LOTS of Scottish acts came to the fore in the 1970s – so many that there isn’t space for all of them here. Apologies, for example, to Blue (‘Gonna Capture Your Heart’), and to Slik (‘Forver and Ever’). But there is still some great music here. Is there anyone we missed out? And are there acts that should be included here next Saturday, when we turn our attention to the Eighties? Let us know at russell.leadbetter@theherald.co.uk


There was a time when you couldn’t escape the Rollers: their cheerful, hook-laden songs, their tartan imagery, their boy-next-door looks. Rollermania, we called it. Bye Bye Baby, Give a Little Love, Shang-a-Lang, Summerlove Sensation, Remember (Sha-La-La-La): 10 hits in the Top 10 (nine between 1974 and 1976), two of them number ones. Their albums, Rollin’, and Once Upon a Star, also topped the charts. They toured all over the world – the venues full of screaming, tartan-clad fans. The Rollers’ time in the sun couldn’t last, however, and the dream turned sour.


Purveyors of classy pop, made by musicians of a high pedigree: their single Magic, from the debut album, From the Album of the Same Name, peaked at number 11 in early 1974. The band supported Sparks on tour; the next album, Second Flight, yielded their best-known song, January which topped the charts in February 1975. The song was a hit in many countries, including, notably, Australia. Their third album, Morin Heights, recorded in Quebec, showed off a more muscular approach.


The comprehensive Loud & Proud anthology boxset of 2018 showcased this Dunfermline band’s strengths: great covers of This Flight Tonight and Love Hurts; foot-stomping singles in Bad Bad Boy and Broken Down Angel; laments such as Heart’s Grown Cold and I Don’t Want to Go Without You; lots of melodic hard rock – Telegram parts 1-4, Expect No Mercy, Dressed to Kill. Nazareth’s success has spanned several decades, and with good reason.


Younger music fans’s familiarity with this group might go no further than the inclusion of a certain song in a certain Tarantino film, but the songwriting strengths of Gerry Rafferty and Joe Egan merit investigation. Their second album in particular, Ferguslie Park (1973), is laden with gorgeous songs that have not dated in the slightest: check out, for example, Star, Wheelin’, Waltz (You Know It Makes Sense), Over My Head, and Nothing’s Gonna Change My Mind. Right or Wrong (1975) has great tracks such as Benediction. More than one critic caught echoes of mid-period Beatles in their songs.


YouTube is where you can watch another groundbreaking Scottish band. Fronted by the restlessly charismatic Alex Harvey, SAHB – formerly Tear Gas, before they teamed up with Alex. Live, they were captivating: just ask anyone

who was fortunate enough to see them. “Armed with a musical and cultural heritage”,

says the Virgin Encyclopedia of Seventies Music, “Harvey embarked on a unique direction combining elements of rock, R&B, and the British music hall”. Indeed. Their storming cover of Delilah, a top 10 hit in 1975, gave them a lot of exposure, but it was only part of their highly creative output. Vambo rules OK.


Formed in 1969, this blues-rock band, featuring the distinctive voice of the great Maggie Bell and the guitar work of Les Harvey, were early stalwarts of Glasgow’s Burns Howff venue, and they came to the attention of Led Zeppelin’s manager, Peter Grant. John Peel was an early admirer. The band released four albums in the Seventies: Stone the Crows, Ode to John Law, Teenage Licks and ‘Ontinuous Performance. “The quintet’s early blues-based albums were notable for both Bell and [Jimmy] Dewar’s vocals and Harvey’s textured, economical guitar work”, says the Virgin Encyclopedia. Harvey died young, after being electrocuted on stage in May 1972. Jimmy McCulloch replaced him. Video footage of the band can be seen on YouTube. It’s well worth a look.


Rod Stewart recounts how, early one morning, and without the accustomed presence of alcohol, he tackled a song, Sailing, for his new album. He got it on the sixth or seventh take, and the song was a huge hit for him not once but twice. It had been written by Gavin Sutherland, who with his brother Iain had formed the Sutherland Brothers, who then linked up with another group, Quiver. They released several well-received albums, touring with such major acts as Elton John and the Faces before they began as headliners in their own right. SBQ’s albums 1976 Reach for the Sky and Slipstream are particularly worth investigating for their melodic gems. They also had a huge hit with Arms of Mary. Iain died last November, aged 71. Obituaries noted that Gavin had said that he and Iain wrote Sailing together.


To borrow from their own website, the Rezillos “ripped into the rock scene through a shared love of Sixties Garage Rock, the Spectoresque Girl Group voice of The Shangri Las injected with their inimitable molten attitude”. Their debut single, I Can’t Stand My Baby, brought them to the attention of John Peel, amongst others, The band’s solitary studio album, Can’t Stand the Rezillos (July 1978) is widely considered to be an early punk classic; it peaked at number 16 in the charts and their song Top of the Pop also was a top 20 hit. The Rezillos spilt up a few months later, however. They went off and did their different things, reforming only in 2002. Five years ago they brought out a new album, Zero, full of their characteristic verve.


As the liner notes say in their best-of album, Let’s Go Round Again, AWB “aimed to relocate music’s soul and spirit – there to be found in master R’n’B and soul players in towns such as New York, Detroit and Memphis. They worshipped the likes of Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Ray Charles, the Isley Brothers and most of the Stax and early Motown stuff. By [October 1974] they ...had become, to many discerning ears, the best soul/R’n’B combo the UK had ever produced”. AWB’s run of great Seventies hits included Pick Up the Pieces (a worldwide, Grammy-nominated hit), Cut the Cake, Walk On By, and When Will You Be Mine. Their debut album, AWB, topped the US Billboard pop and R&B album charts. Much further success followed.


A run of superb singles at the tail-end of the Seventies – The Saints Are Coming, Into the Valley, Masquerade, Working for the Yankee Dollar – established the reputation of this “art-punk/punk-rock and new wave band”. The Skids – Stuart Adamson, Richard Jobson, Bill Simpson and Tam Kellichan – had been formed in Dunfermline in 1977. They played their first gig at the town’s Belleville Hotel on August 19. They moved to London and began their assault on the charts. John Peel, as so often, was an early fan. Their debut album, 1979’s Scared to Dance, won excellent reviews.


Highly experienced songwriters who won a contract with Apple Publishing then became part of McGuinness Flint, breaking away to form a duo. They had top 10 singles with I Wanna Stay with You, and Heart on My Sleeve; Breakaway and Every Little Teardrop both hit the top 40; their 1976 album, Breakaway, peaked at number six. Brian Hogg in his History of Scottish Rock and Pop speaks of their “folksy, harmony style, evocative of the Everly Brothers but fused with the pastoral ease of The Band”.


Glasgow singer with a soulful voice, a penchant for writing great songs, and a storied CV. His Seventies albums – Once in a Blue Moon, Highlife, The Rock, the excellent Full House, Double Trouble – are evidence of a real talent.

Read more: The Sounds of the Sixties