Scotland’s Greatest Album

The Seventies

A very quick list I think to finish off this game which I am now playing on my own.  Which is no fun at all.  Have you all downloaded the STV version of  Scotland’s Greatest Album?  Me neither.  But I do hope a few of these have made it on to your must have list.  The free stuff on Youtube and elsewhere is great but if we want a strong and vibrant music industry then we need to pay for it.  Bands and artists give us their talented wares and deserve to make a living from it.  Please do buy the tracks and albums.

The biggest contention I have with the STV’s erstwhile expert panel is how homogenous they made the Scottish music scene seem, particularly in the 70s.  Undoubtedly it was the era of prog rock, glam rock and soft rock but there was other stuff going on too.  That aside, quite a few of their choices I concur with.   So we’ll get them over with first…

1.  Gerry Rafferty Baker Street

One of the outstanding tracks of the decade, with a sax solo to die for but it makes it into my top 15 purely on the basis of the saxophonist’s name.  Take a bow, Raphael Ravenscroft.

2.  the Rezillos – Top of the Pops

I think seeing this on the actual Top of the Pops made me realise that a) girls could be in bands too and b) Scotland had a music scene worth finding out about.  It marked the parting of the ways from the parents’ musical apron strings.  And is a damn fine choon to boot.

3.  the Skids – Working for the Yankee Dollar

Into the Valley is a top class song but lyrically, musically this is better.  In my opinion.

4.  Sensational Alex Harvey Band – Boston Tea Party

Agree the band for sheer weirdness and creativity should be included but this track shades it for me over Next.  Though maybe Impossible Dream?  Hmm.

5.  Bay City Rollers – Bye Bye Baby

God they were awful.  But they were global, and they were ours.  And for a time, they made tartan fashionable – every girl and boy wore scarves round their necks and wrists and everyone wanted tartan trimmed “bags”.  This is just a great pop song with daft nonsense lyrics and harmonies.

6.  Average White Band – Pick up the Pieces

White pasty Scottish boys do funk.  And they did it so well, few could believe they actually were Scottish.  This clip is them on their 40th anniversary tour still strutting their stuff.  Good call STV.

7.  Talking Heads – Psycho Killer

How the panel managed to overlook the creative genius that is David Byrne – born in Dumbarton, still proud of his Scottish roots – not only in the 70s but also in the 80s and 90s is beyond me. But then I’m not an expert so what do I know?

8.  Sweet – Ballroom Blitz

Scotland’s foremost proponents of Glam Rock.  This band were huge in the 70s – my teenage aunts and uncles loved them and I spent hours hanging on the fringes of their glamour listening to this, and other Glam Rock singles, over and over.  This is just a fabulous song.

9.  Stone the Crows – Fool on the Hill

Never mind Nazareth or Marmalade or any other younger pretenders, this was Scotland’s outstanding rock-blues band with its outstanding singer, Maggie Bell.  Yet another of Scotland’s largely unappreciated talents.  Still on the circuit, still belting out rock and blues, and yes it is she who sings No Mean City, the Taggart theme tune.

10.  the Corries – Flower of Scotland

It is Scotland’s unofficial anthem, written by the country’s most successful and abiding folk duo.  And when you hear them sing it the way it was meant to be sung, well it is truly great.  We should be teaching all the weans at school to sing it like this, properly.

11.  Doll by Doll – Gypsy Blood

Fronted by the great Jackie Leven, who sadly passed away this week, this album has only recently been reclaimed as one of rock’s masterpieces.  Quite right too. And hard to believe with a sound this fresh, that it hails from the 70s.

12.  Slik – Forever and Ever

Introducing one Midge Ure, who went on to better and bigger things with Ultravox, and then got lost in amongst all the Band Aid/Live Aid stuff.  But this is just such a good example of the 70s schmaltzy pop song.  Epitomises all that was great about the decade, and all that was woeful.

