NewsOpinionColumnistsA controversial list of the top ten Scottish bands ever has a stunned Aidan Smith searching for a pithy putdown.
Tuesday, 2nd June 2020, 7:30 am
The trouble with these surveys of the best this and the all-time-greatest that is theyre wholly subjective. Invariably the pollsters ask the question of other people. Thus the results do not reflect the superior taste, sophistication and critical rigour that you could have brought to the debate and, much more crucially, me.
Usually I accept this, quietly console myself about never having read a Harry Potter book or understood the deeper meaning of a Richard Curtis film, and move on. But, honestly, did you see that list of the best Scottish bands?
If you didnt, here goes, pop-pickers: 1 the Proclaimers, 2 Simple Minds, 3 Deacon Blue, 4 the Blue Nile, 5 Travis, 6 the Waterboys, 7 Runrig, 8 Texas, 9 Belle and Sebastian, 10 Del Amitri.
The survey was conducted by an English-based Sunday newspaper and I cant help wondering who the respondents were. A wide-ranging sample of the Countryside Alliances membership? An exhaustive canvassing of Young Farmers Clubs? Or did the papers property correspondent a vital job at this title ring round a bunch of estate agents? Did the business desk ask its favourite trust fund managers?
But just as I was congratulating myself for these pithy observations at the expense of our dear rivals, a Twitter wag trumped me. Alan Partidges Scotland playlist? wondered Marcus Orlandi.
You remember the bold Alans musical preferences. He would bellow along to some excruciatingly emotive power-ballad in the car, tapping the beat on the steering wheel in string-back driving gloves, hands never wavering from the Ministry of Transport-recommended ten-to-two formation. He would serenade a lady friend by singing something unsingable like Steeleye Spans Gaudete, this hot date foundering shortly afterwards on his shock admission that he understood the function of a vallance. He would, when a young member of staff at his hotel asked Who are Wings?, respond with a superior smirk: Only the band the Beatles could have been.
When I read the ten-best list, I was briefly stunned. Was there no one else? Perhaps not. The Scot who loves music knows not to boast. He or she will be aware that its not just the national football team who like to seize defeat from the jaws of victory. Edinburgh-born Stuart Sutcliffe was as important to the early days of the Beatles as Ian Stewart, son of Pittenweem, was to the nascent Rolling Stones, but both were booted out before the screaming began.
Weve contributed a third of Cream, half of the Eurythmics and when the cry went up, Can anyone play the flute one-legged in a tweed cape and codpiece?, it was a Scot who answered the call (Jethro Tulls Ian Anderson). But bands 100 per cent Caledonian, made out of shortbread and thistles, which were also great? Maybe wed have to make do with Texas, those good ole southern boys and girls from, er, Glasgow.
Oh no we wouldnt. What about the Associates? What about Stealers Wheel? What about Marmalade with their fab 45 Reflections of My Life, the choice of none-more-diverse soundtracks as those for a government TV campaign for the Good Friday Agreement and Linda Lovelaces sex odyssey Deep Throat?
I got in touch with my chum Brian Hogg, author of the Bible All That Ever Mattered: the History of Scottish Rock and Pop and he quickly came up with ten bands of his own: Teenage Fanclub, Jesus and Mary Chain, the Poets, the Incredible String Band, Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Josef K, Fire Engines, the Pastels, the Shop Assistants and Boards of Canada.
Hogg stressed this was his list as of 2.11pm yesterday. His methodology was bands whod made a pivotal contribution to music here or further afield. He signed off: Of course Im now haunted by those that missed the cut...
I think Im going radge
The jock n roll-inclined Twitterati offered their nominations: Orange Juice, Primal Scream, Aztec Camera, Cocteau Twins, Chvrches, Frightened Rabbit, Gallagher & Lyle, the Average White Band (who instead of coals to Newcastle took soul to the USA), Fife contenders Nazareth and the Skids, Fay Fifes combo the Rezillos (I think Im going radge might be the greatest Scottish lyric of all time) and for goodness sakes Franz Ferdinand.
Ah but its all a matter of personal taste. Many of the aforementioned are way cooler than the surveys top ten. The Incredible String Band were the only Scots to play Woodstock (but, in another semi-tragedy, got missed off the movie of the mega-gig). There would be no Guns N Roses without Nazareth to inspire them. I could shout for Clouds, prog pioneers adored by David Bowie. But cultural importance doesnt matter to everyone and wont get you played at a wedding disco, the barometer for some of a favourite band.
Does that make us who take against this list anoraks or snobs or, crikey, fascists or sorry to any female voters simply men of a certain age whove never forgotten when music papers were crucial to our lives? Well, the most disappointing thing about the survey is the lack of diversity. Many of the bands are similar-sounding, possibly remembered from extended sessions at the students union jukebox when it was too wet to venture out to lectures.
