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A Video History of Scottish Rock Music

Updated on June 18, 2010


This is going to be fun, and may take me the rest of my life! I intend to keep adding videos and bios to this as I think of them and as I have time, which means the piece will get very long and you, the reader, will get very bored. Unless you're as obsessed by the history of Scottish music as this aging Scottish punk is. So, turn it up to 11 (using your Bose noise-cancelling headphones, obviously) kick back and enjoy.....

When you think of Scotland, you probably think of placid lochs, misty glens and bloody great mountains. If you think of Scottish music, you probably think bagpipes or fiddle-wielding ceilidh bands doing heedrum hodrum. But you may not know that the majority of Scotland's population lives in two great big cities and a handful of wee ones, and that this is why Scotland has a rock music history as rich as New York or Liverpool or Seattle. Or Akron, Ohio, come to that. So, welcome to my non-exhaustive guide - feel free to comment about any glaring omissions.

Vambo rule

Let's begin with the granddaddy of them all, the Sensational Alex Harvey. Alex would have been 75 this year if he hadn't fallen off the perch in 1982. A working-class Glasgow boy, he grew up in the era of skiffle and Dixie jazz. Influenced by the West of Scotland working class love of literature and theatre, he decided to become a musician instead of working on the ships. In 1959, he formed Alex Harvey's Soul Band but after 7 years of hard slog and little success he ran off to join the theatre, playing in the pit band for the controversial musical Hair. The thetare would never quite leave his music after that, and a love of Bertolt Brecht began to show through. In 1972, he formed the Sensational Alex Harvey Band with an unlikely bunch of Prog Rockers - this was to be a meeting of minds as he and guitarist Zal Cleminson camped it up to the point that they became associated with the Glam Rock phenomenon of the time, a movement they had nothing in common with. After several seminal albums, including Framed and the great SAHB Stories, he left in 1976 to pursue the inevitable solo career. He died in 1982, robbing Scotland of truly original, maverick great.

Top songs: Delilah, Next, Framed, Vambo Marble Eye, Boston Tea Party.

Alex Harvey's astonishing version of Delilah

Jesus and Mary Chain - April Skies

The Skids - Into The Valley

Goodbye Mr Mackenzie - The Rattler

The Rezillos - Top Of The Pops

The Associates - Party Fears Two

The Proclaimers

More music by Amazon

Billy McKenzie


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