The 25 Best Scottish Songs

25 January 2018, 17:34 | Updated: 26 January 2018, 15:05

Scottish Bands
Scottish Bands. Picture: Getty/Press

To celebrate Burns Night, Radio X looks at just a handful of the great songs and acts to come out of Scotland.

  1. Biffy Clyro - Re-Arrange

    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. Franz Ferdinand - Do You Want To

    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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Travis - Sing

    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.

  9. Django Django - Default

    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.

  10. Jesus And Mary Chain - April Skies

    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.

  11. Bis - Kandy Pop

    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.

  12. Orange Juice - Rip It Up

    Hailing from the Glasgow suburb of Bearsden and originally signed to the super-cool Postcard label, Orange Juice were fronted by the crooning voice of Edwyn Collins and made the UK Top 10 in 1983 with this laid-back track. It was one of the first hits to use the Roland TB-303 bass sequencer that would become synonymous with the sound of acid house a few years later.

  13. 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. Mogwai - Coolverine

    Glasgow's foremost exponents of post-rock, Mogwai have become world famous across the past two decades. Their dark, dense, mainly instrumental sound has seen them venture into the world of soundtracks, most recently on the French TV series, Les Revenants. Coolverine is the opening track of their ninth album, Every Country’s Sun.

  15. Marmaduke Duke - Rubber Lover

    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.

  16. Edwyn Collins - A Girl Like You

    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.

  17. Glasvegas - 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.

  18. The Supernaturals - Smile

    A quintet from Glasgow, the band were best known for their 1997 hit, Smile, which was taken from their debut album It Doesn't Matter Anymore. The Supernaturals called it a day in 2005, with the members pursuing other projects.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. The Associates - Party Fears Two

    This Dundee duo were formed of guitarist Alan Rankine and charismatic singer Billy Mackenzie. They originally signed to Fiction Records at the same time as The Cure in 1978, but later spent a fortune on the major label Warner Bros, where they had hits with Party Fears Two and Club Country in 1982. The wheels fell off their career soon after and Mackenzie sadly died by suicide in 1997 aged 39.

  22. The Skids - Into The Valley

    Dunfermline’s Skids were fronted by Richard Jobson and featured the hugely-talented Stuart Adamson on guitar. This rabble-rousing, difficult-to-understand classic made Number 10 in the UK charts in March 1979. Jobson later became a television presenter, while Adamson formed the much-loved Big Country and tragically killed himself in 2001.

  23. The Bluebells - Young At Heart

    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.

  24. Altered Images - Happy Birthday

    This Glasgwegian post-punk outfit were fronted by the 19-year-old singer Clare Grogan, who also made an appearance in the resolutely Scottish comedy Gregory’s Girl. She continued her acting career after the demise of the band, most notably playing Craig Charles’ object of desire, Kochanski, in Red Dwarf.

  25. Aztec Camera - Somewhere In My Heart

    Based around East Kilbride singer-songwriter Roddy Frame, Aztec Camera had a minor hit in 1983 with Oblivious, but it was this wistful track that hit No 3 in the summer of 1988.