Spotify playlist: St Andrew's Day
- Hamish Brown
- 30 November 2009
Some of the best songs by artists who are secretly Scottish
How about some Revolting Cocks, Siousxie & the Banshees and Human League? Just because it's St Andrew's Day it doesn't mean you have to subject yersel' to the barrage of yer Dougie MacLean, yer Proclaimers and yer Simple Minds to celebrate culture of Scottish origin.
Join us as we unmask the 'secret Scots' behind some of the best music ever made.
Hailing from Perth, Fiction Factory's hit was all over the radio and the UK top 10 in 1984. With a sonic pallette that is about as 80s as you can get (check that digital piano, tom tom fills, Duran slap bass before the middle 8 and Morrisey's reverb-drenched tambourine) this is the song that should have been in Donnie Darko but wasn't. Perth continues to punch above its weight in producing electronic pop sheen with Edinburgh's up and coming Xvectors and Luxury Car both hailing from there.
Believe it or not the 'Lyle' in the writing credits for this worldwide smash is the same on as the one in 'Gallagher and Lyle'. Step up Mr Graham Lyle of Belshill. That's right, the same Belshill that has spawned members of Soup Dragons, BMX Bandits, Teenage Fanclub and Mogwai. And, just in case one worldwide smash for Tina Turner wasn't enough, he also wrote 'We Don't Need Another Hero'.
John McGeoch was one of the omniprescent figures in post punk. The guitarist, from Greenock, developed a distinct minimal and effects-heavy style which went onto inspire Johnny Greenwood of Radiohead, Johnny Marr of The Smiths and John Fruscianti of The Red Hot Chili Peppers heavily. Penning this atmosphere-laden guitar riff, as well as many of the Banshees' other hits, he went on to be a key member of Magazine and was also an active member of Visage, Public Image Ltd and The Armoury Show. He died in 2004.
Midge Ure has been in more influential and successful bands than is healthy in any practising artist. As well as being the production brains behind this anthem of electro New Romantic goth pop alongside Barry Adamson, Steve Strange and John McGeoch (see above), he famously fronted Ultravox after John Foxx's exit, was in Slik, The Rich Kids, guested in Thin Lizzy (!) and also found success as a solo artist. And he co-wrote and produced 'Do They Know It's Christmas?' The secret? Something in the water in Cambuslang.
Famed for being one of the only Human League records with guitars on it, albeit guitars mangled by being routed through a synthesizer, this record sounds the way it does thanks to the contribution of Jo Callis, a son of Edinburgh College of Art. A former member of The Rezillos, Callis is also all over the Dare album too and the songs 'Don't You Want Me', 'Open Your Heart', 'Mirror Man' and '(Keep Feeling) Fascination'.
OK, you probably think we're taking the piss by this point, but hear us out. This prayer of Oz, what is to all intents and purpose the Australian national anthem, is by Men at Work, fronted by Colin Hay, Kilwinning, Ayrshire born and bred. The Grammy Awards called him and his band Best New Artist, largely down to their 30 million album sales worldwide, but, as the man who shoe horned the term 'Vegemite sandwich' into a number one hit (what else are you going to rhyme with 'language'?) we'd like to call him the Wizard of Oz.
Before Kasabian, there was Oasis, and before Oasis there was baggy, and this is officially a Baggy Anthem. As adjudicated by James Brown's drummer who originally played the 'Funky Drummer' sample. OK, we made up that last bit. Hear the bass underpinning that crazy wah wah guitar? That's Bearsden's Sushil K Dade, also formerly of BMX Bandits and Telstar Ponies who now records and performs under the name Future Pilot AKA with a host of collaborators including Phillip Glass, Alasdair Gray, Thurston Moore, Kim Gordon and Damo Suzuki. Also famous as driving instructor to the stars, he has managed to get most of Glasgow's music-making indie fraternity through their driving test.
Back in the heady days of Electroclash, there was only one band who managed to combine commercial success with the key skill of not coming over as some bunch of over-privileged London/New York scenesters and that was Ladytron. Hailing from Liverpool, one of their number is Glasgow's Helen Marnie, who along with Mira Aroyo provide the ice maiden vocals that adorn Ladytron tracks such as this moody pop thrill.
It's not such a secret that Shirley Manson is from Scotland if you live here, but Garbage were such an internationally rich lineup with an unmistakably American sound, what with producer extraordinaire Butch Vig on their roll call, that you might think the voice of the band was also from the U.S. Well, Manson is from Edinburgh and was in Goodbye Mr Mackenzie, seeds from which continue to sprout in Scottish musical culture. Big John Duncan went on to play in The Exploited, The Gin Goblins and as second guitarist in Nirvana (!) and three of their number are now Isa and The Filthy Tongues.
Scotland's contribution to Industrial Metal is large and significant thanks to one man: Chris Connelly. Not only did he manage a great stretch in the Revolting Cocks, contributing to the album from which this popular classic is taken, he was also in titans of the scene Ministry. Add to that collaborations with just about every significant act on the scene, including Acid Horse (with Cabaret Voltaire) KMFDM, Murder Inc, Pigface and Whitehouse and we build an image of a man who likes to keep busy. Connelly started his musical journey in Edinburgh as a member of Finitribe and his latest band The Confessions has Steve Shelley from Sonic Youth on drums. Now let him into your life.