13.  Dire Straits – Sultans of Swing

They might talk, walk and act like Geordies but these boys were born in Scotland.  So STV you claim Rod Stewart as an honorary Scot, I’ll claim the real thing.  Their Brothers in Arms album was on constant play in our house growing up – thanks dad.  But this, their first single I think, is still their greatest.

14.  Matt McGinn – the Ibrox Disaster

A legend, no less.  One of our nation’s greatest political and contemporary lyricists and folk artists, who also managed to fashion wonderful children’s songs too.  This is quite a beautiful tribute to a terrible tragedy.

15.  Al Stewart – Year of the Cat

Yet another Scot whisked away from his birthplace in his early years, Al Stewart played at the very first Glastonbury and this album is considered his masterpiece.  Not to my taste but that’s not the point of this gig – it is undoubtedly a great song of its time.

The Eighties

Guess what?  I didn’t agree with all of STV’s choices for the 80s but I did manage to agree with some of them.  Of the three that made it on to Scotland’s Greatest Album, I possibly, might have chosen the Proclaimers Sunshine on Leith but having tussled with myself, I have eventually decided naw.

Bella Caledonia appears to have forgotten that we are still playing this game….

So in no particular order, my greatest Scottish choons of the 80s:

1.  The Associates – Party Fears Two

I can recall it clear as day.  Tuning into that week’s Top of the Pops and being blown away by this one.  The song, the style, the vocals, the trench coat!!  The album, Sulk, became such a favourite it got worn out several times.  Awesome.

2.  Jesus and the Mary Chain – April Skies

STV went for Just like Honey, but this for me is the defining JATMC track.  Or at least I think it is.  I still play Darklands, the album, a lot.  And Jesus and the Mary Chain deserve entry in a greatest album slot simply for being part of that weel-worn Scottish tradition of “Wha’s like us?  Damn few.”

3.  the Waterboys – Whole of the Moon

Please note, STV, that this fantastic song, which you were right to include, is now in its correct decade.

4.  Orange Juice – Rip it up

This song I think proved that Scotland was the epicentre of all that was innovative, left-field, talented and sophisticated in the UK music scene in the 1980s.  God we were good.

5. Big Country – The Storming

This in my view, is a much better – greater – song than Fields of Fire.  Just too obvious STV.  The burd first discovered Big Country from the third row of Wembley Arena, at one of the Jam’s farewell gigs.  *Anyone from Scotland?* asked Stuart Adamson.  *Yay* we shouted back, all two of us, the only two standing on our seats jumping aboot like dafties, oblivious to the distaste on the faces of the nonchalant Londoners all around us.

6.  Siouxsie and the Banshees – Spellbound

Of course she wasn’t Scottish, but John McGeoch, the late guitarist in the Banshees, who did so much to define a modern strumming sound and inspire luminaries like Johnny Marr, was.  If STV can bend the rules, so can the burd.

7.  Love and Money – Candybar Express

One of those songs that says so much about what was going on in Scotland in the 80s and Love and Money were also amongst the best proponents of the white soul movement that sprung up in Scotland during this decade.  The bittersweet arrangement, vocals and lyrics epitomise the drugs culture, and managed to shock some.  Imagine.

8. Scars – All about You

Now listen carefully, pop pickers.  Then do yourself a favour and go find the album Author, Author.  Can’t believe it was written and recorded in 1981?  No neither can I.

9.  River Detectives – Chains

A band that should’ve been bigger than they were, still one of my favourite 80s albums.  And this track spoke volumes to a wee lassie from a rural community with dreams of escaping to the big beyond.

10.  the Proclaimers – Letter from America

After the aforesaid tussle, their first hit won out.  Because it spoke for Scotland and our collective anger at the imprint of Thatcherism.  And it marked a defining moment in Scottish musical culture, in that it was okay to sing in your native accent.  Just look at all the bands who do so now.

11. Goodbye Mr MacKenzie – the Rattler

I will confess to having had a great big obsession with this band in the late 80s.   Still love them.  Still play this album lots.  Fabulous song (though Goodwill City is my favourite)

12.  Runrig – An Ubhal as Airde

The only track sung in Gaelic ever to make it into the top twenty and for that reason alone, it’s a greatest song.  By the late 80s, this band was huge, at home and abroad, and it seems like everyone went to that open air gig at Loch Lomond in 1991.  Frankly, Pete Wishart would never forgive me if I didn’t include them.

