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Jimmy Shand

Ace Accordionist

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Jimmy Shand is king of 20th century strict tempo Scottish Country Dance Music and a legend in his own time. His death just before Christmas 2000 marked the end of an era and saddened the heart of every Scot who has ever danced to Scottish music.
Born at East Wemyss in the kingdom of Fife in 1908, he never received any formal music lessons other than from his father. His natural musical ability, uplifting music and enthusiasm to entertain made him a household name not only in Scotland but in many other parts of the world. He was a major inspiration behind many Pop luminaries including; Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts, Richard Thompson, John Lennon, and was also a favorite of the Queen, the late Queen Mother and many experienced and aspiring accordion players.

Like most Fife kids growing up during the early 1920's he left school to work in the local coal mine but after four years found employment with a firm of Dundee music-sellers which introduced him to a professional music career. In 1933 when gramophones were a luxury he recorded for Regal-Zonophone playing solo accordion and by 1945 had successfully introduced his Scottish Country Dance Band to the world via radio. Many broadcasts followed making his band in demand all over the U K by listeners to the BBC overseas programs. Hohner made him his own accordion called the 'Shand Morino, and his long career produced many recordings of Scottish country dance: reel's, waltz's, jig's, eightsome reel's and strathspey's based on popular Scottish traditional tunes such as 'Mairi's Wedding' among others.

Over 330 compositions have been attributed to Jimmy Shand in particular his 'Blue Bell Polka' which in 1955 reached number 20 in the UK charts and gained him an appearance on 'Top of the Pops.' In 1962 He was awarded the MBE from the Queen in recognition of both his stature in Scottish Country Dance music and respect among fellow Scots and the bestowing of honours continued when later he was awarded a Knighthood. However, irrespective of title Jimmy Shand was a down to earth man and well loved musician who maintained the tradition of Scottish accordion music for future generations to enjoy.

Jimmy Sand Ace Accordionist 1908 - 2000

Jimmy Shand

Further reading:

The Jimmy Shand Story

by Ian Cameron

ISBN: 1 84017 019 0