The List celebrates 750 issues

Issue 750 – We've got it covered

To mark our 750th issue, Robin Hodge has trawled through the archives and selected a few of our more memorable cover stars

Ever since it first launched back in 1985, The List has tried to discover and celebrate outstanding creative talent from Scotland and beyond. Over the years, we like to think we've helped to launch the careers of a host of singers, performers, writers, filmmakers and others who have shaped contemporary culture. Here, Robin Hodge selects some of our more memorable cover stars.

The List: 18 Oct 1985 Billy Connolly
1985 | Issue 2

The comedian tells us: 'I tend to sound a bit belligerent sometimes but I really feel very strongly about my humour and my Scottishness.' (Interview by Nigel Billen)

The List: 24 Jan 1986 Liz Lochhead
1986 | Issue 8

The Glasgow-born poet explains how she writes: 'I can't control poems. I'd hate to think they would stop coming but I can't write them to order.' Some of her poetry just arrives: 'It has to be said and all I have to do is write it down. I suppose the unconscious has already cooked it pretty thoroughly.' (Interview by Nigel Billen)

The List: 28 Nov 1986 Annie Lennox
1986 | Issue 30

She tells us: 'Success to me is what I feel when I've written a song I like and which the audience likes to the extent of buying the record and coming to our [Eurythmics] concerts. Money … fame … these things are around you, but you have to keep doing what you want. Never fall into the obvious traps.' (Interview by Pierre Perrone)

The List: 20 Feb 1987 Robbie Coltrane
1987 | Issue 35

Like Coltrane himself, Danny McGlone (his character in the cult series) is supposed to have gone to Glasgow School of Art where he meets Suzi Kettles (Emma Thompson). 'I actually found my initials carved in the wall in a scene where she was supposed to find hers. Quite extraordinary.' (Interview by Stephanie Billen)

The List: 18 Sep 1987 Sean Connery
1987 | Issue 50

As his latest film, The Untouchables, is released, we say: 'It seems to have belatedly prodded many critics into the realisation that Sean Connery is one of the finest screen actors around … See the film and you'll witness a master craftsman at work … A top performance in one of the year's finest.' (Written by Allan Hunter)

The List: 30 Oct 1987 The Proclaimers
1987 | Issue 53

The Reid brothers talk influences: 'They are overwhelmingly American. But we are Scottish, y'know. So we're not trying to be American. But we're not trying to kid ourselves that we don't have American influences. They come out our way because we do it the way that suits us, in our own accents, 'cause that's how we feel comfortable.' (Interview by Alastair Mabbott)

The List: 18 Mar 1988 John Byrne
1988 | Issue 62

The writer and painter is just completing a BBC programme looking back over his life which will try to explain how the man we describe as a 'six- foot-tall talent' 'came to write plays and paint pictures and found fame and – if there's any justice in the weary world – fortune through his God-given gift to make us laugh and cry.' (Written by Alan Taylor)

The List: 15 Apr 1988 Mahabharata and Peter Brook
1988 | Issue 64

The director discusses the nine-hour stage epic that launched the Tramway: 'It works on so many levels, of which entertainment is one. It's an exciting entertainment, but it deals with all manner of human, social, important questions … The reason it has existed for 3000 years … is that it's inexhaustible.' (Interview by Sarah Hemming)

The List: 12 Aug 1988 Michael Clark
1988 | Issue 73

The dancer-turned-choreographer tells us: 'People have asked me why I work with the same people all the time. It's one of those things which evolves gradually. You can't put people together and expect miracles immediately.' (Interview by Alice Bain)

The List: 29 Sep 1989 Björk
1989 | Issue 105

We grab an interview with Sugarcubes-era Bjork. 'We just wanted to play in Iceland … And then we got all these offers from big record companies, and we just said no … If we had to leave Iceland, we wanted to go to Japan or Honolulu or somewhere, because we thought that Iceland was just the most brilliant place on Earth.' (Interview by Alastair Mabbott)

The List: 15 Jan 1993 Peter Capaldi
1993 | Issue 192

'I think you start to erode your own respect for the work that you've done if you start compromising all over the place,' the future star of The Thick of It tells us, long before he regenerated as Dr Who. (Interview by Alan Morrison)

