Share photos of famous musicians or enlist your favorite songs.

10 Most Popular Scottish Bands of All Time

10 Most Popular Scottish Bands of All Time

Scotland has a rich and vibrant culture synonymous with whiskey, bagpipes, kilts, and a lush countryside. But today, it gives us a lot more, and when it comes to music, they have some of the best talents in the world. This Melodyful article brings you the 10 most famous Scottish bands from varied genres and timelines.
Rashmi Sunder
The Devil's in the Details!
The band 'Mogwai' got their name from the characters of the film Gremlins. In Cantonese, it means "devil" or "evil spirit".
When we think of Scottish music, we think bagpipes and drums and men in bright red, white, and green plaid kilts. But the roots go much deeper, and it has today evolved into something else altogether. The first ever string instrument found was a lyre on the Isle of Skye in 2300 BCE. Today, string instruments are represented by guitars, men in kilts are replaced by those in skinny jeans and ruffled hair (or none at all!), and the traditional folk music has been superseded by pop, rock, punk alternative, and indie music.
Pop and Rock came to Scotland in the '50s and '60s, but it truly erupted onto the scene in the '70s. But come the '80s, and the punk scene and the metal heads vied with each other, both making their presence felt amongst the Scots. Today, this cross-cultural musical evolution has paved the way for renowned bands, with a new genre being added to the pack each decade by different musicians.
So let's have a look at 10 of the greatest Scottish bands that have influenced the young and the old, and left behind their footprints not only on their homeland, but across the globe.
Origin: Edinburgh, Scotland
Genre: Pop, Power Pop, Glam Rock
Operative Years: 1966-1987, 1990, 1998-2000
Members: Eric Faulkner, Les McKeown, Alan Longmuir, Derek Longmuir, Stuart Wood (most successful lineup).
Description: These '60s' pop sensations were considered to be the next big thing after The Beatles following a string of Top 10 Hits in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia. Their signature look of tartan pants and scarves saluted their Scottish background, and influenced many of their fans' fashion statements.

Noted Work
Singles: Keep On Dancing, Saturday Night, Remember (Sha La La La), Shang-a-Lang, Summerlove Sensation, All of Me Loves All of You, Give a Little Love, Money Honey, You Made Me Believe in Magic.

Albums: Rollin', Once Upon a Star, Bay City Rollers, Wouldn't You Like It?, Dedication, Rock n' Roll Love Letter, It's a Game.
Origin: Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland
Genre: Celtic Rock, Alternative Rock, New-Wave
Operative Years: 1981-2000,2007, 2010-present
Members: Stuart Adamson (died), Bruce Watson, Mike Brzezicki (since inception), Tony Butler (past) Jamie Watson, Derek Forbes, Simon Hough (Current Additions).
Description: This '80s band has gone through a couple of lineup changes, but have remained one of the most popular bands, which blended Scottish folk and traditional sounds with their highly engineered guitar playing, which was reminiscent of the sounds of bagpipes and fiddles.

Noted Work:
Singles: Fields of Fire (400 miles), In a Big Country, Wonderland, Look Away.

Albums: The Crossing, Steeltown, The Seer, Peace in Our Time.
Origin: Kilmarnock, Scotland
Genre: Experimental Rock, Alternative Rock
Operative Years: 1995-present
Members: Simon Neil, James Johnston, Ben Johnston.
Description: Comprising twins Ben and James, and friend Simon, this band started out in the '90s and has evolved from dissonant music with complicated patterns, to simpler sharper rhythms, melodies, and gritty instrumentals when the songs called for it. They have opened for many noted bands like The Who, The Rolling Stones, Foo Fighters, Linkin Park, Weezer, Muse, and Metallica, amongst others.

Noted Work:
Singles: Glitter and Trauma, My Recovery Injection, Semi-Mental, Saturday Superhouse, Machines, Mountains, That Golden Rule, The Captain.

