WHEN walking the streets of Glasgow certain buildings act as landmarks of a city that truly loves music.

The world-famous Barrowland in the East End with its dramatic, sweeping, illuminated sign; the squeezed, below-street level entrance to King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut and the elegant Royal Concert Hall in the centre of the city are some of the beacons to live music, where thousands flock year in, year out – pre-Covid-19 pandemic, of course.

Glasgow enjoys “City of Music” status by Unesco, the first in the UK, fully demonstrating the importance of music as part of the city’s heritage and cultural life.

While all these venues are in the public spotlight with familiar addresses, Glasgow City Heritage Trust is today drawing our attention to a list of buildings that are in on the great Glasgow music act, you could say.

All have played their part as the musical history of the city was being formed and unfolding, note by note, song by song.

It started when the Trust team decided to create an online Spotify playlist of songs with strong connections to Glasgow buildings, as well as their own individual favourites.

Taylor Cross-Whiter led the detective work into the connections between certain buildings and bands. 

“It has been great fun and we hope music lovers will find it interesting,” said Ms Cross-Whiter, who is development officer at the Trust, which is an independent charity established in 2007 and supported by Glasgow City Council and Historic Environment Scotland. 

Among the team’s findings was that Wet Wet Wet used Maryhill Burgh Halls to record some of their early songs. The Category B-listed halls were vacant for many years and were on the Buildings at Risk Register for Scotland before a restoration project was completed in 2012. 

That year, the band, who had three UK No 1s between 1988 and 1994, returned to the halls to rehearse for their 25th anniversary show at Glasgow Green. Ms Cross-Whiter said that many Glasgow-based bands including Texas, Del Amitri, Altered Images and Deacon Blue recorded demos or debut albums at Park Lane Studio which is located in an alley just off Pollokshaws Road on the city’s southside.

“We believe the studios are in what would have been part of the former Crossmyloof Bakery,” she said. “Texas recorded a demo of I Don’t Want a Lover there, which is on their debut album Southside that’s likely to be a reference to that part of Glasgow since it’s included on “The Tree and the Bird and the Fish and the Bell: Glasgow Songs” by various Glasgow acts, which was produced for the Oscar Marzaroli Trust. 

A Marzaroli photograph graces the cover of Deacon Blues’ 1987 release “Raintown.” According to the research by Ms Cross-Whiter and her colleagues, Belle and Sebastian recorded in Hyndland Parish Church, while Franz Ferdinand rehearsed and recorded their third album in Govan Town Hall which is Category B-listed.

“Franz Ferdinand also used to rehearse and hold parties in an abandoned building in the East End, probably the former Bridgeton Courthouse,” said Ms Cross-Whiter.

 “They moved to a different abandoned building in Tradeston, which we think is 143 Oxford Street – an Art Deco former drapery warehouse dated 1928. 

“It’s Category C-listed and a rare survivor in an area which has changed dramatically within the last 50 years.” 

Ms Cross-Whiter also said the importance of the Glasgow School of Art had to be recognised as it had attracted many musicians to the city and counts members of Franz Ferdinand, Travis, Frightened Rabbit and Texas as alumni.

“There’s now a recent mural dedicated to the memory of Scott Hutchison (Frightened Rabbit) on Allison Street in Govanhill,” said Ms Cross-Whiter. “While it’s not historic it is part of the culture of murals in the city which is becoming part of its built heritage.”

It is possible other buildings connect to the music of the city and Ms Cross-Whiter said that it would be good if more were identified.

“While we may not be able to enjoy live music at the moment, we hope these songs help connect people with the city and its musical heritage.

“Glasgow is famed as a music city – but it’s clear that its buildings have also helped to play a part in forming that worldwide reputation.”

Two years ago, the Trust helped to fund a unique cross-artform documentary project to document Glasgow’s Barrowland Ballroom.

This comprised the untold stories of the Barrowland Ballroom in close collaboration with the venue, the east end community that surrounds it, and a much wider