Theres a lot of rain. Deacon Blue: Raintown. The Blue Nile: Tinseltown in the Rain. Travis: Why Does It Always Rain on Me? Del Amitri have two songs with rain in the title while Simple Minds sang Come in, come out of the rain. Wet Wet Wets omission is surprising but Im starting to wonder if the poll didnt go much further than Scots TV meteorologists including Carol Kirkwood, Heather the Weather Reid and Peter Slush will be a problem on roads, as will Sloss.
No issue, though, with the Proclaimers being No 1, they of the blissfully rain-free Sunshine on Leith.
A message from the Editor:
Thank you for reading this article on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.
With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our advertisers - and consequently the revenue we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription.
Subscribe to scotsman.com and enjoy unlimited access to Scottish news and information online and on our app. With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit http://www.scotsman.com/subscriptions now to sign up.
Our journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them. By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.
- Good Job, Whale - The Cut - September 24th, 2020
- What the strange case of horse mutilations in France reveals about our state of mind - The Guardian - September 24th, 2020
- Review: The Flaming Lips dig deep with American Head - The Rice Thresher - September 24th, 2020
- FREE Self Development Series: "Curbing Traffic Jam in the Mind" - Patch.com - September 24th, 2020
- Happy Gut, Happy Mind: how the state of your gut affects your mental health - Evening Standard - September 24th, 2020
- How DeepMind Algorithms Helped Improve the Accuracy of Google Maps? - Analytics Insight - September 15th, 2020
- Elon Musk's brain-computer startup is getting ready to blow your mind - ZDNet - September 15th, 2020
- Far from being anti-religious, faith and spirituality run deep in Black Lives Matter - The Conversation US - September 15th, 2020
- Nvidia's Arm takeover sparks concern in the UK, co-founder says it's 'a disaster' - CNBC - September 15th, 2020
- The Guardians GPT-3-written article misleads readers about AI. Heres why. - TechTalks - September 15th, 2020
- What Is Yoga Nidra? Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic - Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic - September 15th, 2020
- Deep Dive: What would it take to change UNCW's mind? [Free] - Port City Daily - September 14th, 2020
- Eternal Blizzard in the Tired Mind: Kaufman delves ever deeper into the human psyche - The Stanford Daily - September 14th, 2020
- SoftBanks Arm sale hits a snag as UK opposition party warns of risk to jobs and digital sovereignty - CNBC - September 14th, 2020
- Scientific Psi? Neuralink and the smarter brain - Covalence - September 14th, 2020
- How to regulate AI, according to the 1967 Outer Space Treaty - Quartz - September 14th, 2020
- Reporter's notebook/It's time to let the games begin - The Daily Times - September 14th, 2020
- DCPS students receive online instruction from teacher in Greece - The Owensboro Times - September 14th, 2020
- Expand your mind with access to over 1,000 lectures from Tim Ferriss, Malcolm Gladwell, and more - MarketWatch - August 28th, 2020
- Global Machine Learning Artificial intelligence Market 2025 To Expect Maximum Benefit and Growth Potential During this COVID 19 Outbreak: AIBrain,... - August 28th, 2020
- It plays with the mind - Bangalore Mirror - August 28th, 2020
- We criticize because we care - Observer Online - August 28th, 2020
- Exercising toward a healthy mind - Johns Hopkins News-Letter - August 28th, 2020
- 78 percent parents don't mind if children have to skip school year due to pandemic: Survey - EdexLive - August 28th, 2020
- TSMC and Graphcore Prepare for AI Acceleration on 3nm - AnandTech - August 28th, 2020
- Frank Njenga: Over 40 years of healing the mind - Business Daily - August 28th, 2020
- Emily Dickinson is the unlikely hero of our time - The Conversation US - August 28th, 2020
- Visiongain publishes Automation in Biopharma Industry 2020-2030 report - PR Newswire UK - August 26th, 2020
- Scoop: The Trump-Navarro mind meld on the FDA - Axios - August 26th, 2020
- Emily Dickinson is the unlikely hero of our time - Huron Daily Tribune - August 26th, 2020
- 5 ways to ease pain using the mind-body connection - Harvard Health Blog - Harvard Health - August 26th, 2020
- COVID-19: Heal Your Diseases and Illness with Your Subconscious Mind - CEOWORLD magazine - August 26th, 2020
- London's 'Tech City' may never be the same again after the coronavirus - CNBC - August 26th, 2020
- Environmental Sustainability And AI - Forbes - August 26th, 2020
