SCOTLAND’S contribution over the decades to rock and pop has been immense. Starting today with the 1960s, we will be looking at some of the biggest names. Many are still familiar; others less so. The list here is necessarily incomplete. Let us know what you think. Who did we miss out, and why do they deserve to be remembered?


Acoustic guitarist who blew away fans, critics and fellow musicians with his extraordinarily assured playing and the haunting songs on his debut album, Bert Jansch (1965). The songs included one of his most celebrated compositions, Needle of Death (much later covered by Neil Young); the album itself was performed on borrowed guitars and recorded on a reel-to-reel tape deck. Many musicians would cite him as a key inspiration.

Jansch released It Don’t Bother Me (1965), Jack Orion (1966), and Bert and John (1966), an album of duets with John Renbourn. He was part of the ‘supergroup’ Pentangle between 1967 and 1973, after which he returned to his increasingly adventurous solo career. Later albums such as Crimson Moon (2000) and The Black Swan (2006) saw him work with, and be admired by, a younger generation of musicians. He died in October 2011.


THAT raw, compelling voice stretches ‘Well’ across several syllables and six seconds before declaring, ‘You know you make me wanna shout!’ That single, ‘Shout’ by Lulu and the Luvvers, signalled the arrival of a 15-year-old talent from Glasgow. It peaked at number seven in the charts; she would follow it with a number one hit, To Sir With Love (1967), the soulful Oh Me Oh My (I’m a Fool for You Baby), and the 1974 Bowie collaboration, The Man Who Sold the World and, that same year, the Bond theme song, The Man with the Golden Gun. She has had hits in five consecutive decades, both as a solo act and in association with everyone from Elton John to Take That, Ronan Keating, Sting and Bobby Womack.


LONG before he teamed with a Glasgow band, Tear Gas, to form the Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Harvey was one of the most singular characters on the Scottish scene in the 1960s. “I’d never heard a guitar played the way Alex did – he was hitting it – and he shouted more than he sang”, Bill Patrick, who played alongside Harvey in an early group, is quoted in Brian Hogg’s The History of Scottish Rock and Pop. “The result was very, very exciting. He tried to play in a country style while I preferred jazz, and while knocking the numbers about came up with, I suppose, Scottish rock’n’roll”.

In 1957 Harvey won a newspaper competition to find Scotland’s answer to Tommy Steele: his charisma and musical talents put him miles ahead of the 600 other hopefuls. A sequence of bands ensued, culminating in the Alex Harvey Soul Band, who were dynamite on stage and released an album in 1964. Harvey died in February 1982.


This innovative, much-loved guitarist and songwriter was born in Surrey but he was brought to Glasgow at a young age by his father. At school, he proved to be academically gifted - his boyhood interests included ornithology and the work of the French Impressionists – and though Glasgow could be rough (he once said of it, “you went out and kicked a few heads or you where looked on as a pansy”), it would prove pivotal in his musical development: it was in Glasgow that he picked up his first guitar and learned how to play it. Hamish Imlach was a considerable influence on the young Martyn’s guitar abilities. Martyn graduated to some of the local folk clubs. At length, London beckoned: and in October 1967 he released his debut album, London Conversation. A second album, The Tumbler, followed 14 months later. It was the birth of a remarkable career full of outstanding achievements. Martyn died, aged 60, in January 2009.


THE story of progressive rock in this country owes much to this adventurous Scottish trio – Ian Ellis (bass/vocals), Billy Ritchie (organ) and Harry Hughes (drums). Initially known as 1-2-3, they supported Jimi Hendrix at two London gigs in May 1967. David Bowie was an early fan and hung around with them. “We’d just been signed by Brian Epstein and David thought we were the next big thing, as did we”, Ritchie recalled in 2012. Re-named Clouds in 1968, they signed to a major label and released three albums. They were years ahead of their time but, despite their musical gifts and favourable reviews, Clouds didn’t get the success they deserved. They did, however, influence several key prog-rock bands. “We simply weren’t showmen and distrusted those who were. But I’d have to concede that all those other bands took something clever and non-commercial – us – and made it more popular and successful”, Ritchie said.


