantino recalled:
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 of 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!"
The song appears in a 2020 TV commercial for IBM.
The song is used as the theme song for SiriusXM Radio's The Michael Smerconish Program and snippets from various cover versions of the song are used as the show's inter-segment "bumper" music.
English singer Louise also recorded a cover that was released on 27 August 2001. Her version reached number four on the UK Singles Chart in September 2001.
Lazlo Bane released a cover on the album Guilty Pleasures in 2007. Their version was used in the film Let's Be Cops and included on the soundtrack.
Jeff Healey also performed a cover.
A cover version by Grace Potter has been used as the theme song for the Netflix series Grace and Frankie since its debut in 2015 and appears in full on the Grace and Frankie (Original Television Soundtrack).
Alongside the bloody violence and salty dialog, Quentin Tarantino movies are often marked by ingenious juxtaposition of image and sound. Ever since Michael Madsen's razor-wielding Mr. Blonde danced to 'Stuck in the Middle With You' in Reservoir Dogs, the filmmaker has become synonymous with memorable musical montages.
From Pulp Fiction to Kill Bill to his latest, Inglourious Basterds (opening this weekend), Quentin Tarantino matches scene with song like a sommelier pairs just the right bottle of wine with a nice steak: perfectly. ~. So how does a cut make it from his turntable to the big screen? The revered director filled us in on his method through five key movie music cues.