FP100 Fife bands 4. The Proclaimers

The Proclaimers
The Proclaimers

Although they are closely associated with Edinburgh, The Proclaimers are still among Fife’s finest.

Born in Leith, Craig and Charlie Reid moved to Auchtermuchty at an early age, and townsfolk remain proud to claim them as one - or rather, two - of their own.

They were pupils at Bell Baxter High School, Cupar, and formed their own punk bands before deciding to go out as a double act.

Armed with acoustic guitars and strong Fife accents, they made an instant impression with an appearance on ‘The Tube’ - Channel4’s ground-breaking music show - in January 1987. The Proclaimers had already toured as support to The Housemartins, but this was their big breakthrough.

One rendition of ‘Letter from America’ and its rousing, passionate ‘Bathgate no more, Lindwood no more, Methil no more’ refrain made them household names.

But it was another song that proved to be their most durable - and successful.

‘Sunshine On Leith’ has been a hit song, a stage favourite, graced Hollywood movies, become a stage show, and is now a film in its own right.

It also rang round Hampden one day in 2007 as tens of thousands of Hibs fans sang with joy and pride after the League Cup final win , while manager John Collins was moved to tears on the pitch.

It’s a beautiful song which captures the under-rated writing skills of the Reid brothers. It also spanned an acclaimed stage play and then, in 2013 a film which celebrated the joyous music of the duo and became a huge ‘feel good’ hit musical.

They have come a long way from their raw but hugely spirited debut album ‘This Is The Story’ which went gold - 1998’s ‘Sunshine On Leith’ did even better.

That also saw the duo become a band - their first such gig was at Lochgelly Theatre where fans were packed into every seat and down the steps either side of the auditorium.

Since then they have never looked back.

Their song ‘I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)’ has become a Scottish anthem, but it resonated much wider thanks to its inclusion in the Johnny Depp hit film ‘Benny & Joon.’

The twins’ links to the movies hit gold once more when ‘I’m On My Way’ was picked up and used in ‘Shrek’ - so much so when they played it at Big Tent in 2012 every kid in the audience knew it word perfect, while their parents recalled it from that 1998 album!

The Proclaimers rounded off 2013 with a performance on Jolls Holland’s ‘Hootenanny’ on BBC2.