13.  Simple Minds – Love Song

Dragged into Woolworths by a chum to hear this amazing new Scottish band, one listen to Glittering Prize and we all bought a copy of the single.  Great, but not the greatest.  But which?  Well, as it’s my list, it’s my greatest.  It was nearly the American.  The 12″ version no less, which I still have.  But it has to be Love Song.

14.  Aztec Camera – Somewhere in my Heart

STV plumped for Oblivious, but this is the choon.  Not least for the killer lines “a baby being born to the overkill” and “A vision of love wearing boxing gloves and singing hearts and flowers”.  And all from a boy from East Kilbride barely old enough to shave.

15.  the Fire Engines  – Get up and use Me

This is one of the greatest Scottish tracks from the 80s because it was recorded in 1980.  And you only have to listen to it, to realise how much the Fire Engines would go on to influence everything that came afterwards.  Seminal, I think the word is.

The Nineties

We don’t care that the competition is officially closed.  There are wrongs to be righted and Mike at Bella Caledonia and I are the folk up to the challenge.  So this week, the nineties.  I said on a recent Flutter that most of the 90s choices were dross.  That was possibly too harsh – some of them were.  Expect bands to be included in my 90s greatest album that weren’t even mentioned by the panel, not even in passing.

Also, do not expect any covers, or re-releases to feature.  The issue of domicile/birth is a more difficult one and I hope to have a little fun with that when we get to the finish…

Let’s start with the easy ones first, where I agree (nearly) with the STV panel

1.  Primal Scream – Come Together

There were two seminal Scottish albums of the 90s;  Screamdelica was one of them and frankly, each and every track could have featured on here.  There are others I like better but this album is about the greatest tracks and artists, and Come Together fits that criteria.  Mind blowing.

2.  Teenage Fanclub – Is this music?

Well they got the band right but they managed to ignore the most important album the Fannies produced in the 90s.  All the others are great, and I love Everything Flows, in fact there are other Fannies choons I like better than the one I’ve picked.

But this album isn’t about favourites, or best known, or highest charting, it’s about the greatest tracks of the decade and indeed, ever.  So it’s this one.

3.  The KLF – Justified and Ancient

Yes, the band deserve to be in there but it’s this track or it’s nothing.  It’s a fabulous dance track that did much to influence the direction of dance music (as did all of KLF’s work to be fair).  But it’s a great song because of Tammy.

4.  Belle and Sebastian – If you’re feeling sinister

Right band, wrong album.  This is the one that received all the critical claim, even making it into a list of 100 albums to listen to before you die.  Which is possibly taking it a bit far.  The title track is the one that makes it.

5.  Capercailie – Coisch A Ruin

Yes, harmony with STV for the first and only time…

6.  Alistair Hulett – He Fades Away

Scotland is the modern standard bearer of the political protest song.  Seriously, Billy Bragg aside, what other country has kept this tradition alive and so vibrant?  Ali Hulett was always one of its unsung heroes but this track shows he was capable of making quite beautiful songs.  The lyrics are heart-breaking and it has to be one of our greatest political love songs ever.

7.  the Vaselines – Son of a Gun

I simply cannot believe the STV panel ignored the Vaselines.  In typically Scottish fashion, more famous for the songs they have allowed others to cover.  That, in my humble opinion, defines them as greatest, important, seminal.  And this is just such a great bouncy pop song.

8.  Bis – Kandy Pop

This is one of those of the moment/decade songs.  Has it stood the test of time?  No.  Can you hear echoes of the Bis throw-the-kitchen-sink at it approach to making music in today’s Scottish bands?  For sure.

