Scotland has a rich reputation with its music. The country is synonymous with pipe bands playing traditional music and the music scene has always been healthy. As the music industry has entered the modern era Scottish musicians have featured to play a leading role in a number of different genres. The bagpipes are the most famous instrument to be associated with the country and are present at any national event. This is true of many national events in London at the palaces and the Royal family have a strong relationship with the instrument. Their annual summer visits to Balmoral Castle has cemented this close relationship and lone bagpipe players often turn up in various parts of the world, often where they are least expected.
The role of the pipes played a big part in Scottish folk music. Often folk music bands would contain a piper and this form of music would be popular at celebrations and big events. A big feature of the folk music would be the dances that would often accompany these events.Scottish classical music became popular in the middle of the 19th century as the composers Alexander MacKenzie and William Wallace emerged from the country and certain classical performers became popular such as pianist Frederic Lamond.
The creation of the Edinburgh Fringe in 1947 led to the further expansion of classical music with the Scottish Opera being formed in 1960. Today there are many orchestras in the country which include the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. As rock first appeared on the music scene Scottish bands at the start were relatively few and far between. One of the earliest bands to emerge were Nazareth who were formed in Dunfermline in 1968. During their long career they released many albums with “hair of the dog’” being their best selling and most popular recording.
During this time while Scottish bands were scarce there were individual performers who were proving popular. Marie McDonald McLaughlin Lawrie was born in Lennoxtown Stirlingshire in 1948 and went on to become better known by her stage name, Lulu. She appeared in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1969, had a massive hit in 1964 with “Shout”, and even sung the title song on the James Bond film “The Man with the Golden Gun”. In her long lasting career she even performed “shout” at the closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games held in Glasgow in 2014.
During the early stages of her career Rod Stewart was also emerging. Although born in London in 1945 Stewart has always celebrated his “Scottishness”. He first appeared as the front man of the Jeff Beck Group and then the Small Faces, however he is most recognized as a solo performer. He has sold over 100 million records world-wide and has 62 UK hit singles. At one time he had six consecutive no1 albums in the UK. He has been so popular that in 1994 he played to 3.5 million people on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro.
No group inspire Scottish bands more than the Bay City Rollers who emerged in the early 1970s from Edinburgh. The young glam rockers did not achieve much success until the release of “Remember (Sha-la-la-la) in 1973. This was the first of a number of major hits for the group through the 1970s and in 1975 had the biggest UK selling single of the year with “Bye Bye Baby”. They created hysteria amongst their fans where ever they played. Their outfits proudly reflected their Scottish nationality with their clothes heavily containing tartan. Their popularity spread across the world and although their popularity had waned by the end of the 1970s their influence within Scottish music had already been made.