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Gerry Rafferty
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The 1970's.







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cottish success in the charts had come in the early 70's from the writing talents of Largs duo Benny Gallagher and Graham Lyle who with McGuiness Flint rocked the hit parade at the end of 1970 with their song 'When I'm Dead And Gone.' Songwriting was not new for them as they had been writing since the early 60's in their own group and for the Beatles Apple label before McGuiness Flint. Benny & Graham left Flint to pursue a career as the duo Gallagher & Lyle and wrote the massive world wide hits 'Heart On My Sleeve' and 'Breakaway.' Later Graham Lyle continued on his own to write hits for major US stars like Tina Turner and Art Garfunkel.

Since the 60's rock featured regularly in the charts and Blantyre's Brian Connolly, vocalist and guitarist with The Sweet, and Dunfermline's Nazareth provided Scotland's pop-rock credibility in the UK. The Sweet had two hits in 1971 'Funny, Funny' which charted in the UK and Europe, and 'Co Co' a chirpy Caribbean type song designed for happiness which became a huge hit. The same year another happy group 'Middle of The Road' covered 'Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep' a song written by Lally Stott and though perhaps not the best version of the song ever heard it was certainly one of that years most popular reaching the top of the hit parade and sweeping aside Dawn and the Rolling Stones. Before charting in the UK 'Chirpy's' charms had been a smash hit throughout Europe and Scandinavia as well as being a Top 20 hit for Mac & Katie Kissoon. Middle Of the Road were popular as part of a wave of 'bubblegum' pop that depressed any optimism in the UK pop industry. Then after a year in the pop wilderness came a saviour from Nazareth, the Fife rockers produced two UK Top Ten hits early in 1973, 'Broken Down Angel, Bad Bad Boy' and later with another hit single a hard-rocking cover of Joni Mitchell's 'This Flight Tonight.' In 1975 their cover version of Roy Orbisons classic 'Love Hurts' hit platinum in the US top ten.

Rod Stewart

Gallagher & Lyle

Brian Connolly

Cado Belle

Middle of the Road

Middle Of The Road


Royal Scots Dragoon Guards

Alex Harvey

The hit parade gave plenty of variety with often unexpected recordings astounding everyone by reaching the top. One such success was Judy Collin's traditional hymn like song 'Amazing Grace.' Shortly after her big selling hit record, a Radio Two disc jockey played a stirring version by the pipes, drums and military band of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards on a late night extra program. The response was tremendous and other programs played the track as public demanded it be released as a single with amazing results taking it to the No. 1 spot as fast as anything since the Beatles.

Scotland contributed more tartan cringe to the pop pot in the form of the 'Bay City Rollers' an embarrassment of teenage fashion victims who with their 'Shang a Lang', and other pop ditties were the only Scottish boy band that ever mattered. Other bands 'Pilot' and Midge Ure's 'Slik' also charted but most of Scotland's efforts from the early 70's were more pap than pop and best forgotten.

1975 was actually a good year for Scottish hits, Bay City Rollers scored with 'Bye Bye Baby' and the Sensational Alex Harvey Band's comic cover of Tom Jones 'Delilah' gave Alex Harvey a well deserved hit after a 20 year struggle. The same year SAHB had two albums in the top ten and their live performances during this time have become the stuff of legend. Soul credibility came in 75 after years of courtship between Scottish musicians and black American soul music via Hamish Stuart and Allan Gorrie of the 'Average White Band' whose definitive album 'AWB' and single 'Pick up the Pieces' topped their respective US charts and is still a soul classic. Gerry Rafferty emerged from the Scottish folk scene, where he played in the Humblebums with comedian Billy Connolly, to performing classic pop hits like 'Stuck in the Middle' CO-written with Joe Egan in Stealers Wheel. His solo effort 'Baker Street,' a picture of life in the London Street with an unforgettable saxophone solo defined the mid 70's. Rafferty became a songwriter of International standing particularly loved by the Hollywood set who is still writing great songs.

Royal Scots Dragoons

Al Stewart

Sutherland Brothers

Bay City Rollers



Sensational Alex Harvey Band

Average White Band

Stealers Wheel

Gerry Rafferty

Orange Juice

1976 and Punk gave birth to a form of music anarchy when small record labels such as 'Postcard' emerged to nourish talents like Edwyn Collins's 'Orange Juice' and Roddy Frame's 'Aztec Camera'. These labels located around the country were independent of the London based majors and provided local access to the pop market through strong contacts with efficient distribution chains. The fledgling pop infrastructure within Scotland began to pay dividends for local bands when chart success came with the 'Skids' 'Working For The Yankee Dollar' and in 1977 the first indie-punk band The Rezillos 'Can't Stand My Baby', confirmed the Scottish punk credibility.

In 1978 enthusiastic Scots followed the Scottish football team to a dream of glory in the Argentinean World Cup and comedian Andy Cameron and his record company cashed in on their blind optimism by scoring a hit with his novelty song 'Ally's Tartan Army'.

Aztec Camera


Orange Juice


Simple Minds

Dire Straights

Annie Lennox

At the same time a band called the 'Tourists' entered the hit parade with a cover of Dusty Springfield's 'I Only Want To Be With You' and introduced the Pop world to a young Aberdeen talent called Annie Lennox. By the end of the decade Scotland's football dream had ended in tears in Argentina but the Scots sensitivity to matters of the heart remained alive and well in Frankie Miller's country blues classic 'Darlin'. Frankie's vocal style has been likened to the great Otis Redding and his song Darlin', which was on the lips of sentimental and romantic souls the world over, was a massive hit and made him a legend and one of Scotland's most loved and respected stars.

As the 1970's ended Scottish pop had undergone a transformation as more native bands became confident of their ability to satisfy popular demand. Punk had demanded to be heard and succeeded in persuading national radio DJ's like John Peel to seek, play and take seriously original material from the tartan province in doing so Scotland's pop expectations began to rise.

Annie Lennox

Frankie Miller

Frankie Miller

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