9.  Annie Lennox – Little Bird

This album entered the charts at number 1 and sold over 1.5 million copies in the UK alone.  It regularly featured in “essential listening of the decade” type of lists.  And it absolutely affirmed Annie Lennox as a towering songwriting talent – just as brilliant without Dave Stewart, as with.  She enjoyed huge commercial success with this and subsequent albums – on the global stage.  And all from a wee girl fae Aberdeen.  I can appreciate her greatness, even if the STV panel cannot.

10.  Del Amitri – Kiss this thing goodbye

Aside from the fact that I’ve always had a thing for Justin and his sideboards (as they are called in this eyrie), this is just such a great pop song.  With a great line in “all those times our lips were kissing, our tongues were telling lies”.  And showed another side to the Scottish scene.

11.  BMX Bandits – Disco Girl

We were very good at twee in the 90s.  Twee, but with some killer guitar riffs, and great lyrics that hinted at something darker.  Only BMX Bandits could make a paeon to youthful love sound so aggressive.

12.  The Delgados – Pull the Wires from the Wall

Creepy.  Different.   Dark.  Great.

13.  the Pearl Fishers – Even on a Sunday afternoon

Davy Scott is one of those unsung heroes of the Scottish music scene.  Trying to do something slightly off-piste, haemorraghing band members in the process, he stuck with the jazz and Beach Boys’ influences, producing one of the great albums of the 90s.  So there, STV.

14.  Kevin McDermott Orchestra – Everything is Over

This is about as noisy as the 90s got.  Great voice, great lyrics, great swoon of sound.

15.  Wet Wet Wet – Goodnight Girl

Were they a great band?  Probably not.  Would I rush out to buy them?  Definitely not.  Not even when they were at the height of their powers. But hear me out.  They were huge in the 90s.  This is a beautifully crafted love song, perfectly executed, even if I don’t happen to like it much.  And whatever else we think, Marti – a wee skinny runt from Clydebank – had a great voice, capable of wonderful soul moments.

The Wets took a song to number 1 and kept it there for 15 weeks.  It was unprecedented at the time.  They deserve to be in my list as much as Deacon Blue deserved to be in STV’s.

– – – – – – – –

You will have noticed, if you follow the Flutter on Friday, that I reckon that STV is a bit wide of the mark with some of its choices through the decades for Scotland’s Greatest Album, especially as it continually moves the goalposts on criteria.

This week, the supposed expert panel included Eddi Reader’s Ae Fond Kiss.  The bright sparks among you will have noted that the song isn’t one of her own, but happens to be the work of one Robert Burns, who wrote it in the 18th Century.  Now I love Eddi’s interpretation of Burns’ songs:  they are wonderful.  But I do not think re-interpreting centuries-old choons should qualify you for inclusion in the race to be part of our greatest album ever.

So Mike at Bella Caledonia challenged me, and it was a challenge I couldn’t really resist.  I post my top 15 tracks of each decade and he’ll post his.  And hopefully, some of you will chip in through our respective comment threads with your choices too.   Though I doubt you’ll find anything to disagree with in this little lot…

The noughties

(listed 1 – 15 but really in no particular order)

1.  Franz Ferdinand – Do you want to

An easy first hit.  I agree with their inclusion in STV’s list, but would change the song.  By a smidgeon, I think this is better than their other hits, not least because it is slightly rawer.  Always a good thing in the burdz book.

2.  Idlewild – A Ghost in the Arcade

This band didn’t even rate a mention on Tuesday evening’s show.  Pah.  Anthemic, lyrical, energetic.  A must in my book.

3.  Boards of Canada – Dayvan Cowboy

One of my complaints about the STV choices is the sameyness.  They give the impression that Scotland is a land of teuchter-ish softy indie rock in a range of guises.  Which it is, but there is so much more, like this band, whom you’ve probably never heard of.  Obscure, largely instrumental, very experimental electronica.  Fab.

4.  Sons & Daughters – Gilt Complex

A travesty that this band didn’t make it in.  Especially when my chicklet loves them.  This track is still capable of generating a little moshing when played at full volume in oor hoose.

