Stealers Wheel

Stuck in the Middle With You

Song Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Before Quentin Tarantino hauled out his Have a Nice Day compilations for the soundtrack of Reservoir Dogs, Stealers Wheel's "Stuck in the Middle With You" was a nearly forgotten pop-folk artifact of the early '70s. After Reservoir Dogs revolutionized indie film in the '90s, the song was viewed as a rock standard. Joe Egan and Gerry Rafferty's catchy Dylan knockoff was the soundtrack to a pivotal scene in the 1992 film, and as its cult grew, so did the song's popularity. At first, college kids spun the soundtrack continually, but once the film was on video, "Stuck in the Middle With You" returned to the airwaves, becoming a staple of oldies and AOR radio throughout the '90s. That wasn't the end of it, either. Bar bands played it regularly, Juice Newton and Jeff Healy both covered it in the mid-'90s, and the track made its way to several other film soundtracks as well. Quite an achievement for a song that was almost lost to the passage of time. The thing is, it deserved to be rescued. True, Egan and Rafferty's lyrical pretensions are a little silly, but the song itself is feverishly catchy, thanks to a great acoustic guitar riff and a sly melody. In essence, it's a very basic pop-folk song, but that's what's special about it -- it's simple yet memorable, the kind of song that sounds good whether it's performed by a solo artist or a full band. Even though it sounds fine when it's covered, no subsequent version has matched the original recording because Stealers Wheel loaded their recording with a lot of nice little details, from a slight Dylanesque whine to the harmonized electric guitars on the bridge. Because of these, it's easy to dismiss "Stuck in the Middle With You" as more of a record than a song, but that's not the case. Yes, no cover matches the original, but the song is enjoyable in all of its incarnations.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Forget Me Nots 1972
Various Artists
A&M 3:24
Dynamite 1974
Various Artists
Incentive
Stuck in the Middle with You 1978 A&M
Super Hits of the '70s: Have a Nice Day, Vol. 10 1990
Various Artists
Rhino 3:24
Sounds of the Seventies: 1973 1990
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 3:27
Reservoir Dogs [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack] 1992
Original Soundtrack
MCA 3:23
Pulp Fiction & Reservoir Dogs 1994
Original Soundtrack
MCA 3:23
The Best of Stealers Wheel [UK] 1994 Connoisseur / Import 3:25
Bali: The Ketchak 1995 Virgin 3:25
Acoustic Moods [Polygram] 1995
Various Artists
Universal Distribution
Bio-Dome 1996
Original Soundtrack
Priority Records 3:26
Movie Killers 1996
Various Artists
Records
Tarantino Connection 1997
Various Artists
Hip-O 3:25
Trackspotting 1997
Various Artists
PolyGram 3:24
Have a Nice Decade: The 70s Pop Culture Box 1998
Various Artists
Rhino 3:26
Movies Greatest Love Songs 1998
Various Artists
Crimson Productions
Acoustic Moods [Crimson] 1998
Various Artists
Crimson Productions 3:24
Sounds of the Seventies: '70s Gold 1998
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Time / Life Music 3:26
Class Reunion: The Greatest Hits of 1973 1998
Various Artists
Rebound Records 3:23
Essential Soundtracks 1999
Various Artists
Telstar TV Records 3:24
Pure 70's 1999
Various Artists
Polygram 3:23
AM Gold: 70's Easy Hits 1999
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 3:26
AM Gold: Radio Hits 70's 1999
Various Artists
BMG Special Products 3:26
Entertainment Weekly: The Greatest Hits 1973 2000
Various Artists
Buddha Records 3:26
Survivor: The Official Survivor Party Survival 2000
Various Artists
TVT 3:25
