Famous Scottish Bands

Written by laurie lanehart
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Famous Scottish Bands
Scotland's bands have inspired many other musicians. (Thomas Northcut/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Historically, the birth of rock-and-roll music came about out of a style of music known as the blues, an African American type of music. By the 1960s, rock music had crossed the Atlantic. Scotland welcomed this music and soon was producing some of that era's best rock music. From the 1960s on, a number of Scotland's musical acts went on to international success in rhythm and blues, disco, funk, rock, punk, new wave, pop and Celtic rock.

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Bay City Rollers

The Bay City Rollers were a Scottish pop band that was popular during the 1970s. Their first hit was "Keep On Dancing" in 1971. In 1974, the band had a string of hits on the UK charts. However, the band did not grow to international success until 1975. Their hit "Saturday Night" went to No. 1 on the U.S. Hot Billboard 100, making them teen idols around the world. The group had a few smaller hits but none that ever reached as high as "Saturday Night."

Average White Band

A funk and rhythm-and-blues band, Average White Band had a series of soul and disco hits between 1974 and 1980. Their break through came after signing to Atlantic Records and moving to New York City. In 1975, the band's most notable song, "Pick up the Pieces," from "The White Album," went to No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Chart and sold more than one million copies. In March of 1975, the band received a gold record for "The White Album" by the Recording Industry Association of America.


Nazareth is another acclaimed 1970s hard rock band that had international hits with "Love Hurts" in 1975 --- their only top-10 hit in the U.S. --- and "This Fight Tonight."

Simple Minds

Simple Minds is one of Scotland's most recognisable groups of the 1980s who achieved worldwide acclaim. Early in the 1980s, the group had a string of hits with songs such as "Promised You A Miracle" and "Lovesong." The group went on to international fame and is best known for its No. 1 U.S. hit "Don't You Forget About Me," from the movie "The Breakfast Club," and "Alive and Kicking" --- a No. 3 hit on the U.S. charts. Simple Minds has continued to release albums through the 2000s.

Big Country

Big Country was a new wave/alternative band popular from the early to mid-1980s. Their music infused Scottish folk music with pop music. The band's legendary bagpipe sound came from guitars engineered to sound like bagpipes. Their first album, "The Crossing", released in 1984, brought them international success. From that album came the song "Big Country" --- the band's only U.S. Top 40 hit single.

The Proclaimers

The Proclaimers rose to acclaim in the United States in the 1990s fronted by two twin brothers who sing with a distinctive Scottish brogue. The band had hits with "Letters From America," "I'm On My Way" and the 1993 hit "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)", used in the movie "Benny and Joon," went to No. 3 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Chart.

Franz Ferdinand

Franz Ferdinand is an indie rock, postpunk band formed in 2002. The group has recorded three acclaimed albums including the songs "Take Me Out" from their first album, "You Could Have It So Much Better" from their second album and "No You Girls" from their third album, released in 2009.

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