Today is December 16th and Christmas is getting closer. You certainly don’t need to walk 500 miles to get to the festivities now do you? Have you sent your letter to Santa? Have you sent a letter to America? Last posting dates must be here soon. Anyway it is now day 16 in this years ABC of British bands advent blog posts. We are noon on the letter ‘P’. If you sussed out the clues that I left earlier in this paragraph (and frankly they weren’t difficult) you’ll know that todays band is the Proclaimers. Obviously you may have just looked at the picture too 🙂
The band is Scottish twins Charlie and Craig Reid who were born on 5th March 1962 in Leith. They later went on to live in Edinburgh, Cornwall and Auchtermuchty. The latter place is where they went to the Bell Baxter High School. The boys were a part of a number of punk bands before eventually forming the Proclaimers in 1983. Their big break came along in 1986 after a fan sent a demo tape to the Housemartins. The boys were then invited to support Hull’s finest on the 1986 UK tour. This exposure led to a slot on Channel 4’s the Tube in early 1987.
Later that year their second single, “Letter From America” went to number three in the UK singles chart and number two in Ireland. This was the first of their six UK top 40 hits. Their biggest chart success came with a re-recording of 1988’s “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” in 2007. It was in aid of Comic Relief and the video involved many celebrities including Peter Kay and Matt Lucas. The song helped raise millions for Comic Relief that year. The original version of that song is their only US hit to date and it reached number 8 in the US Rock chart in 1988. The band have released 9 studio albums so far since 1987. Six of those made it to the UK top 50. 1988’s “Sunshine On Leith” reached number 6 in the UK chart and almost made it to the top in Australia, sadly stalling at number two. ‘The Best Of The Proclaimers‘, a 2002 compilation is their highest charting UK album making it to number 5 that year.
Charlie and Craig are fans of Hibernian Football Club and their song “Sunshine On Leith” has become something of an anthem at the club’s home games. They are also keen supporters of Scottish independence. For me the Proclaimers are something of a Marmite act in that you either love them or hate them. Personally I love them, perhaps that is because I am half Scots. Either way you can now take some time to love or hate a selection of the Proclaimers best tunes.