5.  Camera Obscura – If looks could kill

Right band, wrong song choice STV (IMHO).  But which?  So many, so hard to pick.  If I was allowing covers, their rather splendid interpretation of I love my Jean might have made it, and there isn’t a weak track on their 2009 album My Maudlin Career frankly.  But no, this earlier track is the one, not least for the killer drum intro.

6.  King Creosote – I’ll fly by the seat of my pants

Surely the point of collating the nation’s greatest albums is to acknowledge the groundbreakers, the kingmakers and the unsung heroes?  The ones from whom a hundred other careers and imitations follow?  Yep, I think so too.  Which is why omitting King Creosote verges on the criminal.  And this track makes it because it epitomises my approach to life.  Oh, and it’s beautiful.

7.  Glasvegas – Daddy’s Gone

And some bands have to be included because they capture a moment.  This band did;  shame they believed the hype.  This song is so powerful, so resonant of the broken times we live in, it makes for a tragic anthem for thousands of bereft, confused but defiant children.  Well done STV for including it (though the original is much better than the smoothed out, more anodyne album version).

8.  Mylo – Muscle Car

He might be one of the world’s top DJs with an international string of dance hits, but that appears to matter nought to the STV panel.  Now if this had been a contest to find Scotland’s greatest songs or songsmiths, then of course he wouldn’t make it.  But garage, hip hop, trip hop, trance and all the versions in between are huge and here’s this wee boy fae Skye making millions out of it.  I dare you not to end up tapping your toes to this one.

9.  the Fratellis – Whistle for the Choir

Another band whose inclusion I agree with.  But I wouldn’t have had Chelsea Dagger.  If it was about favourite choons, I’d pick Henrietta.  But I think Joan McAlpine MSP called it right – this song is just so Glasgow and says so much about Glasgwegians and Scots.  Lovely.

10.  the Beta Band – Assessment

In true Scottish fashion, we did not love them enough.  Typically ours, yet universal enough to spawn a spate of soundylikes.  The ultimate compliment.

11.  Mogwai – the Sun smells too Loud

Another overlooked electronica type band, though they are also capable of making noise and lots of it.  And they are much more loved elsewhere than home, with a huge international following, yet little more than sniffy acknowledgement on these shores.   For getting up the noses of the Scottish rock cognoscenti, they’re in.

12.  Arab Strap – Loch Leven

Did they make it into the 90s?  No.  So surely they should make it into the noughties?  Apparently not.  Inventive, disturbing, resonant, poetic, seminal.  No?  “This was the first Arab Strap album that I ever listened to. For me it was the first record that I realized it was OK to sing in your own accent. Aidan [Moffat] is one of the best lyricists of the past two decades!”  Not my words but those of Twilight Sad vocalist, James Graham.

13.  Biffy Clyro – Mountains

The Burd and STV in perfect harmony.  Every compilation requires a rock number and this fits the bill superbly, though the acoustic version of Mountains is even better, if you can track it down.  It’s taken them a while, and far too many festival performances without shirts, but at last the Biffy boys have made it big.  And well deserved it is too.

14.  Dogs die in hot cars – Something for the Good Boys

Sometimes there are stars that burn ever so brightly, then implode under the weight of apathy of the music business.  This is one such band.  Coulda, shoulda been contenders, though still round and about with solo careers.   But should they make it into our nation’s greatest album?  What, you’d rather have Snowpatrol?

15.  Eegads…. the Delgados/Cosmic Rough Riders/KT Tunstall… Primal Scream also had a radge of blistering hits in the late noughties… one space left, so many bands to fill it.  But the burdz heart lies with noisy wee upstart guitar bands.  So mebbes the lairy Dundonians, the View?  Mebbes naw.

Nope, the final place on my noughties greatest album goes to We Were Promised Jetpacks.  Straddling the decades, destined for great things, these bairns gave me my favourite choon of 2009, as well as one of my favourite band names.  Top class.  Shame the STV panel appears never to have heard of them.

We were promised Jetpacks – Quiet little Voices

And that’s it for the noughties.  Fifteen top tracks and artists, varied and diverse, making up my Scotland’s Greatest Album.

