To coincide with the BBC documentary on This Is The Story and the 30 year career to date, here are a few early press cuts, photos and posters from the initial stages of The Proclaimers professional career covering the first few months of their emergence.
Craig and Charlie were born in Leith in March 1962, they spent their childhood in Edinburgh before moving to Cornwall in 1970 and in 1972 returned to Scotland to Auchtermuchty where they spent their secondary school years at Bell Baxter High School in Cupar.
Their passion for music at an early age saw them play in three bands, The Hippy Hasslers, Black Flag and Reasons For Emotion before realising the potential in operating as a duo and forming The Proclaimers in 1983.
Autumn 1986, things began to build up a head of steam, a residency at Nicky Tam’s pub in Edinburgh had begun, then a support invite thanks to a fan from Inverness, Iain ‘Moggy’ Moir who had inspirationally sent a Proclaimers demo cassette to the hottest new band in the UK at the time, The Housemartins who loved the tape. Whilst being interviewed on BBC Radio 1’s Janice Long Show they appealed for The Proclaimers to get in touch with them, leading to the eventual invite to support The Housemartins on a 17 date UK tour in October/November.
In the middle of the tour, Craig and Charlie asked Kenny MacDonald to become their manager, who immediately started getting down to work, booking shows and getting tapes and info to media and record labels.
A huge break emerged after he had sent demo tapes in December to producers at the UK’s tastiest live music show The Tube on Channel 4. One of the producers, Chris Phipps loved it but was having trouble finding any other enthusiasts in the department. A video was made for £50 of Craig and Charlie miming to Throw The “R Away at the foot of Edinburgh Royal Mile outside the front gates of Holyrood Palace and Letter From America filmed in Leith docks. Bingo! this did the trick and a rare occurrence as an unsigned band, The Proclaimers were booked to appear on Friday 30th January 1987.
The impact of the appearance was sensational and after speaking with various record labels they signed on 1st March to Chrysalis Records. One day later Craig and Charlie were in Strongroom Studio in Shoreditch, London. Nine days later This Is The Story had been recorded. Six weeks later on 27th April, the album was released in the UK.
Craig and Charlie toured the UK constantly over the next year, a constant upward spiral from 250 capacity venues, to 500, then 1000 and on to 2000+ capacities. Other live highlights included playing the Hammersmith with Van Morrison, Finsbury Park with The Pogues, and a main stage debut at Glastonbury.
The second single, a re-recording of Letter from America produced by Gerry Rafferty went to number 3 in the UK charts in November and the album soared past Gold status. A year of touring and the brilliant debut album had paid off. A song about Scotland, its emigration, politics, industrial closures and the Highland clearances had reached the top of the charts and the foundation of The Proclaimers future was unflinchingly laid.