Top Ten Best Scottish Bands


The Top Ten

1 Runrig

No other band stirs my soul and fills me with such love for my Country! The music just takes you straight to the place intended! Fantastic song writing and the Live Shows are just incredible! Donnie, Rory, Bruce and Brian have magical voices. Malcolm makes that guitar sing like no other! Simply in a class of their own! There will never be another Runrig!

No other band stirs my spirit like 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.

2 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!

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

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

Great young lads going to have the pleasure of mixing there album at Eggman Studios

3 Big Country

One of many great bands to form from the ashes of the Skids, this band showcased Stuart Adamson's extraordinary song-writing and guitar talents. I once had the honor of spending a few hours jamming with him at a friend's house in Dundee. I was much saddened when Stuart moved on to the next life, but I hope he is happy, quietly jamming somewhere. I have band practice today, so I'll play a riff in remembrance of him. Great list, by the way. Many thanks

Simply the Greatest guitarist ever from the UK - (R.I.P Stuart) - from the greatest band ever based in Scotland, and the best LIVE band to come from the UK since the 1980s FULL STOP

Number 1 by miles (400 at least...! )

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.

Big Country was and will always be the quintessential Scottish band. Who's Runrig? Ever wondered how Runrig's "Skye" or "Protect & Survive" would have sounded without because's "The Crossing"?

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.

Brilliant.. thank you Scotland! from Australia

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

Loved their early stuff but also 'the stadium years' which were criminally underrated.

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

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

Intense visuals in their lyrics and a great sound. Only band I know of that constantly keeps me guessing and enjoying each song a hundred times over.

7 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.


8 The Proclaimers

Why is this not number 1

"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.

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

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

9 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.

I know they were formed in Glasgow but aren't they really a British band not just a Scottish band, I mean one half of there band is Scottish and the other half English, though if they do count as a Scottish band then probably my favorite Scottish band

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!

1 Comment
10 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.

Balladeers of darkness. Teenage angst and desire and beautiful simple tunes.


The Contenders

11 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.

Swaying arms has to be one of the most romantic songs of all time. True soul and love.

12 Nazareth Nazareth

Greatest Scottish hard rock band of them all. Listen to hair of the dog, so influential to bands like Guns n Roses.

A much under rated band, I have always liked 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.

13 The Sensational Alex Harvey Band

I'm hooked on this band, I really love this kind of music, would loved to have seen them live,and alex Harvey is very addictive, draws you in, great charisma, got to be the most entertaining band of all time definitely different, surely that's what its all about, love the way Harvey tries to scare the audience but I'm more hooked...pure brilliant

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

14 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.

Amazingly talented guy

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

15 The Fratellis

Come on, this is the best band since cosine velvet club.

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.

16 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.


17 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.

18 The Exploited

hee hee

Cannot imagine my teen years without Exploited records!

B O I the exploited is the best punk band ever

19 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.

20 Sparrow and the Workshop

Top 3 favorite bands. Never gets old. Best music for fall into wintertime. Keeps your blood flowing

21 Travis

The best even where in teen girl magazine Mizz in 2001 interview.

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.

22 Arab Strap

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

23 Hue & Cry

Sorely underrated. Extraordinary pool of talent in this band and solo projects.

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 Primal Scream

They are the best band of 90th

You'd think they would be higher.

No. 1

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

25 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

One of the top bands for their time

The best scottish band ever.oh the best band ever. Iam english.

26 Scocha

Having watched this band on Friday, I can honestly say this is the best present day scottish folk n rock band, the energy they produce is outstanding.

27 Citizen Cain
28 Capercaillie
29 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

30 Frightened Rabbit

Quite simply one of the best bands of all time.

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 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


32 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

33 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.

Got to be number 1

Isn't Snow Patrol Irish?

What can a say absalute brilliant

34 Manran
35 Del Amitri

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

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

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

36 Teenage Fanclub

Can't believe three's been a better Scottish band...

Sunshine music for dreich days.

Best scottish band by a stretch

37 Bay City Rollers Bay City Rollers The Bay City Rollers are a Scottish pop band whose popularity peaked in the mid 1970s. The British Hit Singles & Albums noted they were "tartan teen sensations from Edinburgh", and were "the first of many acts heralded as the 'biggest group since the Beatles' and one of the most screamed-at teeny-bopper more.

Very underrated. Take a listen to their 80s albums. Completely different band.

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

38 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.

39 Glasvegas

Glasvegas go to a place beyond music

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.

40 Idlewild

Worldwide success. Continue to sell out venues.

Love this band!

41 The Blue Nile

Distinctive, classy and very very moody.

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

Hands down the best of timeless emotive pop. top crooner too.

42 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!

43 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.

44 We Were Promised Jetpacks

These Four Walls is a perfect album start to finish.

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.

45 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!

Brilliant lyrics, always wonderful with a tune.

What was the question again?

46 The Paul McKenna Band

One of my favourite bands

47 Skerryvore

Great band and always good for a great time and dancing around... if ya have seen them "live" once ya keep want to see them again in concert

48 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.

49 Alestorm Alestorm Alestorm is a heavy metal band originally from Perth, Scotland. Their music is characterized by a pirate theme, and as a result they have been dubbed a "pirate metal" band by many critics and their fanbase.

One of the biggest Pirate metal bands in the world, they helped to thrust the genre in to the mainstream. Originating from Perth, Scotland. - l09andc

50 Red Hot Chilli Pipers

Once you've seen them live, you will always remember. Just a happy band.

Bag Rock Rules!

8Load More
PSearch List

Related Lists

Top Scottish Football Teams Top Ten Scottish Fictional Characters Top Ten Most Iconic Authors in Scottish Literature Top Ten Roads in the Scottish Highland You Should Drive On Top Ten Most Famous Scottish Cities

List StatsUpdated 1 May 2018

2,000 votes
77 listings
11 years, 174 days old

Top Remixes (6)

1. Nazareth
2. Big Country
3. The Sensational Alex Harvey Band
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

View All 6

Error Reporting

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