McCart­ney’s pipe band play­ers re­make his­tory

Campbeltown Courier - - FRONT PAGE - Exclusive words and pic­tures MARK DAVEY

BAGPIPERS and drum­mers who played on the best sell­ing Bri­tish sin­gle ever reprised their roles in Camp­bel­town. Paul McCart­ney and Denny Laine’s an­them Mull of Kin­tyre owes much to seven pipers and seven drum­mers from Kin­tyre’s Camp­bel­town Pipe Band.

Some of the sur­viv­ing mem­bers met, last Satur­day, at the Linda McCart­ney memo­rial gar­den for an in­for­mal event to mark the 40th an­niver­sary.

LIKE MIST rolling in from the sea a group of leg­endary bagpipers and drum­mers slowly as­sem­bled for a spe­cial Camp­bel­town 40th an­niver­sary.

Sur­rounded by Be­go­nias, the bronze statue of Linda McCart­ney sat silent as the joy­ous an­them, Mull of Kin­tyre, filled Shore Street’s memo­rial gar­den last Satur­day af­ter­noon.

The sur­viv­ing mem­bers of Camp­bel­town Pipe Band, who played on Paul McCart­ney and Denny Laine’s hit Mull of Kin­tyre, 1977’s Christ­mas num­ber one, re­con­vened for the first time since a 1979 Glas­gow Apollo gig.

Fur­thest trav­elled, from Mel­bourne, Aus­tralia, was also the youngest, drum­mer Jimmy McGeachy, 55, 14 at the time the song was recorded, in one take, at High Park Farm, in the sum­mer of 1977.

Archie Coffield, from New­bury, flew from Southamp­ton to join the other mem­bers who still stay in Kin­tyre.

Sur­viv­ing mem­bers un­able to at­tend were: Davie McIvor from Aberdeen, John Mc­Cal­lum from Canada, Davie Hastie from Is­lay, for­mer RAF mu­si­cian Des Martin and Neil McDon­ald.

The mu­si­cians were watched by many fam­ily mem­bers in­clud­ing sons, daugh­ters and grand­chil­dren and a cou­ple of tourists who heard the pipes and in­ves­ti­gated.

Many who filmed, on phones and cam­eras, as the band per­formed the song twice, ad­mit­ted

to find­ing the oc­ca­sion very emo­tional. Cur­rent KSPB pipe ma­jor Julie Blue watched as her fa­ther Tommy played the bass drum.

Ian Camp­bell said: ‘Orig­i­nally the song was recorded in one take with seven pipers and seven drum­mers.

‘Vir­tu­ally the whole band played for the video recorded on Sad­dell beach.’

John McGeachy added: ‘It was great at the time. I had just turned 21 and there was lots of spin offs and trips to London.’

Jimmy McGeachy em­i­grated to Aus­tralia in 1989, where he works in sales and keeps his hand in as a drum­mer in a Mel­bourne cov­ers band the Fat­cats.

‘Paul last played in Mel­bourne in 1993 and he in­vited me to the party af­ter­wards. Linda was there and it was a great night. ‘He will be back there this year too in De­cem­ber. ‘The last time I was in Camp­bel­town was fourand-a-half years ago for my dad’s 80th.’

John Brown said: ‘I last saw Paul out on the street in Camp­bel­town eight years ago. He was in great form and pleased to be speak­ing with one of the band. The last time we per­formed Mull of Kin­tyre, in a con­cert as a band was at the Glas­gow Apollo in 1979.

‘It was a two-night show and the first night they had a solo piper. On the sec­ond night we were at the front of the stage and the band called us up.’

Sur­pris­ingly, al­though most of the band re­main in Kin­tyre, this was the most com­plete re­union since those heady 1970s’ years.

Paul McCart­ney was in­vited but was un­able to at­tend.

The play­ing and non-play­ing sur­viv­ing mem­bers who at­tended the re­union gather around the Linda McCart­ney memo­rial. From left they are: Ian McKer­ral, Tommy Blue, Ian Mc­Cal­lum, John McGeachy, Dun­can Ram­say, Archie Coffield, Ian Camp­bell, Jimmy McGeachy, Peter Mc­Cal­lum and John Brown.


The band mem­bers, their rel­a­tives and friends.


Drum­mer Tommy Blue pours a glass of Prosecco for his daugh­ter KSPB pipe ma­jor Julie Blue.


As the band played non-play­ing mem­bers filmed the event.


The play­ing mem­bers about to launch into the song were from left: Tommy Blue, Ian Camp­bell, Jimmy McGeachy, Ian McKer­ral, John McGeachy and John Brown.


Rel­a­tives and grand­chil­dren watched be­fore the band con­vened.


John McGeachy, Tommy Blue, Peter Mc­Cal­lum and Ian Mc­Cal­lum supped beer as well as sparkling wine.

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