Top Ten Best Scottish Bands


The Top Ten

1 Runrig

The greatest band who promote a dying language and took it to the world stage. You don't need to have gaelic to understand runrig songs. They've been going 41 years and still going strong. Amazing musicians and self penned songs that will go down in Scottish folklore. True legends of Scottish music

Is this a joke that Runrig was not included in the list. Runrig is Scotland and they have been around for 40 Years.

They are simply wonderful. Deserve to be #1. I am an American who found them recently and can't believe I have missed them in the past. Their music inspires, their lyrics speak to you.

Runrig are the most iconic scottish band of this lifetime. No other scottish band comes close in terms of relevance, longevity and passion.

V 66 Comments
2 Big Country

Big Country has been and will always be my favorite band of all time. American lost out not knowing more from them then what the VH1 dubs as a One hit wonder. Luckily I loved this band enough to follow to date and have witnessed many great tracks from them. I was so stoked when Mike Peters from the Alarm took on the vocals for Stuart. Then when Derek Forbes took over bass for Tony Butler I was happy with the match. I do miss my Tony & of course the Man who was just a Man Stuart Adamson. Can't help liking the direction the band has taken their music and are evolving. I'm just very happy that Bruce Watson & Mark Brzezicki are still remainin. Many do not know this but Mark Brzezicki played with the Cult for a short time. Bruce played in the Skids a band in which Stuart also played in. Bruce also played in a band called Fish. Yes I did say Big Country is my all time favorite band.

Simple Minds Should Be Number 1 And Big Country Should Be Number 2 And Both Should Be Miles a Head So Nobody Can Catch them the rest of the bands are rubbish apart from the proclaimers

Simply the best rock band ever, period. Adamson was a genius songwriter and much underrated. Inspiring lyrics, thought provoking and poignant.

It can only be Big Country. Who's Runrig?

V 20 Comments
3 Underneath The Lights

Great original song-writers and fresh new sound. Great fallowing and bundles of energy and charisma. Going to go far and one day top this list!

Amazing to experience live, members are really genuine guys and talented too!

Have the pleasure of knowing these guys, they are incredible and very much deserve this, watch out these guys will lift off!


V 36 Comments
4 Simple Minds Simple Minds Simple Minds are a Scottish rock band formed in 1977. They achieved commercial success in the 1980s and, despite various personnel changes, continue to record and tour.

It's Simple! Minds. Love Runrig! BUT. Simple Minds went past the great Scottish tradition and put the best of the west into the great Scottish tradition. They injected Lou Reed and the Doors into their Scottish veins and the result kicks ass! Great rock music with a Scottish touch. These guys knew the musical landscape and added a Scottish touch that I truly value. Thank you Glasgow buddies!

I think they are easily the biggest selling act from Scotland, 60 million album sales, numerous number 1 songs in territories all over the globe, playing in stadiums, these guys are biggest Scottish band by some distance

Talented, musical, powerful, melodic, atmospheric & charismatic. Taught U2 all they know about captivating stadium fans as well as reaching indivduals. From their early raw sound to their current material, they have never failed to deliver. Have a re-listen to Live in the City of Light... By FAR the best Scottish band. Period. (Although there have been many other fantastic bands from our wee nation).

Simple minds without a doubt the most innovative band of there other band has a back catalogue equal to these and new gold dream 81,82,83,84 is the greatest record ever put to tape...mindblowing

V 16 Comments
5 Belle and Sebastian

THE most underrated band ever. No competition. So many great songs. Stuart Murdoch is a genius, there's no other way about it. Simply incredibly. And bloody good live.

Agreed; severely underrated. and the more music I listen to the more I become convinced of this. stuart murdoch is the one of the two great writers of the English language, the other being Virginia woolf.

This should be number one for both this and top five in best bands ever! I LOVE Belle and Sebastian music

One of the coolest band.. I'm from the Philippines

V 3 Comments
6 Biffy Clyro

Amazing live, put on such a good show! Always have an amazing atmosphere when playing and when you meet the guys, they're always so nice! So friendly to their fans, best Scottish band around!

Superior musicianship and thoughtful lyrics really do make Biffy Clyro stand out as one of Scotland's greatest bands.
Franz Ferdinand have nothing on Biffy Clyro.