Albums: Blackened Sky, The Vertigo of Bliss, Puzzle, Opposites, Only Revolutions.
Origin: Glasgow, Scotland
Genre: Alternative Rock
Operative Years: 1983-2002, 2013-present
Members: Justin Currie, Iain Harvey, Ashley Soan, Kris Dollimore, Andy Alston (current).
Description: Another band that had gone through a series of lineup changes throughout their journey, they have created music that has given them five Top 10 Albums in the UK and numerous Top 10, Top 20, and Top 40 hits. They have evolved from pop, mid-tempo guitar rock to a harder, yet melodic band with well-thought-out lyrics.

Noted Work:
Singles: Kiss This Thing Goodbye, Spit the Rain, Nothing ever happens, Always the Last To Know, Roll to Me, Don't Come Home Too Soon.

Albums: Waking Hours, Change Everything, Some Other Sucker's Parade, and Hatful of Rain: The Best of Del Amitri.
Origin: Glasgow, Scotland
Genre: Indie Rock, Dance Rock, Art Rock
Operative Years: 2002-present
Members: Alex Kapranos, Nick McCarthy, Bob Hardy, Paul Thomson.
Description: Franz Ferdinand exploded in the 21st century with their catchy beats, tight hooks, avant-garde videos, and inventive instrumentals. Their unique musicality has earned them 2 Brit Awards, a couple of Grammy Award nominations, an NME Award, and an Ivor Novello Award.

Noted Work:
Singles: Take Me Out, This Fire, The Dark of the Matinee, Eleanor Put Your Boots On, Walk Away, Do You Want To, The Fallen/ L. Wells, Ulysses, No You Girls, Can't Stop Feeling, Darts of Pleasure, What She Came For, Lucid Dreams, Right Action, Love Illumination, Bullets, Evil Eye.

Albums: Franz Ferdinand, You Could Have It So Much Better, Tonight: Franz Ferdinand.
Origin: Glasgow, Scotland
Genre: Instrumental, Post, and Electronic Rock
Operative Years: 1995-present
Members: Stuart Braithwaite, Dominic Aitchison, Martin Bulloch, John Cummings, Barry Burns.
Description: From post-rock to electronic, Mogwai has ranged across genres to give us heavily instrumental music that is influenced by the likes of Fugazi, Slint, The Cure, Sonic Youth, and My Bloody Valentine, among others. Their riffs turn from tranquil to heavy, their tracks have skilled progressions, and the compositions are well-built.

Noted Work:
Singles: Like Herod, Tracy, R U Still in 2 It?, Mogwai Fear Satan, 2 Rights Make 1 Wrong, Killing All the Flies, Hunted by a Freak, Auto Rock, Travel is Dangerous, We're Not Here, Friend of the Night.

Albums: Mogwai Young Team, Come On, Die Young, Rock Action, Mr. Beast, Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will.
Origin: Glasgow, Scotland
Genre: Psychedelic Rock, Electronica, Indie Pop
Operative Years: 1982 - present
Members: Bobby Gillespie, Andrew Innes, Martin Duffy, Darrin Mooney, Barry Cadogan, Simone Butler, Kevin Shields.
Description: With numerous changeovers in the lineup, the band evolved from new-wave scenes to a more synthesized, electronic feel, sometimes falling in the dance-rock, indie pop genres, while at other times, showing a more psychedelic, darker groove.

Noted Work:
Singles: Slip Inside This House, Loaded, Kowalski, Motörhead, Rocks, Swastika Eyes, Accelerator, Some Velvet Morning, Country Girl, Nitty Gritty, Dolls (Sweet Rock and Roll), Urban Guerrilla, Sometimes I Feel So Lonely, Can't Go Back, 2013, It's Alright, It's OK.