The List: 12 Feb 1993 Ewan McGregor
1993 | Issue 194

The List is the first magazine to put McGregror on the cover. We profile the 21-year-old actor and tip him for stardom, to which he replies: 'Well maybe, either that or I'll never work again.' He has gone on to feature on a further six covers so far (in 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2002 and 2011). (Interview by Tom Lappin)

The List: 21 May 1993 Cora Bissett and Darlingheart
1993 | Issue 201

We say: 'Darlingheart are a sheer triumph and singer Cora Bissett a free-born star, oozing confidence and natural presence, and all without the bumptious swagger of all-mouth, no-content arrivistes. Darlingheart are a wow and Cora a charm.' (Written by Craig McLean)

The List: 2 Jul 1993 Peter Howson
1993 | Issue 204

We acclaim the work of the Glasgow painter saying: 'The world Howson depicts is exciting in literary as well as visual terms and Howson's technical skill – the artist draws with a kind of beefy panache and indulges in dramatic chiaroscuro with a relish probably unequalled since Caravaggio – allows him to make the most of it.' (Written by Sharon McCord)

The List: 7 Apr 1995 Jenny Saville
1995 | Issue 250

The young painter on inspiration: 'Glasgow is a unique art school in that it teaches you to have total, almost romantic belief in being a painter. Maybe it's something to do with the building and its tradition … [it] constantly reminds you that you are in a school of great painting. It celebrates big work, it likes painting that makes a splash.' (Interview by Lila Rawlings)

The List: 11 Aug 1995 Alasdair Gray
1995 | Issue 259

The author explains how ground-breaking novel Lanark emerged: 'Initially l was writing two books … I started trying to produce a Scottish version of James Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. But at the same time I was very excited by Kafka, and Glasgow and Scotland struck me as having a lot in common with The Trial and The Castle.' (Interview by Andrew Burnet)

The List: 9 Feb 1996 Trainspotting
1996 | Issue 272

Ewen Bremner (Spud in the film) recalls his response to the novel: 'I was excited by it and scared of it because it's such dangerous material. Irvine Welsh sets up really exciting situations. The possibilities for what can happen in a scene are so outrageous but at the same time it's really close to home.' (Interview by Fiona Shepherd)

The List: 31 May 1996 Irvine Welsh
1996 | Issue 280

As new novel Ecstasy is launched, the writer reflects on his first book: 'Trainspotting has come a long way from being a book about Leith in the 1980s. lt's a worldwide phenomenon now. It's going to be appropriated by people that have nothing to do with it. That's life. All I can take responsibility for is what is written between the covers.' (Interview by Fiona Shepherd)

The List: 10 Jan 1997 Kelly Macdonald
1997 | Issue 296

The 20-year-old emerging star tells us that, as an 'untrained' actress, she is ambivalent about her precocious talent. 'I find it quite difficult because if I'd gone to drama college I'd have a piece of paper that told people I was an actress. But if you've just fallen into it, then … ' She shrugs. 'I don't know if I'll still be doing all this in five years' time.' (Interview by Ann Donald)

The List: 21 Feb 1997 Sharleen Spiteri
1997 | Issue 299

The Texas singer explains the inspiration the band draw from soul music: 'To us, it's the innocence of soul music which is the songwriting base, and vocal-wise it's got that virginal, really personal sort of feel and that's sexy.' (Interview by Jonathon Trew)

The List: 30 Apr 1998 Shirley Manson
1998 | Issue 331

The former Goodbye Mr Mackenzie singer hit the big-time with her new band: 'Garbage were looked on as a joke at first. But how the laughter stopped when hit single followed hit single – the eponymous debut album spawned five of the blighters and the band went out and proceeded to tear it up live as well.' (Interview by Alastair Mabbott)

The List: 1 Apr 1999 Peter Mullan
1999 | Issue 356

The actor-turned-director explains his plans: 'European actors share a common goal: do good work and have a laugh. For me, that's where the future has got to lie in making contacts in France and Germany and Italy. Because unless we all band together, I'm afraid Hollywood is going to eat us all alive.' (Interview by Rob Fraser)

