Top of the Scots – Scottish Pop Music for Weddings and Events
It’s Burns Night and that got us thinking about some of the fantastic Scottish music we play at Weddings and Events in Dumfries & Galloway. Now, we’re not talking about Ceilidh music here, we are talking about some of the fantastic Scottish Pop and Rock bands that are an essential part of our playlists.
In this blog, we’ll take a look back over the decades at some of the top Scottish bands that we love to play. We’re keen to find out more about where they came from, what inspired them and why they became so successful. We’ll then share with you some of our favourite tracks in our Top of the Scots Spotify playlist.
1970’s: Hey, hey, rockin’ to the music!
The Bay City Rollers
That’s right, we can’t talk about Scottish bands without kicking off with the classic Bay City Rollers. Formed in Edinburgh, the band started off life as the Ambassadors, then the Saxons and finally settling on the Rollers. The band weren’t completely happy with the name however, as they wanted it to sound more American. To find the American piece of the puzzle, drummer Derek Longmuir threw a dart at a map of the USA. The first dart landed on Arkansas, which the band didn’t like. The second dart landed on Bay City, Michigan. The Bay City Rollers were born!
Their 1974 debut single “Remember” reached number 6 in the UK charts. But it was their next single “Shang-a-Lang” that would reach number 2 and become the classic Wedding and Party song that we all love today.
1980’s: You’re a real gone kid
The 80s was an amazing decade for music, not just in Scotland, but around the globe, so it’s tough to pick a top band. We had the likes of Simple Minds, Del Amitri, Annie Lenox, Altered Images and The Proclaimers, but the Scottish band that always goes down well at Weddings and Events has to be Deacon Blue.
Deacon Blue formed in Glasgow in 1985 when former school teacher Ricky Ross moved to the city from Dundee. They released their first album, Raintown, in 1987 which included one of our favourite singles, Dignity – the perfect singalong song for later on in the evening!
Their second album, When the World Knows Your Name, became the band’s most successful album. It reached number 1 in the UK album charts. Released in 1988, it included some of the more upbeat party songs we like to play, including Real Gone Kid and Fergus Sings the Blues.
Since then, frontman Ricky Ross married vocalist Lorraine McIntosh in 1990 before the band decided to split in 1994. That certainly wasn’t the end though. The band reunited in 1999 and continue to release new music to this day.
1990’s: Yeah, you can say what you want
For the 90s, we were torn between Texas and Primal Scream – both excellent, but very different bands. Technically both bands were formed in the 80s. However, they experienced much of their success in the 90s so we are putting them in the 90s category.
Texas was founded by Johnny McElhone (formerly of Altered Images) in Glasgow in 1986 and released their debut single, I Don’t Want a Lover, in 1989. It peaked at number 8 in the UK charts. It wasn’t until 1997 that the band reached their highest point on the chart. Say What You Want reached number 3 thanks to a little endorsement from, then Radio 1 DJ, Chris Evans.
The band went on hiatus in the mid-2000s with lead signer Sharleen Spiteri embarking on a solo career and bandmember Ally McErlaine suffering illness. But they got back together and went on tour in 2011. The band recently released the single, Hi, in December 2020 and have an album and tour on the way.
Primal Scream were also formed in Glasgow, but a little earlier in 1982. Their original indie rock sound morphed into a completely new and unique sound that brought together rock and dance music brilliantly. This was first heard on their track, Loaded, with DJ Andrew Weatherall. It became the band’s first hit reaching number 16 in the UK charts in 1990. They went on to release Movin’ on Up in 1992 and Rocks in 1994. Both of which have become arguably their most popular songs of all time.
2000’s: I got food in my belly and a license for my telly
When we think of Scottish music in the 2000s, two names come to mind – Paolo Nutini and Amy MacDonald. They actually share a lot in common, both fantastic singer-songwriters, both born in 1987, and both from the Greater Glasgow area.
Paolo Nutini was discovered after performing a couple of songs on stage as part of a Clyde 1 Radio concert with David Sneddon. He went on to sign with Atlantic Records shortly after his 18th birthday. He released his debut single, These Streets, as a free download in May 2006. This was followed by his next single, Last Request, released a couple of months later. Last Request was Paolo’s biggest hit, reaching number 5 in the UK charts. However, he has so many awesome tracks that are perfect for Weddings and Events. Whether it’s New Shoes for during dinner or Pencil Full of Lead to get your guests up dancing, we always love a bit of Paolo Nutini!
When it comes to Amy MacDonald, for us anyway, it’s all about Mr Rock and Roll. It was part of her number 1 debut album, This is the Life, in 2007. The album was popular across Europe with the title track single reaching number 1 in Austria, Belgium, The Netherlands and Norway.
Amy MacDonald was inspired after seeing Travis perform at T in the Park in 2000 – perhaps we should have included Travis on our list! She taught herself how to play the guitar at the age of 12 and started playing in pubs and coffee houses around Glasgow at the age of 15. After sending a demo CD to a new production company, she was signed in 2007. She has since gone on to release five studio albums. Amy released her latest album in October 2020 and is scheduled to go on tour in 2021.
2010’s: We found love in a hopeless place
How can we talk about top Scottish artists without mentioning the almighty Calvin Harris! Born and raised in Dumfries, Calvin Harris has gone on to become the highest-paid DJ in the world and one of the most influential DJs of all time.
Calvin Harris started out posting solo recordings on his Myspace page and his popularity led to him being discovered and signing a record deal in 2006. His debut album, I Created Disco, was written, produced and performed entirely by himself in his home studio in Dumfries. There was lots of great tracks on that album, but our favourite was definitely Acceptable in the 80s.
From there, it was all about collaborations. He collaborated with the likes of Kylie Minogue and Dizzee Rascal before touring as the support act for Rihanna. This led to arguably his biggest hit of all time, We Found Love, in 2011. This collaboration with Rihanna reached number 1 in the UK, peaked in the top 10 in 30 countries, and broke many records worldwide. We Found Love is still a popular track today and features regularly on our Wedding and Party playlists.
Since then, Calvin Harris has gone from strength to strength with many top 10 hits, awards and world records – including the world’s highest paid DJ for six consecutive years from 2013 to 2018. Now, Calvin Harris seems to be following a slightly different route and rediscovering his early inspiration under his Love Regenerator alias.
Finally, we can’t finish this blog without mentioning the amazing Lewis Capaldi. Born in Glasgow, Lewis began singing in pubs at the age of 9 and rose to the top in 2019 when his single, Someone You Loved, topped the UK charts for seven weeks. This earned the title of the best-selling single of 2019 in the UK. He won the 2020 Brit Award for Song of the Year and for Best New Artist. We can’t wait to hear more new music from Lewis Capaldi.
Top of the Scots Playlist
So, there you have it – our list of top Scottish artists from the last five decades. There really is some fantastic music coming from Scotland! What do you think? Have we missed anyone? Well we couldn’t include everyone on this list, but we have included lots more on our Top of the Scots playlist on Spotify.
Check it out here: Top of the Scots by RK DJ Playlist on Spotify