10 of Glasgow's Greatest Bands

Glasgow’s greatness knows no bounds – from its unrivalled culture and famously warm people to the glorious glens and deep locks.

It’s also a pretty awesome breeding ground for quality music. Scotland’s biggest city has produced a long line of iconic acts, from the 1960s right up to the present day.

Check out our guide to 10 of Glasgow’s most famous musicians.

Franz Ferdinand

Back with a new album ‘Always Ascending’, Franz Ferdinand were formed in 2002. Widely known for their 2004 single ‘Take Me Out’ which achieved global recognition by charting in several countries and went on to earn a Grammy nomination, they were one of the most iconic groups of the 2000s.

Their self-titled debut studio album peaked at number three in the UK albums chart and also won the 2004 Mercury Prize.


Credited by critics for paving the way for the likes of Coldplay and Keane, Travis is undoubtedly one of Glasgow’ finest. They famously asked ‘Why Does It Always Rain On Me?’ in their 1999 hit single from their number one album ‘The Man Who’ (which remained at the top of the UK charts for nine weeks).

Travis has twice been awarded Best Band at the BRIT Awards and received the NME Artist of the Year award at the 2000 ceremony. In 2016 the band was honoured at the Scottish Music Awards for their outstanding contribution to music.

Belle & Sebastian

Once the critics’ favourites, Glasgow’s Belle & Sebastian have released nine albums and are headed up by Stuart Murdoch. Established in 1996, it was two years later that the band achieved some moderate commercial success.

They released their third LP ‘The Boy with the Arab Strap’, reaching number 12 in the UK charts. In 1999, they clinched Best Newcomer at the BRIT Awards, upsetting more mainstream commercial acts such as Steps and Five. Belle & Sebastian are touring the UK in March 2018!

Primal Scream

Whilst undergoing numerous line-up changes and switches in genre, Primal Scream have released 11 albums and a number of singles which have charted well around the world since 1982.

‘Loaded’, ‘Velocity Girl’ and ‘Movin’ On Up’ are just three of their biggest hits. Gary ‘Mani’ Mounfield of The Stone Roses was their permanent bass player either side of the group’s demise in 1996 and reformation in 2011.

Simple Minds

One of the most successful Scottish bands ever, Simple Minds have notched five UK number one albums during their career and sold over 70 million records worldwide.

The band are best known internationally for their 1985 hit ‘Don’t You (Forget About Me)’ which was featured in the soundtrack to the film, ‘The Breakfast Club’. Their other prominent hits include ‘Alive and Kicking’ and ‘Belfast Child’. In 2016, they claimed the British Academy’s Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Song Collection.

Del Amitri

A delightful rags to riches tale, alternative rock outfit Del Amitri formed in Glasgow in 1983, having grown out of frontman Justin Currie’s Jordanhill College School band. They came together after Currie placed an advertisement in the window of a music store asking for people who could play to contact him.

We then saw the original line-up of Currie (bass and vocals), Iain Harvie (lead guitar), Bryan Tolland (guitar) and Paul Tyagi (drums) get together. Currie and Harvie are the main songwriters of the group. They have enjoyed five top 10 albums in the UK and a top 10 single, ‘Roll to Me’, on the Billboard Hot 100 in the USA.


Cult post-rock band Mogwai got together in 1995 and have built a career on lengthy guitar-based instrumental pieces that feature dynamic contrast, melodic bass guitar lines and heavy use of distortion and effects.

The group is named after the creatures in 1980s hit film, ‘Gremlins’ and are also renowned for their film soundtracks. In 2006, they provided the soundtrack to the film ‘Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait’, about former French footballer Zinedine Zidane.

Deacon Blue

After releasing their debut album ‘Raintown’ in 1987 in the UK, Deacon Blue went on to sell more than six million albums worldwide, with 12 UK Top 40 singles and two UK number one albums – this despite having been apart for five years (1994-1999).

They remain one of Glasgow’s best-known acts and were even involved in the closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in 2014, which were hosted in the city.

The Fratellis

Played in numerous sports montages, ‘Chelsea Dagger’ is surely one of soundtracks to the 2000s – and is still The Fratellis’ biggest hit, peaking at number 5 in the UK singles chart and certified gold by the British Phonographic Industry in 2016.

In 2005, the band released their debut album ‘Costello Music’ which charted at number two in the UK album charts for three weeks. The success of the album led to The Fratellis winning the Brit Award for British Breakthrough Act in 2007 – an accolade voted for by Radio One listeners.


Glasgow’s undisputed poster girl, Lulu is an international star, rising to fame as a 15-year-old with her version of the Isley Brothers’ ‘Shout’, which was a number 7 hit in 1964. Born Marie McDonald McLaughlin Lawrie, Lulu performed the track at the closing ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

She is especially known by North American audiences for the song ‘To Sir With Love’ from the film of the same name, and the title song to the James Bond film ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’. Lulu was made an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2000.