Just amazing I saw them live in 2007 and I've been begging since to see them again. Just their whole style of playing is amazing defiantly deserve to be at the top good call :P

Love! Love! Love!

V 12 Comments
7 Franz Ferdinand Franz Ferdinand Franz Ferdinand are a Scottish rock band, formed in 2002 and based in Glasgow. The band's original lineup was composed of Alex Kapranos, Nick McCarthy, Bob Hardy, and Paul Thomson.

Not just my favourite Scottish band, but my favourite band of all time. They have released 3 albums all of which were masterpieces, and the 4th is set to follow suit. These guys don't just play rock music they saved it, deserving of the title of "The Archdukes of Rock"

My All time Favorite band from the UK.
I've first heard them from my brother and haven't hated a single song from them yet.
I recommend this band to all who like alternative and Rock.

Franz Ferdinand completely changed my life. Every single song on every single album is just spectacular. I highly recommend this band to any Rock lovers!

V 1 Comment
8 The Proclaimers

"I would walk 500 miles and I would walk 500 more! " These guys are just so awesome. Definitely one of the best Scottish bands! I love their accent and just how awesome they make the simple lyrics sound.

Love this band. I am American and adore their Scottish accent. The music and lyrics are always great.

The proclaimers are the best band, in my opinion. Because they sing songs about them and what's on their hearts. And people still love them after 29 years

Should be number one! I am Scottish and they are my favourite band

V 8 Comments
9 The Jesus and Mary Chain The Jesus and Mary Chain The Jesus and Mary Chain are a Scottish alternative rock band formed in East Kilbride in 1983. The band revolves around the songwriting partnership of brothers Jim and William Reid.

JMC is absolutely the best Scottish band ever!! I love most of the rest on the list but JMC is the only one that help define who I am.

It's a rare trick to uphold the sacred tenets of rock & roll while simultaneously tearing them down. The mary Chain rock!

Discordant, dissonant & riotous. One of the best Scottish bands ever. Forget Biffy Clyro, man.

Still remember their 85 gig in Hamburg Where they online played like thirty minutes but blew ne totally away with their raw Energie and all their nie Where stil in the depth totally beautiful Melodie lay holden.Obe if my top five converse of all time and the best Scottish band by far.

V 3 Comments
10 Deacon Blue

Not only because of their sales but due to the quality of their music and lyrics and the powerful live acts, deacon Blue should be (at least) in TOP 5 of scottish bands.

Clearly should be in at least the top 3 if not number 1, been around for over 25 years and sell out tour after tour. As good as some of the bands listed in the top 10 here are, most of them have sold but a fraction of the tickets Deacon Blue have. To put the likes of Belle and Sebastion above them is pure snobbery.

For me, the best live band... Ever. Deacon Blue have managed to remain my favourite band since I first came across them in '89! And they're still going strong.

Just put the vinyl on after many years (Raintown) and love it more today. The world needs to know their name

V 8 Comments

The Contenders

11 Nazareth Nazareth

They have only been around for 45+ years, 22 studio albums... Scottish Rock Pioneers!... Should be Number 1 for sure!

Very under rated band. My opinion one of the best bans ever.

Brilliant band in the seventies, were probably the best Scottish rock band ever!

Great band. Great songs.

V 7 Comments
12 The Sensational Alex Harvey Band

I was hooked from the first time I heard Next... back in 1973, I went to see them Xmas 1975 & they blew me away! They have to be one of the best live acts of all time.

Saw them support Slade in 1973 and was hooked. Saw them five times in all. By far the best Scottish band for me.

Best live band in there,it was a show from street to encore.bamboo rules


V 4 Comments
13 Paolo Nutini and the Vipers

The most known young Scottish singer outside Scotland. His voice is unique: powerful and passionate, he can sing almost in any genre and he never gets boring. And his band is always quality!

The best voice to come out of Scotland! I love Paolo Nutini, I could sit and listen to him forever. His lyrics are amazing and he always sings with a touch of pain in his voice. Top guy.

So in love with this man and his voice! Bought EVERY album!

Amazingly talented guy

V 2 Comments
14 The Fratellis

Great music! I love The fratellis. It's a pity they split with such a short and promising career

"The Fratellis was my first introduction to scottish bands, and so far, the best"

Although 1 album wonders their first album was a wonder.

