The Proclaimers

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The Proclaimers
Proclaimers DePanne 2010.jpg
The Proclaimers on stage June 2008.
Background information
Born (1962-03-05) 5 March 1962 (age 53) (twins)
Leith, Edinburgh, Scotland
Origin Auchtermuchty, Fife, Scotland
Genres Folk rock, celtic rock, country rock, college rock, pop rock
Instruments Vocals, acoustic guitar, harmonica, tambourine
Years active 1983–present
Members Charlie Reid
Craig Reid

The Proclaimers are a Scottish band composed of identical twin brothers Charlie and Craig Reid, born 5 March 1962. They are best known for the songs "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)", "Sunshine on Leith", "I'm On My Way" and "Letter from America", and their distinctive singing style with a Scottish accent. The band tours extensively throughout the world. They have released nine studio albums from 1987 until the present, as well as two compilation albums and a DVD.



The band playing live in 2008

Craig Reid and Charlie Reid were born in Leith on 5 March 1962, and grew up in Edinburgh, Cornwall and Auchtermuchty. When they stayed in Auchtermuchty they attended Bell Baxter High School. After several punk rock bands at school they formed the Proclaimers in 1983.

The pair came to public attention when an Inverness-based fan sent their demo to the English band the Housemartins, who were impressed enough to invite the Proclaimers on their 1986 United Kingdom tour. The exposure of the tour won them a January 1987 appearance on the British pop music television programme The Tube on Channel Four;[1] "Letter from America" peaked at number three in the UK Singles Chart,[2] while the album This Is the Story went gold. The follow-up album Sunshine on Leith featured "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" and "I'm On My Way".[2] They had a hit with their EP King of the Road, which reached number nine in the UK in 1990. After seven low-profile years, they released their comeback album Persevere in 2001.

In March 2007 they recorded a new version of "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" with television comedy characters Andy Pipkin (played by Matt Lucas) and Brian Potter (Peter Kay) for the Comic Relief charity. A long list of celebrities were featured in the music video for this new version, including David Bellamy, Rod, Jane and Freddy, Paul O'Grady, David Tennant, Frank Sidebottom and many more. This new version of the song reached number one in the UK Singles Chart.[2]

A stage musical featuring their songs, Sunshine on Leith, was created in 2007 for Dundee Rep and adapted as a feature film in 2013.[3]

The band was one of the B-52s' touring partners on their Funplex tour in Australia and New Zealand in November 2009, alongside Mental as Anything.

They featured in VH1's 100 greatest one hit wonders ("I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" having been their only US hit single).[4]


The brothers are fans of Hibernian Football Club, and "Sunshine on Leith" has become a club anthem, being played at home matches for important fixtures, such as the Edinburgh derby versus Heart of Midlothian FC, the club's city rivals. Charlie and Craig Reid appeared at the Easter Road stadium for the "Hands Off Hibs" campaign in 1990 when Wallace Mercer, a wealthy Edinburgh businessman with direct connections to Hearts FC, attempted a takeover of the club but was defeated by organised fan resistance.

They are also well-known supporters of Scottish independence and have, at various stages of their lives, been activists for the Scottish National Party, expressing such views during their promotional tour of Britain in March 2007.[5]

On 16 May 2006 the twins announced their participation in a campaign to free a fellow Scot, Kenny Richey, from his death row sentence in Ohio, including an appearance at a charity concert.[6] Also, in 2010 they participated with Billy Bragg in a show supporting Reprieve, a charity that seeks to end the use of the death penalty.

The Proclaimers also support other charities such as the Lighthouse Foundation (addiction victims), Worldwide Cancer Research, Drake Music Scotland (helping disabled people through music) and 500 Miles (amputees and disabled people in Africa).



