Scottish rock bands may have taken their time to come to prominence in the late 1960s but once the 1970s were in full swing more and more groups started to emerge from north of the border. The rise of Punk Rock started to see the formation of some Scottish bands. One of the first bands were the Skids who were from Dunfermline and formed in 1977 by the lead guitarist Stuart Adamson. The band had in Richard Jacobson a talented lead singer, and they had a successful period supporting The Clash on tour achieving chart success with their single “Into the Valley”.
The songs were mainly written by Jobson and Adamson and the group released several albums until they eventually split up in 1982, with Adamson going on to form Big Country. The music of Big Country was more punk inspired folk rock, infused with pipes and fiddles. The Band achieved many successes with their albums and singles throughout the 1980s and 1990s, and were still performing when Adamson died in 2001.
Simple Minds were never a punk band but their music was definitely influenced by the genre. Formed in Glasgow in 1977 they have sold over 70 million records world-wide. The sounds of the group were from the start post punk and new wave, and in Jim Kerr they had an influential front man. They released numerous albums with Once Upon a Time, released as their 7th in 1985, being their most successful one. From this they released four chart topping singles and their reputation were so big in British rock music that they appeared at Wembley Stadium in 1988 for Mandela Day. They continue to play and record today.
The Tourists were another post punk band who formed in 1976 and achieved some success releasing three albums and recording half a dozen hit singles with two making the top ten in the UK. When the group broke up two of its members Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart went on to form The Eurythmics. The group have sold over 75 million records world-wide and have recorded 9 albums. During their time together they have had time out for Lennox to pursue her solo career, and for Stewart to work as a music producer. In 2005 they were inducted into the UK Music Hall of fame and in 2017 they were nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
If there is a group whose music has been adopted by Scotland as the music of the nation, it is The Proclaimers. The band consists of twin brothers Craig and Charlie Reid from Edinburgh, who in 1983 formed their group. They have released ten albums and their songs are known for them singing in a Scottish accent. Their hit single “Im Gonna Be (500 miles)” was first released in 1988 but after it appeared in the Jonny Depp movie “Benny and Joon” it was re-released and reached number 3 in the US Billboard hot 100. The single is now played at both Scottish football and rugby international matches.
Sheena Easton found fame in the 1980s as a female vocalist and became one of the most successful UK artists actually topping the US Billboard hot 100 chart with the single ‘9 to 5”. Born in Bellshill North Lanarkshire in 1959 she went to sell over 20 million records world-wide. As well as singing the title song for the James Bond movie “For Your Eyes Only”, her journey included resettling in the States to follow a successful acting career. Her most recent roles have included playing “Dorothy Brock” in “42nd Street” in London’s West End Drury Lane.
Scotland has proved to be a hot bed of musical talent. Many of its artists have progressed to achieve international fame and fortune.