29th May 2020

Culture / Featured / Felix Gladstone

Scottish Singers By Felix Gladstone

61 6 mins 0


Constantly tartan clad and mentioned by Liam Neeson in Richard Curtis’ Love Actually, the Bay City Rollers might not necessarily slot in to the contemporary definition of rock n’ roll. But what Edinburgh five-piece are, though, is very patriotic. If you call dressing everyday in tartan calf-length trousers and tartan-lined suits without shirts patriotic, then they undoubtedly fit the bill. The Bay City Rollers don’t do length by halves; their mullets are almost as long as their 22 strong list of past members. Perhaps the tartan was just too much for some. Not only does Liam Neeson like their cover of Bye Bye Baby, but its upbeat harmonies and happy lyrics have established it as an irrefutable classic. Almost as irrefutable as their desire to customise any and every garment in tartan – just so you know they’re Scottish.


Frequently spotted wearing a fedora and a T-shirt with a plunging neckline, Paolo Nutini is a walking anachronism, well and truly belonging to the noughties. Nutini left behind his Italo-Scot fish and chip chef family to pursue a slightly less noxious career in music. His father still hopes that Paolo will swap his fedora for a toque blanche and man the deep fat fryer at some point soon. Nutini is famous for singing about his escapades with an older woman named Jenny or how all of your problems go away when you whack on a fresh pair of shoes. The Paisley-born singer likes to sing with his eyes shut, which can only mean that he’s tired from carrying a sizeable nest of hair and a fedora on his head. Nothing else could explain that, could it? Like a lot of great Scottish singers, Nutini started his career at a very young age, just 17. Paolo Nutini has been massively successful and is unquestionably a musical, cult-hero. Although, he could probably do with doing up a few more buttons on his shirts before he achieves true ‘legend’ status.


By the time I was sixteen, I had just about figured out how to get myself dressed. By the time Roddy Frame was sixteen, he had written most of High Land, Hard Rain, Aztec Camera’s first album and was appropriately coined the Boy Wonder, because he quite literally was a boy. Frame now looks like he mingles with the other slightly hip, suburban dads. Although there was a time when the East Kilbride-born singer’s quiff and ample eyeliner gave anyone a run for their money. Frame also had a penchant for channeling his inner cowboy, often spotted sporting a bolo tie and hoisting his trousers up as high as possible. Perhaps Frame grew up wanting to be a cowboy, but he had to settle on being Aztec Camera’s incredibly talented frontman instead.


Twins garbed in double denim, glasses and a scruffy head of blonde hair: hardly sounds like a rock band, does it? Well, the Leith-born duo can probably be spotted sporting toothy grins 24/7 because they’ve got everyone fooled. Constantly told not to sing in their broad Scottish accents, they’ve had to fight for their success. But, their very proclamation that they would walk a thousand miles for love is difficult for anyone to ignore. Since then, the twins have been touring pretty much constantly. Their song, 500 Miles, is probably one of the most famous British songs of all time. Perhaps people keep listening to it to try and figure out what ‘havering’ means. Probably the smiliest Scots in musical history, Craig and Charlie Reid have got every reason to be all smiles.


Cropped orange hair and a smart business suit: think less run away from the Queen to LA with my American wife and baby and more effortlessly cool, political activist who’s probably still in the Queen’s good books, and you should end up with Annie Lennox. The former lead singer of the Eurythmics has dedicated her life to answering some of Britain’s biggest questions like what, exactly, sweet dreams are made of. Lennox has committed her life to activism and can probably be spotted putting her latest award in the trophy cabinet, which is probably the size of a substantial suburban cottage, otherwise she would have likely run out of space a while ago. Most say that Lennox’s androgyny broke the mould and opened the floodgates to a new type of expressive freedom for female pop stars. Who am I to disagree? The Aberdeen born singer is an absolutely legendary public figure. Perhaps if she just let us know what ‘this’ is, so we can all discover the elixir of sweet dreams, then she might be in the running for another award from the Queen.


Not to be confused with the poor, unsuspecting Austrian Archduke whose assassination commenced World War 1, the Glaswegian rock band are slightly less central to early 20th Century world warfare. Put on Take Me Out in any student bar, anywhere in the country, and the place will be jumping. Franz Ferdinand songs can only really be sung by shouting. They seem to bring out the inner-rowdiness in everyone, which must explain why they often choose to perform in suits, just to restore a bit of order and respectability. Their front man, Alex Kapranos, also goes by the pseudonym Prince House Rabbit, which is slightly less World War 1 and a bit more Beatrix Potter – although its actual meaning seems to be entirely unexplained. An idle tweet with the declaration “I am Prince House Rabbit” and an empty Spotify page seem to be all that his pseudonym has achieved to date, but I’ve no doubt that Kapranos will get going on that soon. A true product of their time during the early 2000s, Franz Ferdinand are a staple on every party playlist. There’s a reason they tour constantly: they know how to get a room moving. In an attempt to inject some fresh rock n’roll into their image, three members can be spotted donning slightly dodgy bleached hair, so we know that they likely don’t plan on going anywhere, anytime soon.


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Felix Gladstone

Felix Gladstone is the youngest child of Charlie and Caroline Gladstone. He is currently studying History at the University of Edinburgh and is going into his second year. He spends his spare time learning and listening to all things music, an industry he hopes to one day be involved in. During his time off university, he has been working for The Good Life Society, writing some articles along the way.

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