The best Scottish songs for Burns Night

30 November 2023, 06:00 | Updated: 25 January 2024, 10:00

Top Scottish acts: Gerry Cinnamon, CHVRCHES, Primal Scream and Biffy Clyro
Top Scottish acts: Gerry Cinnamon, CHVRCHES, Primal Scream and Biffy Clyro. Picture: JEP Live Music / Stephen Barnes/Music / Tony Clerkson / Lenscap / Alamy Stock Photo

Radio X looks at just a handful of the great songs and acts to come out of Scotland.

Radio X

By Radio X

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  1. Biffy Clyro - Re-Arrange

    Biffy Clyro - Re-arrange (Official Video)

    The Biff have been making challenging music since the mid-90s and there are many great tunes to choose from… but we like this epic track from the band’s seventh album, Ellipsis, from 2016.

  2. Gerry Cinnamon - Sometimes


    The latest hero to come out of Scotland is Glaswegian singer-songwriter Gerry Cinnamon, who has been gathering more and more fans in his home country. Following a sold-out Scottish tour at the start of 2018 and an amazing set at TRNSMT festival, he started to gain followers further afield. He’s huge now!

  3. Primal Scream - Rocks

    Primal Scream - Rocks

    After leaving The Jesus And Mary Chain in 1986, Bobby Gillespie formed his own band, Primal Scream. They released two unremarkable albums of traditional garage rock, but it wasn't until producer Andrew Weatherall remixed their song I'm Losing More Than I'll Ever Have to produce Loaded that the world started to take notice. Rocks is the Scream's most Stones-ish moment, taken from their 1994 album Give Out But Don't Give Up.

  4. CHVRCHES - Leave A Trace

    CHVRCHES - Leave A Trace

    The electro-rock trio of Lauren Mayberry, Iain Cook and Martin Doherty were one of the hottest bands to come out of 2013 and have already appeared on US TV and supported Depeche Mode in the States. This graceful tune is one of the best from their second album Every Open Eye.

  5. Franz Ferdinand - Do You Want To

    Franz Ferdinand - Do You Want To (Official Video)

    Taken from Alex Karpanos and co's second album, You Could Have It So Much Better, from 2005, this was the lead single and made Number 4 in the UK singles chart.

  6. The Fratellis - Chelsea Dagger

    The Fratellis - Chelsea Dagger

    Jon, Barry and Mince Fratelli (no relation, honest) formed in 2005 and hit the big time with this, their second single. A tribute to Jon's wife Heather and her burlesque alter ego, Chelsea, it appeared on their debut album Costello Music. After a brief hiatus, the band returned in 2013 with their third album, We Need Medicine.

  7. Belle And Sebastian - The Boy With The Arab Strap

    Belle and Sebastian - The Boy With the Arab Strap

    Taking their name from an obscure French TV show for children, Stuart Murdoch and his gentle indie pop collective forged an acclaimed career starting with 1996's Tigermilk. The winsome image belied some suggestive and frank lyrics, never more so on this song about a sex aid, which wound up being used as the theme tune to the TV series Teachers.

  8. Idlewild - You Held The World In Your Arms

    IDLEWILD - you held the world in your arms

    Edinburgh's Idlewild kicked off a distinguished career with the rowdy Captain mini-album in 1997 and went on to release six full-length LPs. You Held The World In Your Arms is taken from their 2002 album The Remote Part and was their biggest hit, making Number 9 in the UK chart.

  9. Travis - Sing

    Travis - Sing (Official Video)

    Glasgow's Travis hit paydirt with their second album, The Man Who, in 1999 that spawned the hits Writing To Reach You and Why Does It Always Rain On me. Their third, The Invisible Band, followed in 2001 and the opener Sing is one of their most delicate moments.

  10. Django Django - Default

    Django Django - Default (Official Video)

    One of the high points of the self-titled 2012 debut album by the art-rockers from Edinburgh. Their third album, Marble Skies, was released in January 2018.

  11. Jesus And Mary Chain - April Skies

    The Jesus And Mary Chain - April Skies (Official Video)

    East Kilbride's Jim and William Reid formed one of the most influential post-punk acts in 1983 with the JAMC. Originally revelling in controversial noise-rock (with original drummer Bobby Gillespie) on their debut Psychocandy, the group then ventured into more accessible areas, having a hit with their 1987 album, Darklands.

  12. Bis - Kandy Pop

    Kandy Pop by bis

    The Glaswgian indie-pop trio of Manda Rin, John Disco and Sci-Fi Steven made a splash in 1995 when they appeared on Top Of The Pops without a record contract, performing this quirky classic. They soon signed to the uber-cool Scottish label Chemikal Underground, before ending up on Wiiija. They split in 2003, had a brief reunion in 2007 and came back in earnest with new material in 2009.

  13. The View - Same Jeans

    The View - Same Jeans

    The finest song to come from the pen of singer Kyle Falconer, this is one of the Dundee band's most appealing hits, taken from their debut album, 2007's Hats Off To The Buskers.

  14. Marmaduke Duke - Rubber Lover

    Marmaduke Duke - Rubber Lover (Official Video)

    The duo of Biffy Clyro's Simon Neil and JP Reid of fellow Ayrshire band Sucioperro, Marmaduke Duke made two conceptual albums: 2005's The Magnificent Duke and Duke Pandemonium (2009), from which this excellent track is taken.

  15. Edwyn Collins - A Girl Like You

    Edwyn Collins - A Girl Like You (Official Video)

    After Orange Juice split in 1985, singer Collins went solo and had his biggest hit with this jazzy 1995 single. The musician’s career had a major setback in 2005 when he suffered two cerebral haemorrhages which took him years to recover from. Thankfully, he’s recording again and released his eighth solo album, Understated, in 2013.

  16. Glasvegas - Daddy's Gone

    Daddy's Gone

    Hailing - obviously - from Glasgow (Dalmarnock, to be precise), cousins James and Rab Allan form the core of this quartet, which takes its cues from the Phil Spector-influenced noise of fellow Scots The Jesus And Mary Chain. This is one of their most heartbreaking and bleak anthems.

  17. Teenage Fanclub - God Knows It's True

    Teenage Fanclub - God Knows It's True

    Formed in Belshill, North Lanarkshire, Teenage Fanclub were lovers of classic American power-pop and ended up signed to Alan McGee's Creation label. This classic track, however, was issued on the short-lived Paperhouse label in 1990.

  18. Twin Atlantic - Heart And Soul

    Twin Atlantic - Heart And Soul

    One of the most exciting Scottish rock bands of recent years, Glasgow's Twin Atlantic have released four albums: Vivarium (2009), Free (2011), Great Divide (2014) and GLA (2016). The storming Heart And Soul is from the third and was released as a single.

  19. The Bluebells - Young At Heart

    The Bluebells - Young At Heart (Official Video)

    This classic 80s tune was originally recorded by Bananarama, but was co-written by the trio and Fahey’s partner at the time, Robert Hodgens. As Bobby Bluebell he later re-recorded the song with his own band and took it to Number 8 in the charts in 1984. It reached the top spot 9 years later after being included on a TV ad for the Volkswagen Golf.