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|Genres||Indie rock, Britpop, power pop|
|Instruments||Guitar, keyboard, bass, drums|
|Years active||1993–2002, 2012-present|
|Labels||Parlophone, Food, Koch|
|Associated acts||The Hussy's|
|Past members||Alan Tilston
The Supernaturals are a 5-piece guitar-based indie rock band from Glasgow, Scotland. Fronted by singer-songwriter James McColl, they signed to Parlophone in 1996, and had a string of singles which were taken from their three albums and four EPs. Other members included Mark Guthrie, Derek McManus, Gavin Crawford and Ken McAlpine. The band's best known songs ("Smile" and "I Wasn't Built To Get Up") were featured prominently in a series of television advertisements. In total they scored five Top 40 entries in the UK Singles Chart.
The band's sound is similar to many 1960s rock bands, with elements of 1990s synth culture, especially later on.
The band were nominated for an Ivor Novello Award in 1998 for best contemporary song for "Smile" along with The Verve's "The Drugs Don't Work" and Radiohead's "No Surprises". The band won a Tartan Clef award in 1997 as the best new Scottish band.
Songs are often related to other songs on the same album by a common theme. The album It Doesn't Matter Anymore received good reviews (8/10 NME and 4/5 Q) as did the follow-up A Tune a Day (7/10 NME and 4/5 Q). The band's third album saw a change of musical direction into Europop and electronica. This album struggled to get good reviews, with the lead single not receiving media coverage of its release following the September 11 attacks.
The creative output saw around 100 songs written in five years. They played at music festivals in the UK, and around Europe, and supported other artists including Robbie Williams, Paul Weller, The Boo Radleys, Gene, Blondie, Dodgy, The Bluetones, Ocean Colour Scene, Texas, Sleeper and Tina Turner. They were also a staple on compilation albums such as Shine, and played radio sessions for BBC Radio 1, Radio 2, Virgin and others. Television appearances included Top of the Pops, TFI Friday, The Jack Docherty Show, Fully Booked and The Big Breakfast, with keyboardist Ken McAlpine appearing as a contestant on Never Mind the Buzzcocks (for Phill Jupitus' team). The band performed at each T in the Park festival between 1995 and 1998.
The song "Smile" was the theme tune for bank Smile.co.uk's TV advertisements, Arnold Clark Automobiles, Sky Movies UK, Pearl Drops, and mayonnaise in Japan, and was re-recorded for use as the main theme of the Nine Network idents in Australia 2008, and was also parodied in Peter Kay's Phoenix Nights. The song was also used on As If, Holiday Showdown, Wife Swap, That'll Teach 'Em and Grumpy Old Men, X Factor, Clarkson's Car Years, and in 2005 was included in VH2's list of the best indie songs of all time. The song was also used as the theme music for the television review show Manic Episodes.
"I Wasn't Built to Get up" was used in an advertising campaign for Direct Debits on UK television in 1999. The song "Monday Mornings" was used in the film Fast Food in 1998. "Life is a Motorway" has been used in the BBC TV show Homes Under the Hammer.
In February 2012 the band began rehearsing again. Over the next two years they wrote and recorded a fourth album (360) at Gorbals Sound Studios in Glasgow. The album was released on 6 April 2015.
- It Doesn't Matter Anymore, May 1997 – Number 9 UK
- A Tune a Day, August 1998 – Number 21 UK
- What We Did Last Summer, June 2002
- 360, April 2015
Cassette mini albums on Tourette Sounds
- Big Seven 1993 (seven tracks)
- Dark Star 1993 (eight tracks)
CD EPs on Tourette Sounds
- Sitting in the Sun 1994 (seven tracks)
- Let it Bleat 1995 (five tracks)
|Year||Single||UK Singles Chart peak||Album||Video director|
|1996||"Smile"||–||It Doesn't Matter Anymore|
|1997||"The Day Before Yesterday's Man"||25||Hammer & Tongs|
|"Love Has Passed Away"||38||Barry Maguire|
|"Prepare to Land"||48|
|1998||"I Wasn't Built to Get Up"||25||A Tune a Day||Rupert Jones|
|"Sheffield Song"||45||Dave Osborne|
|1999||"Everest"||52||Barnaby & Scott|
|2001||"Finishing Credits"||–||What We Did Last Summer||n/a|
|2002||"What We Did Last Summer"||–||Craig Martin|
|"Life Is a Motorway"||–|
|14 October 1996||The Big Breakfast|
|16 October 1996||Fresh Pop|
|29 January 1997||The Big Breakfast|
|31 January 1997||TFI Friday|
|8 February 1997||Top of the Pops|
|4 July 1997||The Big Breakfast|
|2 July 1997||Top of the Pops|
|31 October 1997||TFI Friday|
|19 July 1998||Fully Booked|
|9 October 1998||TFI Friday|
|15 October 1998||STV Box Set|
|12 November 1998||The Jack Docherty Show|
|5 March 1999||Ozone|
Post break-up: 2005–present
Songwriter McColl went on to be guitarist in band The Hussys. In 2007 the band released "We Expected" an 8 track album on Quince Records in Japan. The band's 2008 album "Super Pro" was recorded by Kevin Burleigh (Glasvegas, Supernaturals, Simple Minds) at the Byre Studio in Beauly. This was augmented by 4 songs and released as "Super Pro +" by Quince Records in Japan in 2009. The band's 2009 UK album "Japanese Graffiti" had a more 1980s sound. The band then recorded "Tokyo Elephant Brothers" in a camper van in 2010. The band's final album to date is "Please Secure Your Valuables" which was released in 2011. The band have played sessions on Rapal, Channel M and the Janice Long radio show.
Their songs "Rock Concert", "Napoleon", "Friends Reunited", "Warm and Fuzzy" and "We Expected" have been used variously on Jersey Shore, When I Was 17, Paris Hilton's BFF and Made on MTV. "Rock Concert" was used in a US national advert for Payless Shoes. Their songs "Aftershave" "Roller Disco" "T Rex Records" and "Jenny Teaches Rock School" have been played by Rodney Bingenheimer. The Hills have also featured their song "Rocksteady" and "We Expected". The song "Roller Disco" was a top 10 airplay single in Peru in 2009 together with "Greatest Living Actress" and "Aftershave" which received extensive airplay in South America. "Tiger" was used in the Russian language film "20 Cigarettes". The song "Just think of my heart as a campervan" has been used on the BBC 1 TV show the legalizer.
- Strong, Martin C. (2000). The Great Rock Discography (5th ed.). Edinburgh: Mojo Books. p. 956. ISBN 1-84195-017-3.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 541. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- Webuser magazine, Issue 38, page 58, August 2002