Wonder what Mike’s got?

27 thoughts on “Scotland’s Greatest Album

  1. Not bad. There are some great choices in there. However, I feel that I should point out that only Sweet’s vocalist was Scottish. The rest of the band was from all over the UK.

    I personally would add some Amy MacDonald, perhaps either “Mr Rock & Roll” or “This Is The Life”.

    A more important addition would be Jethro Tull, or any of Ian Anderson’s solo work. Anderson was initially from Dunfermline before his family moved to Blackpool when he was very young. His Scottish roots influenced a lot of the band’s late ’70s/’80s material. Although Anderson was the only Scottish member of the band, he was responsible for the band’s direction and its entire output. He was the only member of the band who was always there. And what true classic rock legend he is. I’d add such songs as “Songs From The Wood”, “Heavy Horses” or “Dun Ringill”, as you can hear the Scottish influences.

  2. The Blue Nile. A Walk Across the Roof Tops. Tinstletown in the rain.

    Very disappointed in everyone.

  3. No Cocteaus, no point in doing the list. From a Welshman.

  4. nothing to do with music,or ,really anything else but is your granny Kathy Scott,the smartest lassie I ever met. Bob Kell.

  5. No mention of Clouds – in the words of “The Scotsman” – “The Greatest Scottish Band you’ve never heard of”. Proves once again that received history is hard to change.

  6. Excellent work, Burd.

    I didn’t realise the Sweet were Scottish.

    Would Dick Gaughan’s version of the Freedom Come All Ye make it to one of your lists?

    I will forgive you for choosing Top of the Pops over Can’t Stand My Baby for the Rezillos on the grounds of your youth and role model yearnings.

    Keep up the good work.

  7. Enjoyed this but surely Joesf K should have been included as the pioneering indie band on postcard records almost as legendary as Joy Division. Also TV21 should be up there too and the band which turned into Love & Money, Friends Again too. Whilst I think of it The Wake who sounded like New Order, their lead singer formed Altered Images with Claire, left and the band also included Bobby Gillespie (Primal Scream) and Joe Donnelly (Silencers – Jim Kerr’s cousin no less).
    Making a definitive album is near impossible maybe 5 CD box set would still only scratch the surface.
    I’m forever compiling compilations and would change the line up at least 3 or 4 times before recording it, and then wished I’d changed it after completing it.

    • You’re dead on. I think for the 80s I had about 20 possible picks and found it really hard to narrow it down. A 5 CD box set would indeed only scratch the surface – my picks were much more poppy/mainstream even than Mike’s at Bella Caledonia. And I also found myself including bands and tracks that I wouldn’t necessarily listen to but warranted inclusion because of their impact on the Scottish music scene more generally.

      Variety is the spice of life and if we all agreed on music choices what a dull thing that would be!

  8. Some great choices for the 80s, Burd. Wouldn’t necessarily agree completely with some of the songs you’ve chosen to represent bands (I’d pick Monitor rather than Spellbound, although I suppose the strummy thing McGeoch used for Spellbound perhaps warrants its inclusion by argument of innovation, and I think I would JUST plump for I Travel instead of Love Song), but good choices anyway. Good on you for recognising that Letter From America is the truly definitive Proclaimers track, and aye, Somewhere In My Heart is clearly the Aztec Camera track to include.

    I’d completely forgotten about Goodbye Mr MacKenzie though. My boss at my first proper job used to play a few of their songs, and I thought they were great. I preferred the actual Goodbye Mr MacKenzie track to The Rattler, but only just.

    I wish I could “get” JAMC, but I never have. Maybe it’s because of the lack of bass. Still, I would be a fool to try to suggest they don’t deserve a place in the list. I feel like trying them again now, which is the whole point of this exercise, isn’t it?

    There is but one glaring error – how can you not include Musette & Drums by Cocteau Twins?!?! It’s the greatest song to come out of Scotland!!! At least include something by them! Persephone, Donimo, Wax & Wane, From The Flagstones, Hitherto, Because Of Whril-Jack, Rococo, Blue Bell Knoll… There’s almost too much brilliance to choose from!