- BetMGM Has Crazy 100-1 Odds On The Yankees or Nats To Go Deep Tonight - Crossing Broad - July 25th, 2020
- Chest-Deep' Wildflowers Are Blooming in Reds Meadow - NBC Southern California - July 25th, 2020
- The Man-Eater part 3 - Lake County Record-Bee - July 25th, 2020
- SPIRIT MATTERS: Breathing through the day - LaSalle News Tribune - July 25th, 2020
- Coping with COVID: These stunning Instagram artworks dive deep into the mind - Cond Nast Traveller India - July 8th, 2020
- COVID-19 Update: Global Mindfulness Meditation Apps Market is Expected to Grow at a Healthy CAGR with top players Deep Relax, Smiling Mind, Inner... - July 8th, 2020
- Pralaya Yoga's Adult Nap Time Could Be the Lullaby You're Needing in 2020 - Houstonia Magazine - July 8th, 2020
- Mindfulness Meditation Apps Market (impact of COVID-19) To See Massive Growth By 2026| Committee for Children, Insights Network, Inc., Smiling Mind,... - July 8th, 2020
- 'McMindfulness,' and why deep breathing isn't always the answer - Dailyuw - July 8th, 2020
- Deep cultural shifts required: open letter from 500 legal women calls for reform of way judges are appointed and disciplined - Women's Agenda - July 8th, 2020
- Mental Health and Coping Tips - Wexner Medical Center - The Ohio State University - July 8th, 2020
- Yes, Mr Cummings, energy efficiency is boring if you have a one inch deep mind - The Fifth Estate - July 7th, 2020
- Breaking News - Documentary "Stockton on My Mind" Debuts July 28 on HBO - The Futon Critic - July 7th, 2020
- The Importance and the Consequences of Writing a Will - The Wire - July 7th, 2020
- Deep cultural shifts required: open letter from 500 legal women calls for reform of way judges are appointed and disciplined - UNSW Newsroom - July 7th, 2020
- Married to the Military: Dont neglect your mental health - The Fayetteville Observer - July 7th, 2020
- Suddenly, The Investment Market Comes Out Of The Deep Freeze - Bisnow - July 7th, 2020
- In Conversation: Thandie Newton - Vulture - July 7th, 2020
- Backstory: Emergency by Any Other Name Cuts as Deep - The Wire - July 4th, 2020
- FAMILY MATTERS: Open eyes and mind to teen's ascent to adulthood - Eagle-Tribune - July 4th, 2020
- Experts see 'deep trouble' for Trump overcoming plummet in the polls - Missoula Current - July 4th, 2020
- Love that stifles... - Deccan Herald - July 4th, 2020
- The long road back from COVID-19 - The Boston Globe - July 4th, 2020
- The Ripple: Healing Divisive Minds and Grieving Hearts - Aledo Times Record - July 2nd, 2020
- Deep sea coral garden found in the unlikeliest of places - Metro.co.uk - July 2nd, 2020
- Georgia on my mind - The Parliament Magazine - July 2nd, 2020
- COVID-19 and Teletherapy May Be Changing How Much You Know About Your Therapist - Michigan Medicine - July 2nd, 2020
- A conversation about racism opened my eyes The Foothills Focus - Foothills Focus - July 2nd, 2020
- Eric and Wendy Schmidt back Cambridge University effort to equip researchers with A.I. skills - CNBC - June 29th, 2020
- Change Our Mind: it is your civic duty to buy performance estates - Top Gear - June 29th, 2020
- Research: Artificial neural networks are more similar to the brain than we thought - TNW - June 29th, 2020
- Moving forward by turning to the past: Oregon Historical Quarterly takes a deep dive into Oregons white supremacist roots - KGW.com - June 29th, 2020
- Trump's scorched-earth handling of environment extends to oceans too - Las Vegas Sun - June 29th, 2020
- Is that really everything you have to give? | Yon - Tallahassee Democrat - June 29th, 2020
- Why Facebook chose to open its first European A.I. lab in Paris and not London - CNBC - June 23rd, 2020
- Decoding the link between Artificial Neural Networks and Deep Learning Algorithms - Analytics Insight - June 23rd, 2020
- Deftones' 'White Pony': 10 Things We Learned From Chino Moreno - Revolver Magazine - June 23rd, 2020
- Stranger Things: David Harbour compares Hopper to Gandalf the White - lcbcradio.com - June 23rd, 2020
- #9 Ways How Meditation Can Strengthen Our Mind, Body, and Soul - Entrepreneur - June 23rd, 2020
- Which Type of Yoga Should You Try? - United News of Bangladesh - June 23rd, 2020
- If You Want to Change, Start from the Ground Up - SFGate - June 23rd, 2020
- The Ripple: Equality and Balance is an Inside Job - Newton Press Mentor - June 20th, 2020
- Matters of the mind: Impact of lockdown and Covid-19 on marriages - The Indian Express - June 20th, 2020
- Something to Muench on: In a word, priceless! - The Cross Timbers Gazette - June 20th, 2020
- What came to mind when I acted dead - Daily Trust - June 20th, 2020
- The race to develop AI chips heats up as Graphcore says it's shipped 'tens of thousands' - CNBC - June 9th, 2020