The Proclaimers - gig preview
- Doug Johnstone
- 1 November 2007
Whichever way you look at it, it’s been an astonishingly successful year for The Proclaimers. It’s 20 years since the Reid twins’ groundbreaking appearance on The Tube led to a string of hits, but 2007 finds their stock at its highest ever level. First there was the Comic Relief version of their classic ‘I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)’, apparently inspired by Peter Kay’s witnessing of the remarkable reaction of the Murrayfield crowd to the song at Live 8. Then there was Sunshine on Leith, the acclaimed musical play based on the brothers’ extensive back catalogue. And finally, capitalising nicely on all this publicity, is a spanking new album, Life With You, their first on a major label for 13 years, having self-released their last three records. For a pair of perennial outsiders, they’re pretty damned popular, really.
‘We thought we’d have a career, but not at this level,’ says a clearly thrilled Charlie Reid. ‘We thought it would be pubs and clubs, enough to stay off the dole. But we didn’t think we were commercial enough to have success; that’s always been a surprise.’
In truth, this is no real surprise. The Reids are consummate writers of pop anthems, and by ‘pop’ I mean ‘popular’. They have an unerring gift for grafting a universal sentiment to an impeccably soaring melody, just go to any football match or public gathering, and see how long it takes for a Proclaimers’ song breaks out.
The secret of their success lies in the pair’s ability to combine statements of love, loss and camaraderie with an underlying socialist stance, something which makes even their most personal and political songs ring true, a trend which continues impeccably on Life With You.
‘We always wanted to write songs and do performances that inspired people,’ says Charlie. ‘We want to have live shows that people are uplifted by. To do that, I think you’ve got to have courage, you have to believe in what you’re doing.’ (Doug Johnstone)
Playhouse, Edinburgh, Thu 8 & Fri 9 Nov; Academy, Glasgow, Thu 15 & Fri 16 Nov