Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Scotland's Greatest Album?

Listening to last weeks news coming from the Tory Party Conference was depressing and dispiriting.  Rather than write a post, which will be re-cycled again and again in the months to come, I though I would write about something else that caught my eye. Last Tuesday, STV began a search to try and find the 12 best singles/tracks produced by Scottish rock/pop artistes, which is not as easy as it sounds and has the potential to stray into controversial grounds.

Last week’s show was centred on the best “Scottish” tracks of the 1970’s – and it didn’t take long for the criteria to be set when the panel debated that most Scottish of Scottish acts – AC/DC.  I think that they accepted what I dub the “Matt Elliott rule” – ie if you were born here or have members born here then you are in.  Artists not born here, but like the original Matt Elliott, have Scottish parentage must have been allowed in too – otherwise why was Rod Stewart on the list?  However, I can see controversial exclusions in the weeks to come.  Talking Heads (lead by Helensburgh born David Byrne) were not discussed despite both “Psyco Killer” and “Life During Wartime” being released in the 70’s.  Maybe either “Once In A Lifetime” or “Road To Nowhere” will crop up in the 80’s, it would be a shocking exclusion if they were not discussed.

From the last decade, I suspect that there will be controversy surrounding two bands in particular.  In the angular heirs to Talking Heads/Magazine corner are Franz Ferdinand, the Scottish band who met in Glasgow and…  er…  only have one “Scottish” member (the drummer, Paul Thompson).  In the beige mortgage rockers corner are Snow Patrol, the mystifyingly successful band who met and formed in Dundee who all hail from…  er…  Northern Ireland.  “Take Me Out” or “Michael” are great losses to this album, personally speaking “Chasing Cars” is not such a great loss.

Tonight’s show is about the 80’s, which will be the toughest decade as this was the decade that saw a flood of Scottish bands reach the charts – most of them heavily influenced by American soul tinged pop.  I’d love to think that there will be some genuinely left field choices, I’d love to see maybe the Cocteau Twins or maybe Goodbye Mr Mckenzie get a mention, especially with the self confessed former NME reader Pat Nevin in the panel.  However I suspect that we will see these bands edged out by the welter of Simple Mind’s, Hue & Cry’s and Wet Wet Wet’s.


Stuart Winton said...

Well I sincerely hope Deacon Blue get a mention tonight. And Marillion as well, because although never particularly fashionable, they are still my second fave band ever - indeed my fave Scottish band ever - at least during the Fish era :0)

(Of course, I doubt if Marillion would qualify as Scottish post-Fish)

Allan said...

Hi Stuart.

They did, sadly Marillion didn't. Though they weren't alone in that. Shockingly they left out the Wet's (not shockingly it was to put in Bronski Beat).