Scots stars who earned their stripes CALVIN ✩HAR­RIS

From the son of a Brae­mar sur­geon to an unas­sum­ing 23-year-old from Bath­gate, meet the pop sen­sa­tions who gained the ul­ti­mate ac­co­lade... by top­ping the charts in Amer­ica

Scottish Daily Mail - - NEWS - by Jonathan Brock­le­bank j.brock­le­bank@dai­ly­

IT is a mu­si­cal fel­low­ship so

that decades can pass with­out any new mem­bers get­ting in. But this week a 23year-old who still lives with his par­ents in Bath­gate, West Loth­ian, be­came only the sec­ond mu­si­cian this cen­tury to gain en­try.

Lewis Capaldi joined the tiny clutch of Scot­tish acts to reach num­ber one in the US Bill­board Hot 100 after his plain­tive bal­lad Some­body You Loved – re­leased in the US months ago – crept to the pin­na­cle of the world’s most com­pet­i­tive pop chart.

‘I have no clue why this pi­ano bal­lad has done what it’s done,’ said Capaldi, whose song has also been num­ber one in the UK, Canada, the Czech Re­pub­lic, Ire­land and Malaysia.

The Bay City Rollers were per­haps sim­i­larly mys­ti­fied when their song Satur­day Night went to num­ber one in the States in Jan­uary 1976. It didn’t even chart in the UK.

Nor did Lulu’s To Sir with Love trou­ble the UK hit pa­rade, de­spite top­ping the Bill­board Hot 100 for five weeks in 1967, com­pletely over­shad­ow­ing her sig­na­ture hit Shout.

So who has suc­ceeded in join­ing this most eclec­tic fra­ter­nity? Not the Pro­claimers, Texas, Wet Wet Wet, Gerry Raf­ferty or even skif­fle king Lon­nie Done­gan, although a few of them came close. Here we present the Scot­tish stars who have truly earned their stripes state­side.

A World with­out Love: Peter and Gor­don (1964)

DEEMED too weak to be a Bea­tles song, Paul McCart­ney do­nated A World with­out Love to his then girl­friend Jane Asher’s brother Peter who, to­gether with for­mer school­mate Gor­don Waller, had just signed a record­ing con­tract as Peter and Gor­don.

Few may have re­alised it at the time, but when the song topped the Bill­board chart in June 1964, Waller made mu­si­cal his­tory as the first Scot ever to go to num­ber one in the United States.

He was born in Brae­mar, Aberdeen­shire, the son of a prom­i­nent sur­geon, but moved to Lon­don as a child and met Peter Asher at West­min­ster School in 1959. Waller, the more rock ’n’ roll ori­ented of the two, per­suaded Asher to broaden his jazz and blues hori­zons and em­brace pop.

The pair re­leased a string of al­bums and sin­gles in the mid-60s but never re­peated the suc­cess of their de­but hit, re­leased at the peak of Beatle­ma­nia. Thrice-mar­ried Waller lived in Corn­wall be­fore mov­ing to the US. He died in Con­necti­cut aged 64 in 2009.

Sun­shine Su­per­man: Dono­van (1966)

THOUGH only 19, Dono­van Leitch had come a long way from Glas­gow’s Mary­hill by the time he recorded this psychedeli­c pop smash in De­cem­ber 1965.

He and his fam­ily had moved to Hat­field, in Hert­ford­shire, when he was a child and, pick­ing up a guitar at 14, his ini­tial in­ter­est was in folk mu­sic. In­deed, un­til weeks be­fore this song’s re­lease, Dono­van was dis­missed by many as just an­other Dy­lan clone.

Sun­shine Su­per­man, on which fu­ture Led Zep­pelin stars Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones both play, changed all that.

It spent two weeks atop the Bill­board Hot 100 in Septem­ber 1966 and es­tab­lished Dono­van at the van­guard of the flower power move­ment.

His fol­low-up sin­gle Mel­low Yel­low did al­most as well, peak­ing at num­ber 2 in the US in 1967.

The year after that, Dono­van joined the Bea­tles on their so­journ in In­dia un­der the tute­lage of the Ma­har­ishi Ma­hesh Yogi.

Now 73, the star cred­its him­self with help­ing John Len­non and Paul McCart­ney with their guitar tech­niques.

To Sir With Love: Lulu (1967)

IT was a year not short of clas­sics. Aretha Franklin’s Re­spect went to num­ber one in the US in 1967, as did the Bea­tles’ Penny Lane, the Rolling Stones’ Ruby Tues­day, the Mon­kees’ Day­dream Be­liever and the Doors’ Light My Fire.

But when the year-end reck­on­ing was done for the Bill­board Hot 100, it was none of these which earned the dis­tinc­tion of 1967’s big­gest seller. No, that ac­co­lade went to the teenager from Glas­gow’s Den­nis­toun who was born Marie McDon­ald McLaugh­lin Lawrie.

Just 18 when the song from the film of the same name went to the top of the US charts, Lulu had al­ready been a chart star in the UK for some three years.