Seen them live, they're awesome!

V 4 Comments
15 The View

They have already bagged much of the ingenuity of great pop rock bands and I predict The View will create a few new moves

Best band in Scotland, Kyle has a very unique and powerful voice. Simple and creative.

V 1 Comment
16 The Exploited

Cannot imagine my teen years without Exploited records!

V 1 Comment
17 Travis

Incredible band, definitely my favorite. Each song is unique and triggers different emotions, and so damn creative. Doesn't hurt that Fran Healy has a voice of an angel alongside dear Saint Andrew!

Only recently started listening to Travis, but they are an absolutely amazing band. Now my favourite artist! Their songs are just magical.

Why the hell are travis at #10? Only Scottish band to have a record which is within 25 of the best selling UK albums of all time! No offense to the View but have they even sold 1 million records in total? While the Man Who has well and truly passed 6 million.

The best band

V 7 Comments
18 Texas

Texas have such amazing sons such as: Inner Smile, In Demand, Summer Son not to mention other hits, The singer has an amazing voice and charisma. A great musical export to the world.

Cannot understand why Texas are so far down this list, they are probably only second to Runrig.

19 The Corries

The harmonies between Roy and Ronnie are so amazing. Some of the songs they sing make great lullabies, and they do some classics as well. Although an older band, they are timeless.

Best folk group ever.

I like their songs.

True Scottish Hearts. Have bedn listening to them through my father at the campfire since I can remember.

20 Sparrow and the Workshop
21 Primal Scream

Primal Scream are The Rolling Stones of Scotland - hands down!

Screamadelica?! come on!

They have done nearly every music genre and released so many top quality albums. Not 'mani' bands can say that. They have so many different sounds. screamadelica is one of the greatest albums around and will be remembered for years.

22 Arab Strap

Deserve to be in the Top 10 for "The First Big Weekend" alone.

23 Hue & Cry

The brothers Kane from Glasgow. Still going strong after almost 30 years in the business. Scotland's most funky dudes.

Kane Bros - bitter suite - beautiful.

24 Skids

Crazy - if Big Country (deservedly) in top 3 then the Skids HAVE to be. Check out "Woman in Winter" and their other classics on YouTube and then change your votes!

One of the greatest bands ever from any country in the World!

I am Spanish and I can't believe that nobody added the Skids (even if it was just association because Big Country is there) - Esteluki

V 2 Comments
25 Scocha
26 Scars

No contest! One of the best bands to come out of the post punk era, lost count of the amount of times I saw 'em -should have been bigger, I ended up doing the artwork for Rob Kings (aka Lip Machine) Solo single "Lip Machine" but...

They have the best rhythm section, with great grooves! the lyrics are awesome, the guitar has a unique sound and so does the singer! what isn't there to like?

Utterly underrated band should have been recognised for the genuis they were!

A great band who should have been massive

27 Citizen Cain
28 Twin Atlantic

Young, new and fresh, they've added a lot to the music industry nowadays and are current, they'll go far- they're even better live than on there studio albums!

Comparable to Biffy, their great and very promising band. Lot of energy in their songs and lyrics and that marvelous scottish accent!

Great band, crazy live


29 Cocteau Twins

One of the most influential bands in the world, let alone Scotland.

Words cannot express my love for Liz frasers stunningly beautiful voice utterly unique singer and band

#28? What? In a class by themselves if you ask this New Yorker. But hey, perhaps I am missing something. Perhaps these bands ahead of them on this list need my attention. All I can say is the Cocteau Twins are etherial bliss.


30 Frightened Rabbit

Super solid indie rock. Brilliant use of three guitarists, heart on sleeve lyrics... And great accents of course.

Best live band I've seen from Scotland for a few years.
Gman Shoreditch radio

31 Mogwai Mogwai Mogwai are a Scottish post-rock band, formed in 1995 in Glasgow. The band consists of Stuart Braithwaite, Barry Burns, Dominic Aitchison, and Martin Bulloch.

Their music caused my mate to collapse through the sheer volume and sensual assault. Mogwai are the only band which make me smile when I see them live.