  1. King of the Road (1990)
  2. 17 (Acoustic EP) (2009)

Studio albums[edit]

Year Album Peak chart positions Certification
1987 This Is the Story 43 41
  • UK: gold
1988 Sunshine on Leith 6 31 2
  • UK: platinum
  • US: gold
1994 Hit the Highway 8
  • UK: silver
2001 Persevere 61
2003 Born Innocent 70
2005 Restless Soul 74
2007 Life with You 13
  • UK: silver
2009 Notes & Rhymes 30
2012 Like Comedy 31
2015 Let's Hear It For the Dogs [7]

Compilation and remastered albums[edit]

Year Album Peak chart positions Certification
UK[2][8] US IRE
2002 The Best of The Proclaimers 5 24
  • UK: platinum
2003 Finest -
2011 This Is the Story (two CD edition, remastered and bonus tracks) - -
2011 Sunshine on Leith (two CD edition, remastered and bonus tracks) - -
2011 Hit the Highway (two CD edition, remastered and bonus tracks) - -
2013 The Very Best Of: 25 Years (1987-2012) (two CD edition) 96 -

Songs used in soundtracks[edit]

  1. The Crossing (1990) (song, "King of the Road")
  2. Benny & Joon (1993) (song, "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)")
  3. Dumb and Dumber (1994) (song, "Get Ready")
  4. Bye Bye Love (1995) (song, "Bye Bye Love")
  5. Bottle Rocket (1996) (song, "Over And Done With")
  6. Slab Boys (1997) (songs, "Maybe Baby" and "No Particular Place to Go")
  7. The Closer You Get (2000) (song, "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)")
  8. Shrek (2001) (song, "I'm on My Way")
  9. How I Met Your Mother (2007, 2009, 2013 – episodes Arrivederci, Fiero; Duel Citizenship; Mom and Dad) (song, "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)")
  10. Mama's Boy (2008) (song, "Then I Met You")
  11. Burke and Hare (2010) (song, "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)")
  12. The Angels' Share (2012) (song, "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)")
  13. Bachelorette (2012) (song, "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)")
  14. Grey's Anatomy season 9 (song, "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)")
  15. Identity Thief (2013) (song, "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)")


  1. Sunshine on Leith (2013) (from the film Sunshine on Leith - cover versions by film actors)


  1. The Best of The Proclaimers 1987–2002 (2002)


Year Title Chart positions Album
U.S. U.S.
1987 "Throw the 'R' Away" - - - - This Is the Story
"Letter from America" (band version) - - 3 2
1988 "Make My Heart Fly" (band version) - - 63 -
"I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" - - 11 14 Sunshine on Leith
"Sunshine on Leith" - - 41 -
1989 "I'm on My Way" - - 43 -
1990 "King of the Road" - - 9 8 King of the Road (EP)
1993 "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" 3 8 - - Sunshine on Leith
1994 "Let's Get Married" - - 21 - Hit the Highway
"What Makes You Cry?" - - 38 -
"These Arms of Mine" - - 51 -
2001 "There's a Touch" - - - - Persevere
2007 "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)"
feat. Brian Potter and Andy Pipkin
- - 1 7 Best of (2007 reissue)
"Life with You" - - 58 - Life with You
2007 "Whole Wide World" - - - -
2008 "New Religion" (promo only) - - - -
2009 "Love Can Move Mountains" - - - - Notes & Rhymes
2012 "Like Comedy" [free download] - - - - Like Comedy
2012 "Spinning Around in the Air" - - - -
2012 "Whatever You've Got" - - - -


  1. ^ Brian Logan (8 February 2007). "Pop idols". The Guardian. Retrieved 2007-02-08. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 440. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  3. ^ Sexton, David (12 September 2013). "Sunshine on Leith - film review". London Evening Standard. 
  4. ^ "100 Greatest One Hit Wonders". List. VH1. 
  5. ^ "The Simon Mayo Programme". BBC Radio Five Live. 28 March 2007. [dead link]
  6. ^ "Letter to America: Proclaimers join campaign to free death-row Scot". The Scotsman. 16 May 2006. 
  7. ^ "The Proclaimers release their 10th studio album on April 27th ‘Let’s Hear It For The Dogs’ (Cooking Vinyl). - The Proclaimers". 
  8. ^ "Official Albums Chart UK Top 100 - 26th October 2013". Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on 20 October 2013. 

External links[edit]