The Bluebells

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The Bluebells
GenresIndie pop,[1] new wave,[1] jangle pop[2]
Years active1981–1986, 1993, 2008–2009, 2011, 2018–present
LabelsLondon, Sire
MembersRobert Hodgens
David McCluskey
Ken McCluskey
Lawrence Donegan
Craig Gannon
Neil Baldwin
Russell Irvine
Gary Crowley

The Bluebells are a Scottish indie new wave band,[3] active between 1981 and 1986 (later briefly reforming in 1993, 2008–2009, 2011 and 2018).


The Bluebells performed jangly guitar-based pop not dissimilar to their Scottish contemporaries Aztec Camera[2] and Orange Juice.[3] They had three Top 40 hits in the UK Singles Chart, all written by guitarist and founder member Bobby Bluebell (real name Robert Hodgens) – "I'm Falling", "Cath", and their biggest success "Young at Heart".[3] The latter was co-written with Siobhan Fahey of Bananarama[3] (originally recorded on the Bananarama album Deep Sea Skiving) and violinist Bobby Valentino, and made it to number 8 in the UK Singles Chart on its original release in 1984. The band also released one EP, The Bluebells, and one full-length album, Sisters.[3]

The band split up in the mid 1980s, but enjoyed an unexpected revival in 1993 when "Young at Heart" was used in a Volkswagen television advertisement.[3] Re-issued as a single, it was number one for four weeks and led to the band reforming temporarily to perform the song on BBC Television's Top of the Pops.[3] A compilation album followed, The Singles Collection, which peaked at No. 27 in the UK Albums Chart in April 1993.[4]

The band reformed in late 2008, with original members the McCluskey brothers and Bobby Bluebell, to support Edwyn Collins at a show in Glasgow on 23 January 2009. On 29 May 2011, the band performed as part of the Southside Festival. On 17 December 2018, the band performed on a Christmas edition of The Quay Sessions for BBC Scotland. In 2019, The Bluebells appeared performing "Young at Heart" in an episode of the last series of the BBC Scotland sitcom Still Game.[5]

Post Bluebells[edit]

Prior to achieving chart success, bass player Lawrence Donegan left the band to join Lloyd Cole and the Commotions and then later trained as a journalist and is now a golf correspondent for The Guardian, having previously worked at The Scotsman. The other members of the band stayed in the music business after the split – David McCluskey and his brother, Ken, formed a folk duo. Ken also works as a lecturer at Glasgow Kelvin College teaching music business, and David uses music therapeutically with a wide variety of people. Robert Hodgens has worked as a professional songwriter and formed a new group called The Poems, signed to the American label Minty Fresh.

Band members[edit]

  • Bobby Bluebell (born Robert Anthony Hodgens, 6 June 1957, Scotland) – guitar
  • David McCluskey (born 13 January 1964, Hamilton, Scotland) – drums
  • Ken McCluskey (born Kenneth McCluskey, 8 February 1962, Hamilton, Scotland) – vocals / harmonica
  • Lawrence Donegan (born 13 July 1961, Stirling, Scotland) – bass
  • Craig Gannon (born Craig Ian Gannon, 30 July 1966, Manchester, England) – guitar
  • Neil Baldwin (born Neil Edward Baldwin) – bass
  • Russell Irvine (born 28 March 1962, Johnstone, Scotland)– guitar
  • Gary Crowley - guitar



Title Album details Peak chart positions
The Bluebells EP
  • Released: 1983
  • Label: Sire
Sisters 22 29
  • Released: 1992 (Japan only)
  • Label: Vinyl Japan
The Singles Collection
  • Released: 1991, 1993, 2005
  • Label: Deram, London Records, Warner Platinum


Year Title Peak chart positions Certifications Album
1982 "Forever More" Non-album single
1983 "Cath" 62 The Bluebells EP
"Sugar Bridge (It Will Stand)" 72
1984 "I'm Falling" 11 26 Sisters
"Young at Heart" 8 13
"Cath" (re-issue) 38
1985 "All I Am (Is Loving You)" 58 Non-album single
1993 "Young at Heart" (re-issue) 1 55 1 15 The Singles Collection


  1. ^ a b "Rip It Up: Harry Papadopoulos' snapshot of early eighties Scottish indie music". Retrieved 17 October 2019.
  2. ^ a b "The Bluebells | Biography & History". AllMusic.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. p. 154. ISBN 1-85227-745-9.
  4. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 66. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  5. ^ "Still Game Series 9, Episode 5 - Hitched". British Comedy Guide.
  6. ^ "UK Albums". Official Chart Company. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
  7. ^ "Swedish Albums". Retrieved 22 May 2016.
  8. ^ "UK Singles". The Official Charts Company UK. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  9. ^ "German Singles". offiziellecharts. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  10. ^ "Irish Singles". Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  11. ^ "Dutch Singles". Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  12. ^ "British Certifications". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 18 May 2016.

External links[edit]