Shirley Manson found international fame with Garbage
Shirley Manson found international fame with Garbage

Scotland’s pop music scene in new TV series

A new TV series looking at the history of Scottish pop music is set to air next week.

Rip It Up: The Story of Scottish Pop, will get underway on BBC Two Scotland next Tuesday, July 17, at 9pm. From the 1950s to the present day, the three-part series delves deep into Scottish music’s back catalogue.

From skiffle and folk to the global stars of the 80s, via the Scottish indie scene and the innovators and mavericks who make the Scottish music scene such a rich and diverse one, the series features first-hand accounts from artists including Alex Kapranos, Jim Kerr, The Proclaimers, Mogwai, The Vaselines, who reflect on their place in Scotland’s rich musical heritage.

The first programme looks at the trailblazers who put Scotland on the musical map and set the wheels in motion for a homegrown Scottish record industry.

The post-war generation of the 50s saw the rise of teenagers hungry for self-expression and fun. Lonnie Donegan’s skiffle sounds turned heads and the craze led fifties teens to pick up their guitars and make music themselves. Episode one is titled Blazing A Trail.

Scots singer-songwriter Donovan said: ‘Revolution was in the air. Young people wanted a voice, they wanted somebody to sing about it, and we began singing, so I had some fun with that.’

Shirley Manson found international fame with Garbage

Rip It Up relives the impact bands like The Beatstalkers had on a generation, folk music’s move from smoky clubs to the mainstream and the tartan kitsch of Rollermania. The programme also celebrates Lulu’s success story and how the Average White Band wowed transatlantic audiences with their funky RnB sound.

Rip It Up recalls how Dunfermline gave rise to rock legends Nazareth and how the mean streets of Govan in the 70s inspired The Sensational Alex Harvey Band’s unique in-your-face attitude.

Contributors include Lulu, Hamish Stuart from the Average White Band, Nazareth’s Pete Agnew, Zal Cleminson from The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, The Rezillos’ Fay Fife, Richard Jobson from The Skids, Donovan, Rab Noakes, Vic Galloway, Sally Carr from Middle of the Road, amongst others.

Future episodes in the series look at the pop stars who scored commercial success as well as Scotland’s independent record industry story.

Rip It Up: The Story of Scottish Pop TV series is part of BBC Scotland’s summer celebration of Scottish music. Alongside BBC Radio Scotland’s series, The Story of Scottish Pop, and an online podcast, the multiplatform content compliments the National Museum of Scotland’s new music exhibition, Rip It Up.

Writer and broadcaster Vic Galloway and Idlewild vocalist Roddy Woomble at the opening of the the exhibition Rip It Up, The Story of Scottish Pop (Photo: Neil Hanna)

Episode two, to be broadcast on Tuesday, 24 July, features Success and Excess, which traces the humble beginnings of some of Scotland’s biggest ever bands showcasing how they rode the waves of the music industry in order to achieve unprecedented levels of commercial success.

From pop acts who rose from ashes of the post punk era to 1980s pop enlightenment rife with social commentary, Scots artists were key players in world pop domination. However, under the shiny exterior there was excess, artistic tension and controversy galore.

From synthpop to stadium rock, glossy pop to indie and art-house dance, a plethora of music made its mark including Simple Minds, the KLF, Wet Wet Wet, Primal Scream and KT Tunstall.

The final part, for July 31, is DIY or Die. This is the story of the independent record industry in Scotland and why it continues to produce some of the most interesting and influential pop music in the world.

While the likes of The Jesus And Mary Chain paved the way for artists including Teenage Fanclub, BMX Bandits and The Soup Dragons, Scottish indie labels flourished thanks to SOMA Quality Recordings and Chemikal Underground – highlighting the diversity of music on offer.

Insights come from The Vaselines, Shirley Manson, Alex Kapranos, The Delgados, Mogwai, Arab Strab, King Creosote and the late Scott Hutchison from Frightened Rabbit.