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Wet Wet Wet's Marti Pellow & Travis's Fran Healy
The 1990's






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Most Scots regarded major record companies with caution in the 90's when they tightened their belts regarding new signings. The no-budget indie scene carried on regardless with local studios benefiting as musicians avoiding expensive trips to London produced demos in Scotland. Glasgow's Cava, a Mecca for Scottish artists and labels, was considered one of the best studios in the world.

Venues throughout the land became a magnet for bands: Deacon Blue, Del Amitri, Primal Scream, The Vaselines, Teenage Fanclub, The Blue Nile and Texas, were all part of a thriving scene that ensured Scottish Pop was never in short supply. Deacon Blue headlined 'The Big Day,' the biggest free concert in Britain held on Glasgow green in front of an estimated 250,000 people celebrating Glasgow's 1990 'City Of Culture.' Del Amitri's song Nothing Ever Happens introduced them to the world the same year when it reached number 11. Suddenly, the band was everywhere; television, radio, the papers and even teeny pop magazines. In 1992 Change Everything was a platinum selling album, followed by the million selling Twisted and with it their next big chart success Roll To Me, the most played British song on American radio in 1995/96 reached ten on the US Billboard charts.

The huge success of Primal Scream's first single Loaded marked the way for the band and their 1991 album Screamadelica fused dub, dance, rock and pop to spectacular effect. Edinburgh's Vaselines were influential in the US; Nirvana covered their Molly's Lips and Son of a Gun as well as performing Eugene O'Neil's Jesus Doesn't Want Me for a Sunbeam on their legendary MTV Unplugged appearance. Teenage Fanclub's debut album A Catholic Education encouraged Alan McGee to sign them to his independent 'Creation' label. Bandwagonesque, their follow up, was rated by the US media as the greatest album made by white people in ten years. Oasis's Liam Gallagher claimed they were the second best band in the world. The Blue Nile on the strength of their 80's success were signed to a worldwide deal by Warner's in 1992, typically Warner's didn't fulfil their promotional responsibilities but this didn't stop the Nile's third album Peace At Last becoming another UK Top 20 album.


Deacon Blue

Del Amitri

Primal Scream



Teenage Fanclub

The Blue Nile


Kevin McDermott

Frankie Miller

Annie Lennox's solo album in 1992 Diva was commercially more successful than anything by the Eurythmics. It spawned two chart topping singles, a string of fascinating videos and universally positive critical notices. Lennox and Diva were nominated for practically every award imaginable including: Album of the year, Best Female artist and a Grammy for the Diva video. She also conquered America's lucrative adult-contemporary market with Walking On Broken Glass and has become a multi million selling artist, the winner of five Brits, and one of the richest Scots in Britain. Lennox is one of Scotland's Divas whose music breaches barriers of mediocrity to blossom and be appreciated wherever it is heard.

In 1993 Frankie Miller, one of Scotland's great blues-rock voices sang Dougie MacLean's patriotic Caledonia. Another group of patriots The Proclaimers had unexpected success in America when I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) became the theme song to the film Benny & Joon. The song spent over 28 weeks in the Billboard Hot 100, it climbed to number 3 nationally, sat at number 1 in over half the States and sold a million copies. The Proclaimers music has also appeared on advertisements worldwide promoting everything from IBM to South Korean mobile phones, Canadian beer to Swedish meatballs proving the ability of scotsmusic to stir passions Internationally.

Orange Juice may have ended in 1985 but Edwyn Collins returned to the Pop charts in 1994 with A Girl Like You which also featured in the films Empire Records and Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle. That same year Scot Alan McGee while attending a gig at Glasgow's King Tuts Wa Wa Club discovered Oasis and signed them to his creation label launching them to superstar status. Wet Wet Wet continued to grow from their success in the late 80's but to some it was a cruel summer when they dominated the top of the charts for an unprecedented 15 weeks with Love Is All Around. By 1995 the Wets were the UK's most popular live act playing to in excess of 715,000 people across 11 countries and achieving a string of awards by everyone from the BPI, the Brits and Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy to Smash Hits, Record Mirror and the Daily Star. After leaving Fairground Attraction Eddi Reader's first solo album in 1992 Mirmama persuaded Warner Music to sign her but following disappointments she signed for Independents Rough Trade to gain more control over how her music was released and marketed. She went on to produce a popular album and singles in 1994, won a Brit award for Best British Female and recorded the theme song for Batman Forever.

BMX Bandits

Annie Lennox

Annie Lennox Queen of Scots Pop

Frankie Miller

The Proclaimers

Edwyn Collins

Alan McGee

Wet Wet Wet

Eddi Reader

McCluskey Bros

The Pearlfishers

Carol Laula

Belle & Sebastian's Stuart Murdoch

As the second half of the 90's got under way Texas seemed washed up after hits dried up. Renaissance came in the form of a new, smooth direction that differed from the country rock of the past. in 1997 Say What You Want and the album White On Blonde were huge hits that turned Sharleen Spiteri into a sex symbol overnight and made the band recipients of an Ivor Novello Award.

Travis, a band well known for their sing along tunes secured a first publishing deal on the back of a demo tape made with money borrowed from their family. They have since had phenomenal success in particular with their finest moment, the bouncy, anthem for Britain's summer festivals Why Does It Always Have To Rain On Me. Texas developed from the country and blues influenced tunes of their two million selling debut album Southside, to lush pop music with 1997's White on Blonde: a pop album with roots-rock and soul moments. Chemikal Underground, arguably the most successful Scottish independent label of recent times released acclaimed albums by Mogwai and Arab Strap and helped Bis on to Top of the Pops with the Kandy Pop single.

Garbage, a US underground band led by distinctive Edinburgh singer Shirley Manson, broke out in 1995 and followed up in 1998 with their multi-platinum album Version 2.0, and the title track from James Bond's The World Is Not Enough. Idlewild who also formed in 1995 were established enough to play at the opening of the Scotland's devolved Parliament supporting Garbage.
Belle & Sebastian, producers of exquisite gems of cerebral pop, kicked off with their debut album Tigermilk determined to set their own musical, visual and promotional agenda and accumulated a very loyal fan base. It was appealing and influential and won them the Best Newcomer award at the 1999 Brits.



Arab Strap

Shirley Manson


Belle & Sebastian



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