    I won’t say much on the 70s, as to be perfectly honest, my knowledge of Scottish music (and music in general, really) rarely extends past 1976. But I would choose both Into The Valley and The Saints Are Coming ahead of Working For THe Yankee Dollar (still a good track, mind) and dare I say that Flower Of Scotland is actually from (at least) 1968! But hey, we’ll let that one slip as it’s the one song that should be on every Scottish music compilation.

  9. If we are going to put Siouxie & The Banshees in (for John McGeoch), then Talking Heads should be in there (for Dumbarton born David Byrne) with Once in a Lifetime. Depending on my mood either the best song ever written or the best song ever written not written by either Curtis/Hook/Morris/Sumner (or even Gilbert/Hook/Morris/Sumner) or Martin Gore.

    Hmmm, no Cocteau Twins though. Should be room for either “Sugar Hiccup”, “Lorelei” or “orange Applied”

    Awwww… “The Rattler”….

  10. You like the Associates track so much you’ve linked it twice, rather than April Skies…

  11. High-fives all round for citing the mighty BMX Bandits (“Right Across The Street” for me), but NOBODY mentioning the Jesus And Mary Chain? Not only brilliant, not only 100% Scottish, but also one of the most influential bands of ANY nationality of their generation.

  12. I haven’t got time to listen to these tracks but I will.

    I bought the Still Corners CD and it’s great.

    I feel the 80s and 90s was a dull, drab period but I’m looking forward to listening to these.

    I’ll let you know.

    • Please do! I struggled a bit with the 90s. It really was all a bit samey – though Mike came up with a very good list! over at Bella Caledonia

    • The 80s, dull? Never! 1976 – 1986 was the greatest period in the history of popular music – sadly, I doubt we’ll ever witness such a rich period of originality and creativity again. Scottish bands played a big part in that thanks to Simple Minds, Cocteau Twins and Associates to name just three, not to mention the fact that, in John McGeoch, Scotland produced the greatest and most influential guitarist of that era.

      Ahhh, the 80s, a GREAT decade!!

      (Which reminds me – I keep forgetting to put Altered Images’ debut album on my MP3 player…)

  13. Ah, the 1990’s. A fallow period dominated by bands from Lanarkshire who believed that they were the Byrds re-incarnated. The quote about Alan McGee that is most on the money is one from “This Is Uncool: The 500 Best singles Since Punk & Disco” by Gary Mulholland – “Still “Upside Down” did put Alan McGee’s Creation label on the road to infamy. Don’t know whether thats good or bad? Hmmm. I know how you feel”

    Surprised at the lack of Travis (either “Writing to Reach You” or “Driftwood”, not “Why Does It Always Rain On Me”). Not surprised at the ommission of Brit-pop bandwaggon jumpers The Supernaturals. Shocked at the ommission of TTF as well.

    I have a couple of quibbles about tracks. For the KLF is has to be “What Time Is Love?” – it still sounds like nothing else ever! For Belle and Sebastian, there’s any number of tracks you could pick. “The Boy With The Arab Strap”, “Is It Wicked Not To Care” – but for me it should be “Lazy Line Painter Jane”. For “Primal Stones” it has to be their most unstones like moment “Higher Than The Sun”. And I can’t believe you haven’t gone for “Nothing Ever Happens” – the best attempt to rewrite “That’s Entertainment”.

    I would also have put Massive Attack’s “Teardrop” in there – vocals by the wonderful Liz Frazer.

    BTW “Goodnight Girl” was only at number one for about 4 weeks – “Love Is All Around” was the one that was at Number one for nearly forever!

    • I was going to say the same thing about Goodnight Girl, but re-read it, and Kate’s just justifying Wet Wet Wet’s inclusion; she’s not actually saying that Goodnight Girl was the song that was at number 1 for 15 weeks!

      Glad to see I’m not the only one who thinks that about the 90s though!