Her ver­sion of the Is­ley Brothers’ Shout reached num­ber seven in Britain and 1965’s Leave a Lit­tle Love also made the UK Top 10. But it was To Sir With Love – not even re­leased as an A-side in her home­land – which broke her in the

US, re­main­ing at the top for five weeks and sell­ing more than a mil­lion copies.

Lulu is a star of the film, in which an un­ruly class of white stu­dents in Lon­don’s East End are won round by their charis­matic black teacher, played by Sid­ney Poitier.

Pick up the Pieces: Av­er­age White Band (1975)

A SOUL-FUNK group from Dundee whose first four sin­gles had failed to chart any­where, Av­er­age White Band’s ex­pec­ta­tions for sin­gle num­ber five could hardly have been hum­bler.

Sure enough, the largely in­stru­men­tal Pick up the Pieces was roundly ig­nored on re­lease in the UK in July 1974. Months later, the band’s for­tunes nose­dived when drum­mer Rob­bie McIntosh died of a heroin over­dose at a show­biz party in Los Angeles.

Bassist Alan Gorrie nearly over­dosed on the same night but was kept con­scious by Cher un­til med­i­cal help ar­rived. Only with the re­lease of their al­bum AWB did US ra­dio sta­tions start to pick up on the in­fec­tious tune and its as­cent of the Bill­board Hot 100 be­gan.

Sax­o­phon­ist Mal­colm ‘Molly’ Dun­can later ad­mit­ted he had ar­gued with other band mem­bers about re­leas­ing the song as a sin­gle, telling them: ‘You’re com­pletely mad. It’s a funk in­stru­men­tal played by Scots­men with no lyrics other than a shout.’

He later said: ‘But that might be why it was a hit, and then be­came a stan­dard – be­cause it was dif­fer­ent. That “Pick up the pieces” shout just fit­ted: it’s about pick­ing your­self up when things aren’t go­ing well. We’d spent a lot of time mak­ing no money what­so­ever, so it felt very rel­e­vant.’

Dun­can, who was born in Mon­trose, died on Oc­to­ber 8 this year.

Satur­day Night: Bay City Rollers (1976)

THE Rollers’ big­gest hit in the United States may have many Scot­tish fans scratch­ing their heads. While mon­ster hits such as Shang-A-Lang and Bye Bye Baby passed the US mar­ket by, it was the lesser-known Satur­day Night which went to the top in Amer­ica on the back of a mas­sive pro­mo­tional cam­paign.

Writ­ten by Glas­gow-born Bill Mar­tin and song­writ­ing part­ner Phil Coul­ter, Satur­day Night was orig­i­nally recorded and re­leased in the UK in 1973 with Nobby Clark singing the lead vo­cal. It didn’t chart.

But after Clark left the band it was re-recorded in 1974 with a new vo­cal by his re­place­ment Les McKe­own. This ver­sion took Amer­ica by storm, reach­ing the top spot in Fe­bru­ary 1976.

It was the zenith of the band’s ca­reer and, alas, a short-lived one. Their fi­nal UK top 20 hit It’s a Game came just over a year later and there­after the Rollers resur­faced only fit­fully, of­ten with al­tered line-ups and sel­dom with­out squab­bles.

But the in­ter­nal ar­gu­ments were

never as bit­ter as those they had with Tam Pa­ton, their manager in their hey­day, who they be­lieved had pock­eted the lion’s share of their earn­ings. Pa­ton died in 2009.

Morn­ing Train (Nine to Five): Sheena Eas­ton (1981)

A SONG called 9 to 5 by home­grown star Dolly Par­ton had just topped the charts in the US, so it seemed rather far-fetched to ex­pect an­other one by an un­known from Bell­shill, La­nark­shire, to do much busi­ness state­side.

Yet, after a quick tweak of the ti­tle to avoid con­fu­sion, the Sheena Eas­ton song promptly raced up the charts, reach­ing num­ber one barely a month after Par­ton’s song left it.

It was the spring­board to huge suc­cess for the for­mer stu­dent of Glas­gow’s Royal Scot­tish Academy of Mu­sic and Drama.

First came a Bond theme, For Your Eyes Only, then a duet, We’ve Got Tonight, with Kenny Rogers.

That pre­ceded work on sev­eral songs with Prince, in­clud­ing U Got The Look, which went to num­ber two in the Hot 100 in 1987.

Eas­ton’s re­la­tion­ship with her ‘home’ fans has not al­ways been easy, how­ever. When she ap­peared at Glas­gow Green in 1990, she was booed and pelted with bot­tles by au­di­ence mem­bers an­gry at her strange transat­lantic ac­cent.

She has lived full-time in Amer­ica for decades, mak­ing fre­quent ap­pear­ances on stage in Las Ve­gas.

Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This): Eurythmics (1983)

WHEN their band The Tourists split in 1980, lovers An­nie Len­nox and Dave Ste­wart ended their re­la­tion­ship, too.