THIS ground-breaking and hugely influential group emerged from the Scottish folk scene. Robin Williamson, Clive Palmer and Mike Heron released a debut album in 1966 (“We kind of invented this kind of music we wanted to listen to”, Heron would later say), but then Williamson and Palmer went abroad. Multi-instrumentalists Heron and Williamson reformed the ISB as a duo and made a series of visionary albums, including The 5000 Spirits or The Layers of the Onion, and The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter. Led Zeppelin, David Bowie and Paul McCartney were all admirers. As author Rob Young observes in his book, Electric Eden, the duo had by the decade’s end become a cult hit with fans and critics, one broadsheet writer going so far as to say that they now rivalled the Beatles in being “the most important influence in songwriting”. Their distinctive music, influenced by music from across the world, is today as arresting as it ever was. Listen to Chinese White, the opening track on The 5000 Spirits.


Inspired by Greta Thunberg, Donovan, 73, last month released Eco-Song, an album of songs with an eco theme.

It’s a startling thought that his career began in his teens. By the time he released his masterwork album, Sunshine Superman, in 1965, he was only 19; he had already had four top 20 singles and had won an Ivor Novello award for his very first song, the timeless Catch The Wind.

The Sunshine Superman album is said to have ushered in the psychedelic era, while the title song itself is one of the signature hits of the Summer of Love.

Donovan influenced, and was a great friend of, the Beatles; and among his other achievements he was writing about climate change when the subject was decidedly unfashionable.


IN late 1964 this Glasgow beat combo peaked at number 31 in the British charts with Now We’re Thru. The group had impressed the Rolling Stones manager, Andrew Loog Oldham (“They’re the first group I’ve wanted to record since I found the Rolling Stones”, he said), and they found themselves part of Jagger & co’s circle. The song, which can be heard on YouTube, is replete with 12-string guitars and tambourines, and was ahead of its time. “There had been nothing like it in pop before”, says Brian Hogg in his History of Scottish Rock and Pop. Subsequent Poets singles maintained the band’s original style of making music.


There are those who take the view that this Glasgow sixties beat group are the story of Scottish music. Occasionally billed as the ‘Scottish Beatles’, they were an exciting live act, blessed with strong songs. They famously caused a riot with a free, open-air lunchtime concert in Glasgow’s George Square in June, 1965 (“‘Beat’ bedlam in the Square”, ran the headline in the Evening Times). Their song, You Better Get a Better Hold On, shows what they were capable of. The band recorded songs with David Bowie and shared stages with such acts as Marc Bolan and the Kinks.


INITIALLY known as Dean Ford and the Gaylords, then the Gaylords, Marmalade were a key act of the era. Their early songs - It’s All Leading up to Saturday Night, Can’t Stop Now, I See the Rain (the latter adored by Jimi Hendrix) - got them noticed. With the singles, Can't Stop Now/There Ain't No Use in Hanging On, and I See the Rain, the band "captured the experimental aura of 1967's flower-power summer", says Brian Hogg in the History of Scottish Rock and Pop. "These records may not have been the freak-rock of a Soft Machine or Family, but they were exemplary, exploratory pop and have remained as fresh, light and inspired as they were whe first recorded". Marmalade went on to have a Number One hit with a cover of the Beatles' Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da in 1968, and a top 10 hit with Reflections of My Life, "a more serious work which ably reflected their underused compositional skills" (The Guinness Who's Who of Sixties Music). Subsequent hits included Cousin Norman, Radancer and Falling Apart at the Seams. 


THIS Glasgow group was formed in 1962 around John O’Hara, and for a time attracted critical praise. After a year they left for London; six months later, discouraged, they were about to return home, but they were offered a residency in Germany and, like the Beatles before them, went there and found acclaim. They stayed , for three years. Their 1967 record, Ballad of the Soon Departed, got a good review in this paper, which noted the band’s “good, solid ‘soul’ sound", with O’Hara combining vocal duties with tenor sax.

Next week: The 1970s. Are there any acts we should mention? Let us know at