A band that can create a wide range of emotions

Beautiful and angry all at the same time

32 Snow Patrol Snow Patrol Snow Patrol are a Northern Irish rock band formed in 1993, consisting of Gary Lightbody, Nathan Connolly, Paul Wilson, Jonny Quinn, and Johnny McDaid. V 2 Comments
33 Del Amitri

The best band in the world of all time. Justin's lyrics and vocals never equalled.

One of the great power pop bands of all time. I miss these guys!

Fantastic timeless lyrics. Great live. Sorely missed.

Del Anitra is a fantastic scottish band and their sound is pure gold, can't see why they would fall so far down this list

34 Glasvegas

Glasvegas are a top band, not felt a Scottish band hit me with a wall of Guitar fuzz since the wonderful Big country

Very strong and true lyrics and then the sound is almost unique, their first album is best.

35 Manran
36 The Trashcan Sinatras

Ridiculously clever lyrics and infectious melodies. They are masters of the art of songwriting.

Cleverer than clever lyrics, guitar parts better than belle sweetest melodies SHOULD BE IN TOP TEN!

V 2 Comments
37 The Paul McKenna Band

One of my favourite bands

38 Bay City Rollers

Selling millions and MILLIONS of records in the 70s should surely get them higher than #67?!

Come on Laddies show the Rollers some love

Eric's hair makes him look a Chia Pet to be honest

39 Idlewild

Worldwide success. Continue to sell out venues.

Love this band!

40 The Blue Nile

These are essentiel and unique. No one comes close to the heartfelt vocals of Paul Buchanan. Pop perfection.

V 2 Comments
41 Teenage Fanclub

Sunshine music for dreich days.

Best scottish band by a stretch

42 We Were Promised Jetpacks

One of the best live Scottish acts today. They're very much about the crescendo and the wall of sound they hit you with is incredible. Their 2009 'These Four Walls' is a hell of a debut album. 2011's 'In the Pit of the Stomach' is nearly an hour of blissful indie post-punk with the aforementioned walls of sound. 2014's 'Unravelling' shows their experimental side. Excited for what's to come of this group.

43 The Average White Band

Definitely top ten band.

Yep top ten band for me

Most underrated soul,jazz,funk band ever!
They should be top 10.. at least.

44 Eurythmics Eurythmics Eurythmics were a British music duo consisting of members Annie Lennox and David A. Stewart. Stewart and Lennox were both previously in the band The Tourists, who split up in 1980; Eurythmics were formed that year in London.

Annie Lennox is the main 'man' in this band.

45 The Beta Band

rare gem

46 Boards of Canada
47 Django Django

Been a huge fan of Django Django for a while. Just saw them play at the Unknown Festival in Croatia. One of the best live acts I have ever seen.

48 The Waterboys

Mike Scott is the Waterboys and as a supreme songwriter his canon of songs has no rival among Scots. An extraordinary talent.

Apart from Whole of the Moon, Mike Scott's Waterboys went complete under the radar until I heard Moden Blues (2015) which is an excellent album. Now explored the back catalogue. It's like finding a musical treasure chest.

Cannot believe no one has nominated mike Scotts vehicle for his songwriting genius. Deserve top 10 for whole of the moon alone but so much more to this magnificent band

Fishermens blues one of best songs ever. Unbelievable no one voting for this wonderful band

49 Skipinnish

I've been walking walking these shores all my days but with you by my side I've been walking on the waves

Great Band. West Coast is the best coast!

50 Wet Wet Wet

Most underrated band with great songs and they are back soon with new material

Great lead singer in Marty Pellow and one of the biggest selling tracks of all time in Love is all around.

PSearch List

Recommended Lists

Related Lists

Top Scottish Football Teams Top Ten Scottish Army Regiments Best Unofficial Scottish Demonyms Top Ten Ways for the English to Annoy the Scottish Top Ten Scottish Fictional Characters

List Stats

1,000 votes
76 listings
9 years, 298 days old

Top Remixes (6)

1. The Jesus and Mary Chain
2. Belle and Sebastian
3. Franz Ferdinand
1. Paolo Nutini and the Vipers
2. Biffy Clyro
3. Belle and Sebastian
1. Nazareth
2. Big Country
3. The Sensational Alex Harvey Band

View All 6

Error Reporting

See a factual error in these listings? Report it here.