The Best Pub Jukebox in the World...Ever! 2000
Various Artists
Virgin 3:23
Suddenly '70s 2001
Various Artists
Razor & Tie 3:27
Entertainment Weekly: The Greatest Hits 1970-1974 2001
Various Artists
Buddha Records 3:26
All Music Guide: Classic Rock 2001
Various Artists
Medalist Entertainment 3:27
A Year in Your Life: 1973, Vol. 2 2001
Various Artists
Definitive 3:25
Dock Rock 2002
Various Artists
BMG International 3:25
Ultimate Teen Flick Soundtrack 2002
Various Artists
Warner Music 3:24
Kitsch Lounge Riot 2003
Various Artists
BMG UK & Ireland 3:23
Stuck in the Suburbs 2004
Original Soundtrack
Disney 3:25
Main Attractions 2004
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 3:25
Hits from the Flicks 2005
Various Artists
Crimson Productions 3:25
Naughty But Nice 2005
Various Artists
Family Recordings 3:22
Hollywood Cool 2005
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 3:24
'70s: Gold 2006
Various Artists
Hip-O 3:24
Planet 70's 2006
Various Artists
Universal International 3:23
Daddy Cool [Universal] 2006
Various Artists
Universal International 3:27
Solitudes: Songs for Open Road 2006 Platinum Legends 3:25
The Seventies: Lost Rock Classics 2007
Various Artists
American Beat Records 3:24
Gold: Soft Rock 2007
Various Artists
Hip-O 3:25
Get Ready, Here Come the '70s 2007
Various Artists
Shout! Factory 3:24
Die Ultimative Rock Box 2007
Various Artists
Brunswick 3:24
Rock Anthems [Universal 2007] 2007
Various Artists
Universal / Universal Distribution 3:24
While My Guitar Gently Weeps: The Very Best Of 2008
Various Artists
Universal Music TV 3:23
Best Movie Album in the World Ever 2008
Various Artists
EMD Int'l 3:22
100 Hits: Drive Time 2008
Various Artists
100 Hits 3:25
The Best of 1973: 20th Century Masters 2008
Various Artists
20th Century Masters
Gold Classic Hits Radio '70s 2009
Various Artists
Gold Classic Hits Radio / Universal Music 3:24
Total Drivetime 2010
Various Artists
Universal 3:22
Singers & Songwriters: Troubadours 2010
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 3:26
Greatest Ever! Pop: The Definitive Collection 2011
Various Artists
Greatest Ever 3:26
Now That's What I Call Classic Rock Hits 2012
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 0:00
Saturday Night Party: '70s Party 2012
Various Artists
Bellevue Publishing 3:23
Latest & Greatest Acoustic Songs 2013
Various Artists
USM / USM Media 0:00
20 #1's: Classic Rock Vol. 2 2017
Various Artists
Hip-O / Universal 3:23
Holiday Cookie Mix! 2020
Various Artists
Universal 3:24
Trending Christmas Hits, Vol. 1 2020
Various Artists
Universal 3:24
300 Hits: Saturday Night Party
Various Artists
Bellevue Publishing / Wienerworld 3:23
70's Nostalgia
Various Artists
Universal 3:25
70's Retro Party
Various Artists
Universal 3:25
70's Rock Classics
Various Artists
Universal 3:25
70s Dance Hits
Various Artists
Universal 3:24
70s Memories
Various Artists
Universal 3:24
70s Mix [Universal]
Various Artists
Universal 3:25
70s Mixtape
Various Artists
UMe / Universal 3:24
70s Rock [2019]
Various Artists
Universal 3:24
All Time Classics [Universal]
Various Artists
Universal 3:24
Ambiance Roadtrip
Various Artists
Universal 3:24
BBQ Summer [Universal] [2019]
Various Artists
Universal 3:24
BBQ Summer [Universal] [2020]
Various Artists
Universal 3:24
Baking Songs [Universal]
Various Artists
Universal 3:25
Best of 70s [2021]
Various Artists
Universal 3:24
Canciones de Siempre: Rock
Various Artists
Universal 3:24
Christmas Music [December]
Various Artists
Universal 3:24
Christmas Songs [Universal]
Various Artists
Universal 3:24
Churrasco Rock Anos 70
Various Artists
Universal 3:24
Classic Hits
Various Artists
Universal 3:24
Classic Rock Mixtape
Various Artists
Universal 3:29
