18 Songs, 1 Hour, 3 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Guitarist Stuart Adamson found musical redemption for his majestic Caledonian anthems when his band Big Country earned worldwide fame in 1983. But before that, his first (and arguably better) group, The Skids, unfurled four great, if moderately selling, albums and many singles on the U.K.'s Virgin Records from 1978 to 1981. What makes The Skids' music age well is how their songs sound like what exultation feels like. It’s heavy rock ’n’ roll tinged with Scottish regionalism that soars like Thin Lizzy (“Circus Games,” "Masquerade”) and is as strident as The Clash (“Workin’ for the Yankee Dollar,” “Charade”). “A Woman in Winter,” “Fields,” “Iona,” and the commanding, Bill Nelson–produced “Animation” are all major-to-minor anthemic mixes of melancholia and powered-up Celtic folk. The tunes traded on youth and fervor: the same combination that defined early U2, a band whose Skids fandom was obvious. (In 2006, U2 and Green Day together covered The Skids’ great “The Saints Are Coming” to benefit Hurricane Katrina victims.)

EDITORS’ NOTES

Guitarist Stuart Adamson found musical redemption for his majestic Caledonian anthems when his band Big Country earned worldwide fame in 1983. But before that, his first (and arguably better) group, The Skids, unfurled four great, if moderately selling, albums and many singles on the U.K.'s Virgin Records from 1978 to 1981. What makes The Skids' music age well is how their songs sound like what exultation feels like. It’s heavy rock ’n’ roll tinged with Scottish regionalism that soars like Thin Lizzy (“Circus Games,” "Masquerade”) and is as strident as The Clash (“Workin’ for the Yankee Dollar,” “Charade”). “A Woman in Winter,” “Fields,” “Iona,” and the commanding, Bill Nelson–produced “Animation” are all major-to-minor anthemic mixes of melancholia and powered-up Celtic folk. The tunes traded on youth and fervor: the same combination that defined early U2, a band whose Skids fandom was obvious. (In 2006, U2 and Green Day together covered The Skids’ great “The Saints Are Coming” to benefit Hurricane Katrina victims.)

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About The Skids

The Scottish art-punk unit Skids formed in Dunfermline in 1977. Comprised of the dramatic vocalist Richard Jobson, guitarist Stuart Adamson, bassist William Simpson, and drummer Tom Kellichan, the group issued the single "Reasons" on their own No Bad label before signing to Virgin. After two more singles, "Sweet Suburbia" and "The Saints Are Coming," Skids entered the U.K. Top Ten with "Into the Valley," included on their 1979 debut LP Scared to Dance, a fine document of the anthemic guitar riffs and chanted choruses which typified the first phase of the group's music.

With their second effort, 1979's arty Days in Europa (produced by Be Bop Deluxe's Bill Nelson), Skids scored a pair of Top 20 hits with "Masquerade" and "Working for the Yankee Dollar." Trouble loomed, however, as Jobson's increasingly grandiose plans for the group's music alienated not only their fans but also their own rhythm section, and both Simpson and Kellichan were long gone by the time of 1980's The Absolute Game, recorded with bassist Russell Webb and drummer Mike Baillie. By 1981's Joy, only Jobson remained from Skids' original lineup. Prior to recording the album, Adamson quit to form his own group, the internationally successful Big Country. After the release of the folk-indebted Joy, Skids officially disbanded; Jobson soon returned as a solo artist before forming the Armoury Show and beginning a career as a broadcaster.

In 2007, Jobson, Simpson, Baillie, and Big Country's Bruce Watson, and Watson's son Jamie, got back together to perform at T in the Park and two nights in their hometown of Dunfermline. Celebrating the 30th anniversary of the bands formation, the shows also paid tribute to former member Stuart Adamson, who passed away in 2001. Over the next couple of years, the same line-up performed a handful of times in their native Scotland, including a show at the 2010 Fifer Festival, which was celebrating the work of Jobson.

2017 saw the original line-up re-form to celebrate their 40th anniversary with a nationwide U.K. tour. With the dates rejuvenating the group's passion, the band entered the studio to record new material. The resulting fifth album, Burning Cities, was issued at the beginning of 2018. ~ Jason Ankeny

  • ORIGIN
    Dunfermline, Scotland
  • GENRE
    Rock
  • FORMED
    1977

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