Happy Birthday: The life and times of The Proclaimers as Craig and Charlie Reid turn 60

Famously, Craig and Charlie Reid, better known as The Proclaimers, were born in Leith's Eastern General Hospital on March 5, 1962. It's not known if the sun was shining at the time. As they turn 60 we look back on their life and times.

By Liam Rudden
Saturday, 5th March 2022, 4:55 am
Craig and Charlie Reid, The Proclaimers at a VIP Screening of Sunshine On Leith in 2013
Craig and Charlie Reid, The Proclaimers at a VIP Screening of Sunshine On Leith in 2013

Let us know what you think and join the conversation at the bottom of this article

Growing up in Auchtermuchty, Fife, the pair attended Bell Baxter High School and while there, their musical talents were sparked when Craig was given a 'beaten up drum kit' and Charlie, a guitar.

The pair, influenced by the likes of The Rolling Stones, Sex Pistols and The Jam, first love was punk, playing in bands like Black Flag, the Hippy Hasslers and Reasons For Emotion. They adopted the moniker The Proclaimers when they became an acoustic duo in 1983 and quickly developed a dedicated fan base in Scotland.

The Proclaimers make their TV debut on The Tube

It was in 1984 that they wrote the first of their signature tracks, Letter To America, but their path to stardom really began when Kevin Rowland, of Dexys Midnight Runners fame, helped them produce a demo album, which, in turn led The Housemartins to invite them to be their support act on their 1986 tour.

A year later, they appeared on the Channel 4’s The Tube, bring them to the attention of Chrysalis Records who signed them, releasing their first album, This Is The Story, later in 1987.

Letter from America, remixed by the late Gerry Rafferty, gave them their first Top 10 single, it peaked at No 3, and saw them make their Top of The Pops debut on December 12, 1987.

It was their second album, Sunshine On Leith (1988), however, that saw the Reids become serious players in the pop world. I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles), which reached No 1 in Australia and New Zealand, I'm On My Way, and the title track, which was adopted by Hibernian football club as an anthem, made the brothers global stars.

The Proclaimers make a cameo appearance on the set of Sunshine on Leith

Read More

Read More
Edinburgh King's Theatre to close season with new in house production of hit 'Pr...

At the 1989 Glasonbury Festival, they played to their biggest audience yet, some 65,000 festival goers. The EP King of the Road followed in 1990 and the use of I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) in the 1993 movie Benny & Joon saw the pair booked to support Bon Jovi at Madison Square Garden and on tour.

1994 saw The Proclaimers' third studio album, Hit the Highway, released. It contained another classic track, Let's Get Married.

Hollywood beckoned again when Craig and Charlie recorded a cover of The Temptations' Get Ready for the 1994 film Dumb and Dumber, after which the two kept a low profile until their comeback album, Persevere, in 2001.

The Proclaimers - Charlie and Craig Reid in 1987

The Best of The Proclaimers their first greatest hits album, was released on 15 April 2002​ followed by the albums ​Born Innocent (2003)​, Finest (​2003​), Restless Soul​ (​2005​), Life with You​ (​2007​), ​Notes & Rhymes​ (​2009​), Like Comedy​ (​2012​)​, The Very Best Of: 25 Years 1987-2012​ (2013)​, Let's Hear It for the Dogs​ (​2015​) and Angry Cyclist​ in ​2018​​.

​In 2007, their songs were brought together in the stage musical ​Sunshine on Leith​, which premiered at Dundee Rep, and in 2013 a movie adaptation of the musical ​proved a box office hit.

Edinburgh fans, however, will have to wait a bit to wish the brothers a belated Happy Birthday, their current tour brings them to the Edinburgh Playhouse on December 9th and 10th.

A message from the Editor:

The Proclaimers go to see Sunshine on Leith at Edinburgh's Festival Theatre

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.

Craig and Charlie Reid, The Proclaimers in Inverleith Park in 2003
Charlie and Craig Reid and those trademark specs