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Going solo: Scots singers who thrived after leaving bands

The View frontman Kyle Falconer is the latest musician to go it alone.

Solo success: Annie Lennox and Rod Stewart.
Solo success: Annie Lennox and Rod Stewart. PA

The View singer Kyle Falconer has recently announced plans to release his debut solo album.

He is not the first Scot to branch out on his own after a successful career in a band.

Some of the country's most famous faces from Rod Stewart to Annie Lennox have found even more success as a solo artist than they did with their respective bands.

Many others have found it harder to translate their band's success into a solo career.

We take a look at some of the best Scottish acts who started out in a band but had just as many hits when they started doing it for themselves.

1. Rod Stewart

Rod Stewart: Former Faces frontman is one of the world's highest selling artists.
Rod Stewart: Former Faces frontman is one of the world's highest selling artists. SNS

Despite being born in London and retaining a broad English accent, Rod Stewart is as proud of his Scottish roots as anyone.

The Maggie May and I Don't Want To Talk About It singer, whose father is Scottish, always flies the Saltire with pride and passionately supports the Scotland football team and Glasgow club Celtic.

Starting off with the Jeff Beck Group and then Faces along with Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood, the 72-year-old really made his name during his successful solo career that has spanned nearly 50 years.

Arguably Scotland's most famous singer, Stewart has had a string of hit albums and songs on both sides of the Atlantic and continues to play sell-out shows all over the world to this day.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2CQ0FvAZuw | youtube

2. Annie Lennox

Sisters doing it for themselves: Annie Lennox has had worldwide success as a solo artist.
Sisters doing it for themselves: Annie Lennox has had worldwide success as a solo artist.

Former Eurythmics singer Annie Lennox is another who has shown the way to continue being succesful after leaving a much loved band.

The Aberdonian formed The Eurythmics with David Stewart in the 1970s and together they enjoyed massive hits including Sweet Dreams (Are Made of These), giving them huge success in the UK, stateside and just about every corner of the globe.

After nearly two decades of hits it was time for Lennox to go it alone with the release of her critically acclaimed debut solo album Diva in 1992.

Songs such as Walking On Broken Glass and Why catapulted her into the history books as one of the best selling female artists of all time and credited with influencing modern US pop stars Lady Gaga and Pink.

The 62-year-old has won eight Brit Awards, including the Outstanding Contribution To British Music Award in 1999, and four Grammy Awards including Best Female Vocal Performance for No More I love You's in 1996.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSkboTTTmpg | youtube

3. Gerry Rafferty

Stuck in the middle: Rafferty enjoyed success after leaving Stealers Wheel.
Stuck in the middle: Rafferty enjoyed success after leaving Stealers Wheel. © Rex features

Paisley-born singer Gerry Rafferty started out his musical career back in 1969 alongside comedian Billy Connolly in folk band The Humblebums.

It was three years later in 1972 when he co-formed Stealers Wheel with school friend Joe Egan that he really made an impact.

In the same year they recorded the band's most famous song, Stuck In The Middle With You, which earned them critical acclaim as well as commercial success.

The same song was to be a hit all over again 20 years later when it made a prominent appearance in Quentin Tarantino movie Reservoir Dogs.

After going solo Rafferty would record an even bigger hit with Baker Street, with its distinctive saxophone solo, which would reach number two and three respectively in the UK and US charts.

His first solo album City To City, which included Baker Street, went on to sell 5.5 million copies and reach number one in the US album charts, toppling Saturday Night Fever soundtrack in 1978.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fo6aKnRnBxM | youtube

4. Edwyn Collins

Edwyn Collins: Had more chart success on his own than he did with Orange Juice.
Edwyn Collins: Had more chart success on his own than he did with Orange Juice.

Edinburgh singer-songwriter Edwyn Collins co-founded the band Nu-Slice in Bearsden in 1976 before they changed their name to Orange Juice three years later.

The band released their biggest and most famous song Rip It Up in 1983, which was the band's only top 40 single - reaching number eight in the UK.