  14. In regards to Idlewild, I would probably have included them in the 90s, with Little Discourage, which is a great song to play on guitar as well as to listen to. However, if you’re going to include them in the 00s, then surely A Modern Way Of Letting Go is their top track? It’s an absolute TUNE.

    (Of course, the greatest song of the 00s was Sound The Last Post by my defunct band, Stroszek. Shame we were so rubbish at self-promotion and our singer went a bit loopy…)

    Apart from that, when it comes to the 90s, as I just said on Bella’s post, I just find the 90s to be the weakest era for Scottish music. The brilliant bands of the 80s were generally defunct or past it (with the exception of Heaven Or Las Vegas and a couple of songs from Milk & Kisses, Cocteau Twins’ 90s output is fairly forgettable, and I just can’t listen to anything by Simple Minds post-New Gold Dream), and I just couldn’t get into the new ones. I’ve tried to enjoy stuff like Belle & Sebastian and Teenage Fan Club, but B&S just seem a bit too pedestrian for me, and TFC suffer from the same problem as all bands that are too in thrall to Nirvana (the most over-hyped band since the Beatles). I’ve tried re-listening to these bands that I dismissed first time round, but quite frankly, I just can’t get excited about any of them – certainly none of their songs jump out and grab me in the way Musette & Drums by Cocteau Twins did when I first heard it, or make me think “is this the same band?!?!” like I did the first time I heard I Travel by Simple Minds.

    Then again, I think my music taste just doesn’t fit in with most people were doing in the 90s (except the Manics’s first three albums and American rock/metal), which is weird considering it was the era I “came of age”.

    • Oh, and The Vaselines, in the 90s? Really? I think you’ll find the Son Of A Gun EP was from 1987…

      AND, if we consider some of the tenuous links STV allowed for “Scottish” bands, then surely the greatest guitarist Scotland has ever produced – John McGeoch – should be in amongst it, having been a part of two of the greatest bands of the post-punk era, Magazine and Siouxsie & The Banshees? I suppose we’ll see if you agree in your 80s list – I’m not sure any of his 90s output with Public Image Ltd could really be classed as good enough to be on a “greatest” album.

      • The name of John McGeoch is not the only name missed from the list. There’s Dumbarton born David Byrne, who music fans know as the front-man of Talking Heads. Thats music fans… except from the panel on this programme

        Then again, one of the panelists thought that Franz Ferdinand had a fresh sound… I didn’t see Pat Nevin’s look for wanting to throw things at the television.

        Oh and having put The Rezillos into the list for the 70’s, couldn’t they find a wee bit of room for Jo Callis next band. The panelists might not have heard of The Human League (Mark 2 mind but still…)

  15. See… I’d have gone for either “Little Discourage” or “Scottish Fiction” from Idlewild, and I prefer “In My Arms” to “Musclecar”.

    Also if i was to have Franz Ferdinand in (and technicaly they shouldn’t be there, two Englishmen, a Yorkshireman from Greek diaspra and a sole Scotsman) – I would actually go for Michael.

    At least you’ve left out Snow Patrol & the Primal Stones…

    Just don’t get me started on the 80’s…

  16. PS – with you on Dogs Die. St Andrews has done well in the music scene laltely

  17. I’d have to make the case for Michael Marra’s 2002 “Posted Sober” album. “Frida Kahlo’s Visit to the Taybridge Bar” is an inspired and beautiful slice of eccentricity. He doesn’t do accessibility always, but he certainly does talent and originality.

    Marra’s son and daughter are half of a rather good band called the Hazey Janes. Big guitars, harmonies,a hint of Teenage Fanclub, and a lot of good musicianship..

    I’m amazed that the whole Fence Collective scene was overlooked beyond its most mainstream graduate, Ms Tunstall. Kenny “King Creosote” Anderson and friends are a great counterweight to the vacuous accountancy-driven side of popular music.

    Also, I like Aberfeldy’s “Heliopolis by Night” a lot, but perhaps that’s just me. I last saw them at the Big Tent in Falkland last year, where they got to support Roseanne Cash. A clever, witty band.

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