Albums: Screamadelica, Vanishing Point, XTRMNTR, Riot City Blues, Beautiful Future, More Light.
Origin: Glasgow, Scotland
Genre: Pop Rock, New Wave, Alternative Rock
Operative Years: 1977-present
Members: Jim Kerr, Charlie Burchill, Mel Gaynor, Andy Gillespie, Ged Grimes.
Description: Simple Minds is a band that broke out in the '70s, and is known for their dark, experimental style, which later grew into minimalistic rhythm structures, unconventional time signatures, an electronic vibe, unusual sequencing, and heavily processed riffs. In their later years, their music reflected a pop feel with an acoustic and folk influence. Their lyrics eventually were fueled by political events.

Noted Work:
Singles: The American, Love Song, Someone Somewhere in Summertime, Promised You a Miracle, Glittering Prize, Up on the Catwalk, Speed Your Love to Me, Waterfront, Street Hassle, All the Things She Said, Alive and Kicking, Sanctify Yourself, This is Your Land, Kick It In, Mandela Day, Belfast Child, Biko, Don't You (Forget About Me).

Albums: Sons and Fascination/Sister Feelings Call, New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84), Sparkle in the Rain, Once Upon a Time, Street Fighting Years.
Origin: Glasgow, Scotland
Genre: Pop Rock, Britpop, Alternative Rock
Operative Years: 1986-present
Members: Sharleen Spiteri, Ally McErlaine, Johnny McElhone, Eddie Campbell, Tony McGovern, Michael Bannister, Ross McFarlane.
Description: Texas' music was a form of modern rock influenced by blues, R&B, soul, and folk music, with touches of pop here and there. They slowly evolved into a more edgy Rock n' Roll group with continued success and a huge fan base. Eventually, they introduced a hip-hop feel along with ambient melodies, and are one of the most well-recognized bands of their time.

Noted Work:
Singles: I Don't Want a Lover, So Called Friend, So In Love With You, Say What You Want, Halo, Black Eyed Boy, Put Your Arms Around Me, In Our Lifetime, Summer Sun, When We Are Together, In Demand, Inner Smile, Carnival Girl, I'll See It Through, Get Away, Can't Resist, Sleep.

Albums: Southside, White on Blonde, The Hush, The Greatest Hits, Careful What You Wish For, Red Book.
Origin: Glasgow, Scotland
Genre: Indie Rock, Folk Rock, Alternative Rock
Operative Years: 1990-present
Members: Fran Healy, Andy Dunlop, Dougie Payne, Neil Primrose.
Description: Travis started out as a band with bold, hard-hitting tunes that slowly shifted to more melodic but melancholic tones, which was not received well by critics. Over the years, they turned to Britpop, creating harmonies with a 12-string. For a while, they went back to the moody, political, and raw feel. As time passed, they created engaging and touching lyrics, and simpler but speedy melodies. They have been the inspiration for bands such as Coldplay and Keane.

Noted Work:
Singles: All I Want to Do is Rock, U16 Girls, Tied to the 90s, Happy, More Than Us, Writing to Reach You, Driftwood, Turn, Why Does It Always Rain on Me?, Sing, Side, Flowers in the Window, The Beautiful Occupation, Re-Offender, Love Will Come Through, Selfish Jean, Closer, My Eyes, J. Smith, Something Anything, Song to Self, Moving, Where You Stand, Another Guy.

Albums: Where You Stand, Ode to J. Smith, The Boy with No Name, 12 Memories, The Invisible Band, The Man Who, Good Feeling.
  • The Proclaimers
  • Belle & Sebastian
  • Average White Band
  • The Rezillos
  • Dogs Die in Hot Cars
  • The Shamen
  • Orange Juice
  • Josef K.
  • Rudrig
  • The Exploited
  • Teenage Fanclub
  • Nazareth
When it comes to music, the wide range of options and talents that we are faced with make it hard to pick favorites. But these bands have changed the way we look at music in each of their respective genres, and have influenced and inspired the many who have followed in their footsteps, in their journey to make the world a better place with their music.

So do tell us who your favorite is, and if you have some names not mentioned on the list, let us know!