'Scotland's first pop star', Leith-born Jackie Dennis dies aged 77

Leith-born performer Jackie Dennis, widely credited as Scotland’s first pop star, has died at the age of 77.
Jackie Dennis became a teenage singing sensation in 1958.Jackie Dennis became a teenage singing sensation in 1958.
Jackie Dennis became a teenage singing sensation in 1958.

Jackie was discovered at the tender age of 15 and very briefly took the world by storm with his unique brand of tartan-infused pop.

His big break occurred in 1958, after impressing comic duo Mike and Bernie Winters with his vocal talents during a performance at Prestwick military base.

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He enjoyed success with debut record La Dee Dah, which peaked at number 4 in the UK hit parade, making Jackie bigger than Elvis for a week as the Scot’s single nudged ahead of Jailhouse Rock.

Jackie Dennis has died at the age of 77.Jackie Dennis has died at the age of 77.
Jackie Dennis has died at the age of 77.
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Interview: Jackie Dennis, Scotland's first pop star

Within a matter of weeks of signing his record contract with Decca, Jackie was performing all over Britain and was quickly added to the cast of music show the 6-5 Special, alongside the likes of Petula Clark and Lonnie Donegan.

The youngster, who was pulling in around £1,000 a week, made history on the Perry Como show in New York, becoming the first British artist to appear on American television.

Forever proud of his Scots heritage, Jackie almost always wore a kilt or tartan trews on stage, earning him the moniker, ‘the kilt with the lilt’.

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Among his numerous musical achievements was a four-week residence at the Desert Inn in Las Vegas, where he became well-acquainted with Sammy Davis Jnr and met Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra.

Following a decade or so of touring and performing on stage, Jackie retired from showbiz completely in the late 1970s and spent his later years settling down and working as a carer in Edinburgh.

Despite his pop achievements, Jackie would later describe his time working in care homes as the happiest of his life.

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