The Proclaimers - Hamer Hall, Arts Centre
The Proclaimers are a Scottish folk rock group fronted by identical twins Charlie and Craig Reid. Their sound captures the rustic roots rock aspect of artists like Bob Dylan, but lends equal credit to the shimmering pop and wry lyricism of acts like Orange Juice and Harry Nilsson.
The two brothers were born in Leith, Scotland and spent their childhood amongst the cities: Edinburgh, Cornwall, and Auchtermuchty. During their time in Auchtermuchty they were enrolled in Bell Baxter High School and became involved in several punk bands. The Reid brothers eventually broke out on their own and formed the Proclaimers in 1983. While this project strayed from the harder forms of punk it still incorporated many of the genres ethos and stylistic attributes; however, folk/pop seemed to be at the heart of their sound.
The Proclaimers did not release an album until several years after their formation, rather they spent a large potion of their initial stages touring. The group did release a couple demos in this early period, one of which found it’s way to the brit-pop group the Housemartins. This act showed much enthusiasm towards the demo and invited the Proclaimers to open for them on their 1986 tour.
Things seemed to fall in place for the band after this experience. In January 1987 they were featured on the TV series “The Tube” and later that year their 2nd single “Letter from America” took No .3 on the UK Singles Chart. This single appeared on their debut studio album “This Is the Story”, which was released on 29 June 1987 through Chrysalis and has since been certified gold.
Their sophomore album “Sunshine on Leith” came out a year later and boasted three hits, which included their self-titled track “Sunshine on Leith”, “I’m on My Way”, and perhaps the biggest song of their career “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)”. The latter of the singles brought them widespread international fame, topping the charts in both Australia and New Zealand and breaching the top 20 in Ireland and the UK.
This single experienced a resurgence in 1993 as it appeared on the Benny & Joon soundtrack and resultantly shot to No. 3 on the US Billboard Hot 100. This track was also extensively featured in an episode of the popular US sitcom “How I Met Your Mother” and was later re-recorded in 2007 for the Comic Relief charity. This newly revised version hit No.1 on the UK charts and also was accompanied by a successful music video chalked full of celebrities. The Proclaimers re-issued “Sunshine of Leith” in 2001 and included their popular cover of Roger Miller’s “King of The Road”, which was previously used in the Russell Crowe film “The Crossing”.
The brothers next album “Hit the Highway” did not come out until seven years later and was their only album to be released in the 90s. This album proved to be a success peaking at No. 8 on the UK Album Charts and eventually going silver. Despite this being the band’s only release of the 90s they managed to keep a strong presence in the media, having several of their songs featured in highly regarded cult films such as “Benny & Joon”, “Dumb and Dumber”, “Bye Bye Love”, “Bottle Rocket”, and “Slab Boys”.
2001 is considered somewhat of a comeback year for the Proclaimers. During this time they released their long awaited 4th studio album “Persevere” and additionally their song “I’m On My Way” was featured in the blockbuster Dreamworks’ production, “Shrek”. After their release of “Persevere” the Reids continued to steadily output material.
Their album “Born Innocent” came out on 18 November 2003 and was produced by former Orange Juice frontman Edwyn Collins. “Restless Soul” followed in 2005 and was in turn proceeded by 2007s “Life with You”, which placed at No. 13 on the charts and struck silver status. Their 8th studio album “Notes & Rhymes” was issued in 2009 and it’s follow up “Like Comedy” came out in 2012.
The Proclaimers keen sense of pop hooks, direct and often humorous lyrics have earned them a devoted fan base and a following by artists like Jens Lekman, Sondre Lerche, Camera Obscura, and Belle and Sebastain.