The Alexander Brothers
The Alexander Brothers
The Alexander Brothers on tour in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, in the 1990s
|Genres||Folk music, country and western|
|Members||Tom Alexander; Jack Alexander|
Tom Alexander (born 1934) and Jack Alexander (1935–2013) were born in Thrashbush Avenue Cambusnethan, near Wishaw. On leaving school in the early 1950s, the brothers pursued a trade as painters and decorators by day, and entertainers by night, and spent most of their spare time performing for elderly people in hospitals and for various charitable institutions in and around their hometown. In the spring of 1958, they entered a talent contest which was held in their local cinema. They easily won the contest and one of the judges (who was a well known Scottish theatrical agent) was so impressed, he placed the boys under contract that summer. They made their professional debut at the Webster Hall, Arbroath. It was during this season that they received their first long term contract for five winter seasons at Glasgow's Metropole Theatre. Following Arbroath they were engaged to appear at the Metropolitan Theatre, Edgware Road, London, and it was during this season they were spotted and signed to Pye Records. They cut their first LP six weeks later.
Their biggest hit single was "Nobody's Child" in 1964. It sold more copies in Scotland that year than did recordings by The Beatles. Their other hits include "These Are My Mountains", "The Northern Lights of Old Aberdeen", "Bonnie Wee Jeannie McColl", and "Two Highland Lads". Their 1966 album, These Are My Mountains, peaked at #29 in the UK Albums Chart. They have toured Canada, the United States, Australia and New Zealand. They appeared at the Sydney Opera House with Jimmy Shand as a guest, and have also played in Carnegie Hall in New York City.
They still gave shows up until Jack's death in 2013, and their hits are still in print, but the brothers' fame and popularity had probably peaked by the 1980s. However, the Alexander Brothers experienced something of a revival in the mid 1990s when they began to release music videos, and later DVDs, to supplement their live performances. These new recordings contained many religious or devotional songs.
"Nobody's Child" is sometimes described as traditional but was actually written by Cy Coben and Mel Foree. The song was first recorded by Hank Snow in 1949, then by Lonnie Donegan in 1956. The Beatles recorded it in 1961 while they were a backing band for Tony Sheridan. Billy Connolly did a humorous version of it in his live shows. Billy Fury also did a recording of it. George Harrison and Ringo Starr recorded it again, in 1990, as part of the Traveling Wilburys; proceeds from the single were devoted to a Romanian children's charity.
On 2 November 2013, Jack Alexander died aged 77.
- "Scots entertainers awarded MBEs". BBC News. 2004-12-31.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 18. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- "Look Who has been made a CBE - Scotsman.com News". The Scotsman. 2004-12-31.
- Paul Brown, Bluemoon Creative Design. "Welcome to Scotdisc Music and DVD Video". Scotdisc.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-04-30.
- "BBC News - Jack Alexander of The Alexander Brothers dies aged 77". Bbc.co.uk. 2008-07-29. Retrieved 2013-11-04.