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Growing up in Auchtermuchty, Fife, the pair attended Bell Baxter High School and while there, their musical talents were sparked when Craig was given a ‘beaten up drum kit’ and Charlie, a guitar.
The pair, influenced by the likes of The Rolling Stones, Sex Pistols and The Jam, first love was punk, playing in bands like Black Flag, the Hippy Hasslers and Reasons For Emotion. They adopted the moniker The Proclaimers when they became an acoustic duo in 1983 and quickly developed a dedicated fan base in Scotland.
It was in 1984 that they wrote the first of their signature tracks, Letter To America, but their path to stardom really began when Kevin Rowland, of Dexys Midnight Runners fame, helped them produce a demo album, which, in turn led The Housemartins to invite them to be their support act on their 1986 tour.
A year later, they appeared on Channel 4’s The Tube, bringing them to the attention of Chrysalis Records who signed them, releasing their first album, This Is The Story, later in 1987.
Letter from America, remixed by the late Gerry Rafferty, gave them their first Top 10 single, it peaked at No 3, and saw them make their Top of The Pops debut on December 12, 1987.
It was their second album, Sunshine On Leith (1988), however, that saw the Reids become serious players in the pop world. I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles), which reached No 1 in Australia and New Zealand, I’m On My Way, and the title track, which was adopted by Hibernian football club as an anthem, made the brothers global stars.
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At the 1989 Glasonbury Festival, they played to their biggest audience yet, some 65,000 festival goers. The EP King of the Road followed in 1990 and the use of I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) in the 1993 movie Benny & Joon saw the pair booked to support Bon Jovi at Madison Square Garden and on tour.
1994 saw The Proclaimers’ third studio album, Hit the Highway, released. It contained another classic track, Let’s Get Married.
Hollywood beckoned again when Craig and Charlie recorded a cover of The Temptations’ Get Ready for the 1994 film Dumb and Dumber, after which the two kept a low profile until their comeback album, Persevere, in 2001.
The Best of The Proclaimers their first greatest hits album, was released on 15 April 2002 followed by the albums Born Innocent (2003), Finest (2003), Restless Soul (2005), Life with You (2007), Notes & Rhymes (2009), Like Comedy (2012), The Very Best Of: 25 Years 1987-2012 (2013), Let’s Hear It for the Dogs (2015) and Angry Cyclist in 2018.
In 2007, their songs were brought together in the stage musical Sunshine on Leith, which premiered at Dundee Rep, and in 2013 a movie adaptation of the musical proved a box office hit.
Edinburgh fans, however, will have to wait a bit to wish the brothers a belated Happy Birthday, their current tour brings them to the Edinburgh Playhouse on December 9th and 10th.
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