Yet their most cre­ative pe­riod to­gether was just be­gin­ning. By 1981, Aberdeen-born Len­nox and Ste­wart, from Sun­der­land, Tyne and Wear, were a synth-pop duo com­bin­ing in­stantly mem­o­rable songs with strik­ing, video-friendly fash­ions. Len­nox, the singer and the ‘face’ of the band was soon an in­ter­na­tional star and Sweet Dreams proved their com­mer­cial break­through across the world.

Iron­i­cally, the band’s record com­pany did not think the song was sin­gle ma­te­rial be­cause there was no cho­rus. Only on the back of a strong re­sponse to ra­dio plays of the song did the la­bel re­lent and re­lease it.

A string of hits fol­lowed, in­clud­ing There Must Be an An­gel (Play­ing with My Heart), Here Comes the Rain Again and Who’s That Girl?, be­fore the duo split in 1990 to pur­sue solo in­ter­ests.

Don’t You (For­get About Me): Sim­ple Minds (1985)

THE first time Sim­ple Minds heard the song that writer Keith Forsey wanted them to record it was a straight no.

As singer Jim Kerr re­called, ‘We are Sim­ple Minds – we don’t do songs that sound like Sim­ple Minds. We do our own songs.’

Bryan Ferry passed on it, too. So did Billy Idol.

Only after per­sua­sion from Kerr’s then wife Chrissie Hynde and record la­bel A&M did the band re­lent, knock off a ver­sion of it in a North Lon­don stu­dio and promptly for­get about it.

The song, which fea­tured in the movie The Break­fast Club, proved the band’s big­gest hit and gave them the Amer­i­can break­through they had hun­gered after for years.

In­deed Don’t You (For­get About Me) be­came the di­vid­ing line be­tween the old Sim­ple Minds – arty, al­ter­na­tive, cult – and the main­stream sta­dium rock­ers they be­came.

We Found Love: Rihanna fea­tur­ing Calvin Har­ris (2011)

NO Scot had been seen at the top of the Hot 100 for more than a quar­ter of a cen­tury by the time Dum­fries-born Calvin Har­ris teamed up with vo­cal­ist Rihanna for this elec­tro-pop tune.

Writ­ten and pro­duced by Har­ris, whose in­stru­men­ta­tion also forms the back­ing track, it was some­what un­fairly billed as a Rihanna track fea­tur­ing the Scot, rather than the other way round.

What­ever the cred­it­ing, it proved a mas­sive smash, rock­et­ing to num­ber one in al­most ev­ery na­tion with a pop chart. The song later ap­peared on Har­ris’s 2012 al­bum 18 Months, which boasted no fewer than nine hit sin­gles.

On the strength of that re­lease, the 6ft 5in for­mer fish fac­tory worker be­came one of the high­est earn­ing mu­si­cians on the planet, earn­ing £40mil­lion in a sin­gle year.

Now 34 and liv­ing in Los Angeles, he con­tin­ues to have the world at his feet.

Some­one You Loved: Lewis Capaldi (2019)

ON learn­ing his song had reached num­ber one in the Hot 100, Lewis Capaldi painted his face as the stars and stripes and de­clared: ‘I feel like I’m a wrestler, and I’m just walk­ing out [to the ring] and there’s an Amer­i­can flag, and I’m say­ing, “USA! USA!” That’s what I feel like, a wrestler.’

Who can blame him? He says it took six months to write the song and it spent a fur­ther six months in the US chart be­fore reach­ing the num­ber one spot.

The 23-year-old, who was born in Glas­gow, is a sec­ond cousin once re­moved to ac­tor Peter Capaldi, who stars in the video for the hit.

Some­one You Loved fea­tures on Capaldi’s de­but al­bum Di­vinely Unin­spired to a Hellish Ex­tent – which, de­spite its bizarre ti­tle, is also now sell­ing by the bar­rowload in the States.

The star, who topped the UK Sin­gles Chart for seven weeks ear­lier this year, quipped this week: ‘I’ll be able to pay the rent for the next few months.’

Honourable men­tions...

THOUGH more an honorary Scot than a real one, Rod Ste­wart has topped the US Hot 100 three times. There was Mag­gie May/Rea­son to Believe in 1971, Tonight’s the Night (Gonna Be Al­right) in 1976 and Da Ya Think I’m Sexy? in 1979.

Dire Straits, who went to num­ber one in the US with Money for Noth­ing also have a strong Scot­tish con­nec­tion. The band’s front­man Mark Knopfler was born in Glas­gow, though he con­sid­ers him­self a Ge­ordie.

Fi­nally, Glas­gow-born BA Robertson co-wrote the Mike and the Me­chan­ics hit The Liv­ing Years with Mike Rutherford. The 1989 US chart-top­per was about the loss of Robertson’s fa­ther.

Com­ing to Amer­ica: Scot­tish stars who’ve had the ul­ti­mate state­side sin­gle suc­cess

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