The list is long but our shortlist of the best tartan bands is sure to be a conversation starter.
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1. The Proclaimers
Identical twins Craig and Charlie Reid were born in Leith but it was while living in Auchtermuchty in 1983 that they formed the band. Their debut album This Is the Story went gold, with the track Letter from America peaking at number three in the UK Singles Chart. The follow-up album featured I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) and I’m On My Way. A stage musical featuring their songs, Sunshine on Leith, was created in 2007 for Dundee Rep and adapted as a feature film in 2013.
2. The Sensational Alex Harvey Band
As early pioneers of punk and glitter, The Sensational Alex Harvey Band produced original, yet overlooked music. The band was formed in 1972 when Harvey joined guitarist Zal Cleminson, bassist Chris Glen, and cousins Hugh and Ted McKenna on keyboards and drums respectively. With Harvey as their wild-eyed, charismatic front man, SAHB released eight critically-acclaimed albums in their five years together. The band had a Top 40 UK hit with a cover version of the Tom Jones hit Delilah in 1975, and another with The Boston Tea Party in 1976. On 4 February 1982, a day short of his 47th birthday, Harvey suffered a fatal heart attack after performing a gig in Belgium with his new band, the Electric Cowboys.
3. Bay City Rollers
This Edinburgh band were at the height of their popularity in the mid 1970s. For a relatively brief but fervent period known as Rollermania, they were worldwide teen idols. The group’s line-up featured numerous changes over the years, but the classic line-up during its heyday included guitarists Eric Faulkner and Stuart John Wood, singer Les McKeown, bassist Alan Longmuir and drummer Derek Longmuir. Their hits include Bye Bye Baby and Shang A-Lang.
4. Simple Minds
Simple Minds’ roots are in the short-lived punk band Johnny & The Self-Abusers. Formed in 1977, the band split up later that year with the remaining members carrying on as Simple Minds – their name is from a David Bowie lyric from his song Jean Genie. With Jim Kerr on lead vocals, they achieved commercial success in the early 1980s with a string of hit singles. They are best known for their hits Don’t You (Forget About Me), which was used on the soundtrack of the film The Breakfast Club, and Alive and Kicking. In 1986, Simple Minds was nominated for the Brit Award for Best British Group.
Inspired by the Beatles and Rolling Stones, Nazareth formed in December 1968 in Dunfermline, taking their name from Nazareth, Pennsylvania, which is cited in the fi rst line of The Band’s classic song The Weight. Perhaps their best known hit single was a cover of the ballad Love Hurts, in 1975, which was the band’s only US Top Ten hit. The band continues to record and tour although Pete Agnew is the sole remaining original member.
6. Snow Patrol
The Irish/Scottish five-piece Snow Patrol originally formed in 1994 at Dundee University. The band, comprising Gary Lightbody, Nathan Connolly, Paul Wilson, Jonny Quinn and Tom Simpson, have sold more than 11 million albums and have been responsible for several era-defi ning singles, including Run, Chocolate, and Chasing Cars (which spent an incredible 104 weeks in the UK Top 75). Their albums have won various awards, with Final Straw landing them an Ivor Novello Award in 2005. A pretty good century by anyone’s standards!
7. Deacon Blue
Formed in Glasgow in 1985, Deacon Blue took their name from the title of a Steely Dan song. The line-up consists of Ricky Ross, Lorraine McIntosh, James Prime and Dougie Vipond. The band released their debut album, Raintown, in 1987, which included the singles Dignity and Chocolate Girl. When the World Knows Your Name (1989) topped the UK Albums Chart and included Real Gone Kid, which became their first UK top-10 single.
8. Wet Wet Wet
Wet Wet Wet formed at Clydebank High School in 1982 under the name Vortex Motion before wisely changing their name. The band comprise lead singer Marti Pellow, Tommy Cunningham, Graeme Clark and Neil Mitchell. A fifth, unofficial member, Graeme Duffin, has been with them since 1983. They are best known for their 1994 cover of The Troggs 1960s hit Love Is All Around, which was used on the soundtrack to the film Four Weddings and a Funeral.
9. Franz Ferdinand
Franz Ferdinand formed in 2002. Alex Kapranos, Bob Hardy, Nick McCarthy and Paul Thomson played in various bands during the 1990s, signing to Laurence Bell’s independent record label, Domino Records, in 2003. The Glaswegian band has been nominated for several Grammy Awards and has received two Brit Awards.
Celtic rock group Runrig formed on Skye in 1973 under the name The Run Rig Dance Band. Lead singer Donnie Munro joined in 1974. Following their fourth independent studio album, Heartland (1985), Runrig signed with Chrysalis and thanks to major label support, Runrig’s fifth studio album, The Cutter And The Clan (1987) gained them a wider audience in the UK and Europe. Runrig retired last year.