The List: 27 Mar 2003 Alan Cumming
2003 | Issue 464

Launching his first novel, the actor and author reveals the secret of his success: 'ln my office I've got covers of magazines I've been on and the first one I was ever on was The List (1987 issue 43). It's a really good picture. l owe it all to The List.' He goes on to explain his work ethic: 'Fun is quite high on my list of why I do things.' (Interview by Mark Fisher)

The List: 22 Jan 2004 Franz Ferdinand
2004 | Issue 486

Alex Kapranos tells us why they chose the Chateau [the band's Glasgow base] as their preferred venue: 'We basically wanted to do gigs that were a little bit different … Those early gigs were exciting and different. It felt that things could go wrong at any minute and that's really good fun. The environment affects whatever it is you're doing.' (Interview by Andrew Gilchrist)

The List: 2 Feb 2006 Belle & Sebastian
2006 | Issue 541

Frontman Stuart Murdoch tells us: 'The group got together and we had beginners' luck. Then it got harder. Easy. Harder. Then easy again … There's a danger in being too critical, because you'd never make anything. It's vastly more important to take the next step and make something new.' (Interview by Mark Robertson)

The List: 13 Apr 2006 Mogwai
2006 | Issue 546

We acclaim their latest album Mr Beast, saying the music 'is so transcendent and expansive. So big. beautiful and clever that it can soundtrack the effervescent skills of the world's greatest footballer as perfectly as it can the glowing yellow fluorescent streets of Glasgow. The beast has legs and it knows exactly where it's going.' (Written by Mark Robertson)

The List: 5 Oct 2006 Andrea Arnold
2006 | Issue 560

The director of Red Road tells us: 'The great French filmmaker Robert Bresson said "Build your film on stillness, whiteness and silence." I'm always quoting Bresson, he had lots of good things to say.' (Interview by Paul Dale)

The List: 19 Oct 2006 Douglas Gordan
2006 | Issue 561

Praising the artist's work '30 Second Text', we say: 'It reports the true story of an experiment in which a doctor attempted to communicate with the decapitated head of a man immediately after his execution by guillotine. It is morbid, fascinating, and if you time it right, the simple denouement transports you all the way to the guillotine.' (Written by Nick Barley)

The List: 1 Nov 2007 Ian Rankin
2007 | Issue 589

The famous crime writer takes over the editor's chair, interviewing one of his favourite bands, Saint Jude's Infirmary, hooking up with Aidan Moffat in New York where 'we found that we share a lifelong passion for comic books and graphic novels … Plus we spend a night on the town with the Edinburgh cops. Enjoy.'

The List: 2 Oct 2008 Tilda Swinton
2008 | Issue 614

Of her latest film, Julia, Swinton says: 'I like the randomness of suddenly finding yourself in a completely different film: a thriller, a gangster movie, and a film noir. Formally, it's risky but in terms of atmosphere and territory, it's really radical. It feels like the beginning of the work that I've been looking forward to doing all my life.' (Written by Miles Fielder)

The List: 26 Aug 2010 David Shrigley
2010 | Issue 665

The Glasgow-based artist tells us: 'I suppose the voice I speak with in my work is someone who doesn't have a sound grasp on all the realities of life. It's someone who thinks all the really unimportant things are massively important and equally, pays no attention to massively important things.' (Interview by Claire Sawers)

The List: 2 Apr 2015 Young Fathers
2015 | Issue 733

The award-winning band tell us about their latest album White Men are Black Men Too: 'The main ethos behind the album was to simplify: less is more, minimal is maximal … It's in the pop format, it's driven and to the point. You try to say as much as you can in four lines and that's a challenge in itself.' (Interview by Henry Northmore)

The List was launched in October 1985 by Robin Hodge (publisher) and Nigel Billen & Sarah Hemming (editors).

Every issue of The List is available online at archive.list.co.uk

Keep up to date with the next generation of emerging talent by subscribing to The List at shop.list.co.uk/subscription

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