Classics of Rock
Various Artists
Universal 3:24
Cocktail Time [Universal]
Various Artists
Universal 3:24
Cooking at Home [Rock Edition]
Various Artists
Universal 3:25
Cool-Rock
Various Artists
Universal 3:24
Cottage Music: Retro Road Trip
Various Artists
Universal 3:24
Cottage Music: Yacht Rock
Various Artists
Universal 3:29
Dad Rocks [2021]
Various Artists
Universal 3:24
Dad's Jukebox: The Very Best Of The 60's, 70's & 80's
Various Artists
Universal 3:25
Easy Classics
Various Artists
Universal 3:25
Essential Soft Rock
Various Artists
Universal 3:24
Feelgood Classics 2021
Various Artists
Universal 3:24
Film Graffiti
Various Artists
Universal 3:25
Film Hits [Universal]
Various Artists
Universal 3:25
Friday Office Music
Various Artists
Universal 3:24
Good Times
Various Artists
Universal 3:24
Greatest Ever! Dad: The Definitive Collection
Various Artists
Union Square Music 3:24
Greatest Hits [Universal]
Various Artists
Universal 3:29
Greatest Movie Hits [Universal]
Various Artists
Universal 3:24
Holiday Hits [Universal]
Various Artists
Universal 3:24
Holiday Songs [Universal]
Various Artists
Universal 3:24
Hot Party 70 Classics
Various Artists
Universal 3:24
I Am Angry
Various Artists
Polystar / Universal 3:24
Kitchen Tunes
Various Artists
Universal 3:24
Legends & Anthems
Various Artists
Universal 3:24
Let It Snow!
Various Artists
Universal 3:24
Let's Rock 70's
Various Artists
Universal 3:24
Los Sultanes del Pop  & Rock 60's/70s
Various Artists
Universal 3:24
Morning Wake Up
Various Artists
Universal 3:24
Movie Classics
Various Artists
Universal 3:24
Music for the Car
Various Artists
Universal 3:24
Mães do Rock
Various Artists
Universal 3:24
Number One Movies Album
Various Artists
Polygram
Old But Gold 70's
Various Artists
Universal 3:25
Old School Classics
Various Artists
Universal 3:24
Pasaporte a los 70s
Various Artists
Universal 3:24
Pé Na Estrada
Various Artists
Universal 3:24
Quarantine Tunes
Various Artists
Universal 3:23
Retro Road Trip
Various Artists
Universal 3:29
Road Trip 2019
Various Artists
Universal 3:29
Road Trip Hits
Various Artists
Universal 3:25
Road Trip Tunes
Various Artists
Universal 3:25
Road Trip: Rock
Various Artists
Universal 3:25
Roadtrip Hits
Various Artists
Universal 3:25
Rock 70'S
Various Artists
Universal 3:24
Rock Hard & Roll
Various Artists
Universal 3:24
Rock Leve
Various Artists
Universal 3:24
Rock en Inglés 70´s 80´s y 90´s
Various Artists
Universal 3:24
Rockin' Summer
Various Artists
Somerset Group 3:25
Seventies Music
Various Artists
Universal 3:29
Stay Home Stay Safe
Various Artists
Universal 3:25
Summer Escape
Various Artists
Universal 3:25
Summer Party [2020]
Various Artists
Universal 3:25
Sun and Surf
Various Artists
Universal 3:24
Sunday Vibes
Various Artists
Universal 3:25
Surf Songs
Various Artists
Universal 3:24
Surfer Vibes
Various Artists
Universal 3:24
Surfing Music
Various Artists
Universal 3:24
The Best Road Trip Album in the World...Ever!
Various Artists
Universal 3:24
The Greatest Ever... The 1970's
Various Artists
Bellevue 3:26
Throwback Hits
Various Artists
Universal 3:24
Travel Vibes
Various Artists
Universal 3:24
Trending Holiday Hits, Vol. 1
Various Artists
Universal 3:24
Trending Now, Vol. 13
Various Artists
Universal 0:00
Ultimate Christmas [2020]
Various Artists
Universal 3:24
Viaje A 1972
Various Artists
Universal 3:24
Viral Hits, Vol. 5
Various Artists
Universal 3:24
Wake Up Gently
Various Artists
Universal 3:24
We Will Rock You
Various Artists
Universal 3:25
We Will Rock You 2020
Various Artists
Universal 3:24
Winter Classics [Universal]
Various Artists
Universal 3:24
Winter Hits 2020
Various Artists
Universal 3:24
Work From Home: Rock Edition
Various Artists
Universal 3:25