Collins left the band in 1985 to start a new solo career.

He recorded his biggest hit to date in 1995 with the song Never Met A Girl Like You Before, which was a chart success in the UK and USA.

The song has also featured on the soundtrack to Hollywood movies Empire Records and Charlie's Angles Full Throttle.

He has made a successful return to music after suffering two cerebral haemorrhages in 2005.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nkKxGzm98AU | youtube

5. Eddi Reader

Eddie Reader: Singer was brought up in Glasgow tenements.
Eddie Reader: Singer was brought up in Glasgow tenements.

Eddi Reader has enjoyed a great deal of success as both a solo artist and as part of the band Fairground Attraction.

Born in Glasgow as the eldest of seven children, she was brought up in a tenement in Anderston.

She learned the guitar at the age of ten and began her music career busking on Sauchiehall Street before travelling to London and throughout Europe as part of a group of performance artists in the early 1980s.

In 1985, she met guitarist Mark Nevin and together they formed Fairground Attraction and their first single Perfect shot straight to number one in the charts.

The song also won a Brit Award for best single in 1989 and the group's debut album The First Of A Million Kisses also won the Best Album Award on the same night.

After taking a break from music to have her first child in 1989, Reader went on to release her first solo album in 1992.

But it was her second solo album released in 1994, the eponymous Eddi Reader, that has brought her biggest success and would go on to win her third Brit Award for Best Album in the same year.

In 2003, she was chosen to showcase the work of Scotland's national poet Robert Burns.

Then in 2009, to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the Bard's birth, Reader released The Songs of Robert Burns Deluxe Edition.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMmtBgMaF5I | youtube

6. Marti Pellow

Marti Pellow: Wet Wet Wet singer hasn't reached the same heights as a solo singer.
Marti Pellow: Wet Wet Wet singer hasn't reached the same heights as a solo singer. © L Hughes Photography

Clydebank-born singer Marti Pellow was lead singer of Wet Wet Wet from their formation in 1982 until quitting in 1999 as he suffered addiction problems. 

The band had formed at Clydebank High School and went on to have a number of hits in the UK charts and around the world including Sweet Little Mystery and Angel Eyes.

It was their 1994 cover version of The Troggs' 1960 hit Love Is All Around that helped the band hit the big time.

Featuring on the soundtrack to the film Four Weddings And A Funeral, it spent 15 weeks as number one in the UK.

The song was only one week away from breaking the all-time record of 16 weeks achieved by Bryan Adams with (Everything I Do) I Do It For You.

Pellow has released ten solo since returning to music with Smile in 2001 and also joined the reformed Wet Wet Wet in 2004 before leaving again to focus on his solo career in July.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3gEkwhdXUE | youtube

7. Midge Ure

Midge Ure: Co-wrote charity song Do They Know It's Christmas.
Midge Ure: Co-wrote charity song Do They Know It's Christmas.

James Ure became known as his stage name Midge, a phonetic reversal of Jim, initially playing guitar for rock bands Thin Lizzy and Visage.

The Cambuslang-born singer-songwriter then joined Ultravox in 1979 with former Visage bandmate Billy Currie.

They became best known for their song Vienna, which was the fifth best selling single of 1981 and was only  kept off top spot by Joe Dolce's novelty song Shaddap You Face.

In 1982, he released his first solo single, a cover of the 1968 Tom Rush song No Regrets, which reached top ten in the charts.

Ure hit the top of the UK singles chart in 1985 with If I Was, the first single from his debut solo album The Gift, which charted at number two.

His most notable achievement came the same year when he organised Live Aid along with Boomtown Rats frontman Bob Geldof.

The pair also co-wrote the Band Aid song Do They Know It's Christmas to raise money for famine sufferers in Ethiopia.

The song has sold more than 3.7 million copies and is the second biggest selling song in UK chart history.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTlD4ELLZf0 | youtube
https://stv.tv/news/entertainment/1400288-the-view-s-kyle-falconer-to-release-debut-solo-album/ | default

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