Celebrating bands and musicians that hail from Dundee
Dundee has been a hub of musical creativity for decades. Within its dance halls, bandstands and performance spaces, lots of musical genres have found their feet, and many musical icons have emerged. This panel name-checks notable musicians, popular venues, local singing groups, and song titles, all with close links to Dundee.
1. ‘The Road and the Miles to Dundee’
The song lyrics of this classic Scottish ballad tell the story of a chance encounter between a young man and a young woman who subsequently fall in love. Many Dundonians will associate this tune with Scottish entertainer Andy Stewart, but the song has been recorded by other artists, including folk trio The Corries.
2. Average White Band
The Average White Band was founded by saxophonists Malcolm ‘Molly’ Duncan and Roger Ball, bassist Alan Gorrie and guitarist Onnie McIntyre, and the band’s roots took shape in the Dundee art college scene during the late 1960s. ‘Let’s Go Round Again’, released in 1980, remains a funk-pop classic.
3. Danny Wilson
Indie band Danny Wilson was formed in 1984 by Dundee-born brothers Gary and Kit Clark, and Ged Grimes. The band’s name was inspired by a 1952 Frank Sinatra film, and in 1988, the trio’s single ‘Mary’s Prayer’ reached No 3 in the UK charts.
4. Big Noise Douglas
Big Noise is an education and social change programme that involves hundreds of children and young people in Dundee every week. Originally inspired by a Venezuelan music education programme called El Sistema, Big Noise Douglas is one of only six programmes in Scotland, and it began in 2017.
5. Musical heritage
The Caird Hall was formally opened in 1923 by H.R.H. The Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII), and is named after Sir James Caird, a local industrialist. The adjoining hall is named after his sister Mrs Emma Grace Marryat. Both donated funds to help complete the new City Square scheme in the 1930s. The Wighton Heritage Centre, a collection of national music, is housed in the Central Library, Dundee.
Fife-born accordion-player, Jimmy Shand, got his big break when he started working in a Dundee music shop.
7. St Andrew and the Woollen Mill
This band is known in the local area for their witty songs that play on the Dundee dialect and sense of humour. Some of their most notable songs include ‘Dinna Ast me (Eh Dinna Ken)’, ‘Rare to be Alev’ and ‘This World is Phul o’ a Number o’ Things’.
8. Palais de Danse
Built around 1820, the Category ‘B’ listed Palais building in South Tay Street was once a city centre dance hall. The vast hall behind the smart architraved facade became one of Dundee’s premier music venues in the 1960s and ’70s, when owner Andy Lothian brought bands like Manfred Mann, The Yardbirds and The Hollies here. The Palais later became Samantha’s, then Bloomers, before the interior was destroyed by fire in 1980. The beautiful stained glass ‘Palais’ sign can still be seen above the entrance portico.
9. The Choirs of Dundee
From NYCOS Dundee and the University Gospel Choir for young and student choralists, to the Choral Union, Gaelic Choir and Cathedral Choir, there is a choir for everyone. Just Sing at Maggie’s welcomes anyone affected by cancer, while the Total Memories Recall Choir is made up of people with a diagnosis of dementia and their carers and family members. Community singing group Loadsaweeminsinging was founded in 1994.
10. Deacon Blue
When former schoolteacher Ricky Ross moved from Dundee to Glasgow, he formed Deacon Blue, with Lorraine McIntosh, James Prime, Dougie Vipond, Ewen Vernal and Graeme Kelling. The band’s debut album, ‘Raintown’, was released in 1987, producing the singles ‘Dignity’, ‘Chocolate Girl’ and ‘Loaded’.