The Proclaimers

  • Scottish alternative rock duo from Auchtermuchty, Fife, Scotland, formed in 1983. The duo consists of identical twin brothers Craig and Charlie Reid.
  • The twins were born in 1962, and grew up listening to early rock and country music by artists like Jerry Lee Lewis and Hank Williams. While in school, they fell in love with punk rock, and they played in three punk bands – Craig on drums and Charlie on guitar. By 1983, they felt that they had the potential of a music career by performing as a duo. They moved to an acoustic sound that highlighted their vocal harmonies. They chose the name The Proclaimers because it was a strong name that projected a gospel feel to it, emphasizing the spiritual element of their vocals. They cut a demo album, and it was discovered by the British indie band The Housemartins. The band invited The Proclaimers to their 1986 UK tour. Their success on the tour led to a television appearance, and soon after they were signed to a recording deal in early 1987.
  • After signing their contract, they began to record an album the next day, and in nine days, This Is The Story was completed. The album managed to chart in the UK and Australia, with the single Letter From America peaking at #3 on the UK Singles Chart.
  • The following year, they released Sunshine On Leith. For this album, they hired musicians to back them. The album charted highly in the UK, Australia and Canada, and while critics praised it, initially it was unnoticed in the U.S., even with the twins performing on Late Night With David Letterman. That changed five years later, when the single I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) was included in the soundtrack to the film Benny & Joon. Suddenly, they were rock stars – I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) peaked at #3 on the Hot 100 chart. Another single from the album, I’m On My Way, was a hit in Australia, and 13 years later it was included in the soundtrack for the film Shrek, giving renewed interest in the song.
  • Sunshine On Leith inspired a stage musical of the same name, first performed in 2007, and later made into a film, a romantic drama that was developed around 14 songs by The Proclaimers. The brothers had a cameo appearance in the film.
  • In 1990, The Proclaimers released a cover of Roger Miller’s 1964 hit King of the Road, and it went to #9 on the UK chart and was used in the film The Crossing. They finally released their third album in 1994 – Hit the Highway. It was a modest success, reaching #8 in the UK. They recorded a cover of Get Ready by the Temptations, used in the soundtrack for the film Dumb and Dumber. After that, they disappeared from the music scene.
  • After their hiatus, they returned to recording and performing in 2001. They released eight studio albums between 2001 and 2018. Their most recent album, Angry Cyclist, proved to be a favorite from the critics, and it charted at #17 in the UK – pretty good for a pair well into their 50s still making great indie-rock music.
  • Have you heard their one-hit wonder? It’s definitely an indie favorite. And it’s definitely paying the bills for the brothers! Wanna watch a hundred thousand Scottish people go crazy? Watch the video…

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