These Scottish musicians will inspire you to visit all the regions of Scotland. From the vibrant cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow to the beautiful and rugged Highlands and peaceful, breathtaking islands, this playlist will accompany you on your special trip abroad.
1. Deacon Blue
These Scottish musicians formed their rock band in Glasgow in 1985. Since their debut, they have released eight studio albums and have become one of the most beloved acts of the Scottish indie music scene. While the band split in 1994, they have since held reunion gigs and work on a part-time basis-releasing their latest concert album in March of 2017. Three of my favorite songs are “Chocolate Girl,” “Dignity,” and “This is a Love Song.”
Identical twin brothers, Craig and Charlie Reid, rose to global success in the late 1980’s. They play a charismatic melody of rock, folk, soul and country, and complement it with their thick Scottish accents. The red-headed duo is still playing tunes and are most notable for “Sunshine on Leith” and “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” after appearing in the movie Benny and Joon.
3. Susan Boyle
While most everyone in the U.S. is familiar with Howie and Simon on America’s Got Talent, Susan Boyle began her career on Britain’s Got Talent. Born in 1961 in West Lothian, Susan began singing at an early age and attended Edinburgh Acting School and took part in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, which happens every August. In 2008, she appeared on the talent show and mesmerized everyone with her beautiful rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Misérables. With the voice of an angel, she continues to impress us all with her natural talent.
This Scottish-Irish rock band formed in Edinburgh in 1983. Comprised of musicians from around the British Isles, Mike Scott has remained the only constant member. The group reformed in 2000 and continues to release albums and tour worldwide. There is no doubt you will be singing along to “Fisherman’s Blues” if you’re a fan of this group. “The Soul Singer” and “The Whole of the Moon” are also great songs to add to your mix.
5. Simple Minds
The 1985 song “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” became an international hit with the Breakfast Club. Formed in Glasgow in 1977, their string of hit singles continues to capture the hearts of people around the globe. A few of my favorites are “Alive and Kicking,” “Belfast Child,” and “Waterfront.”
6. Amy MacDonald
Selling over 12 million records worldwide, this Scottish singer-songwriter and guitarist started her career in 2007. Born in 1987, she is topping European charts with her Celtic-tinged folk beats. I’m sure the world will hear more about her success in the coming years. If you would like to be introduced to her talent, I recommend listening to “This is the Life.”
Runrig was formed in 1973 by several Scottish musicians on the Isle of Skye. They play traditional folk music with a defined rock beat. The band has gone through lineup changes over the years, but will always be known for taking pride in their heritage and spirited energy. One of their most well-known tunes is “Loch Lomond,” so while you are cruising along the Bonnie Banks on your Scotland trip, be sure to add this to your playlist.
8. Annie Lennox
Born in 1954, this Scottish singer-songwriter broke onto the scene and achieved international success with the British band the Eurythmics. Their hit, “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” rose of the top in the charts in the 1980’s. It wasn’t until 1992 that Lennox decided to embark on a solo career and continued to impress and captivate people with her enchanting voice and especially with the singles, “No More I Love You’s,” “Walking on Broken Glass,” and “Why.”
9. Julie Fowlis
Born in 1978, this folk singer and multi-instrumentalist has been deeply influenced by her upbringing in the Outer Hebrides. Singing many songs in Scottish Gaelic, her intoxicating vocals have received countless praise from the music industry. She will forever be recognized for singing the theme song “Touch the Sky” for Disney Pixar’s Brave. “Go Your Way,” “Sméorach Chlann Dòmhnaill,” and “Tha Mo Ghaol Air Àird a’ Chuain” are definitely worth a listen.
10. Frightened Rabbit
Formed in Selkirk in 2004, this Scottish rock band played clever tunes that were a bit bolder than their name would suggest. Initially a solo project for vocalist and guitarist Scott Hutchison, the final group consisted of Scott, his brother Grant on drums, Billy Kennedy on guitar and bass, Andy Monaghan on guitar and keyboards and Simon Liddell on guitar. Sadly in May of 2018, Scott Hutchison passed away and the group disbanded. “Get Out,” “Good Arms vs Bad Arms,” and “Woke Up Hurting” are a few of my go-to jams.
Although he’s not one of our Scottish musicians, the Scottish poet Robert Burns penned the famous “Auld Lang Syne” in 1788. As we are all counting down the days until the new year, hopefully you will bid adieu to 2020 at the stroke of midnight with this song sung by Scottish folk singer, Mairi Campbell.