Scotland’s iconic songs
Thanks to Mollie for initiating this one asking about bedtime songs for her children. I have a lovely image in my head of a goodnight ritual of stories and songs. Please don’t say anything to remove that image!
Scotland doesn’t have an official national anthem : controversially that’s reserved to the U.K. despite the awful (and rarely sung) 3rd verse of God Save the Queen.
Flower of Scotland, The Corries, 1967
Mollie started by asking about the Edward mentioned in Flower of Scotland. It’s a modern song from a group called The Corries. video here.
This 1967 song celebrates Robert the Bruce’s victory over Edward II of England at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. Some think it rather a dirge and some criticise it as being anti-English but it’s pretty hard not to join in it being sung with great gusto at international sporting events.
Caledonia, Dougie Maclean, 1977
Much beloved, this song of yearning for Scotland is by the wonderful Dougie Maclean. Some argue for it being the national anthem but Dougie says he wouldn’t want that and I don’t think the lyrics are appropriate. Full lyrics here and this from the man himself in this video.
Freedom Come All Ye, Hamish Henderson, 1960
Another contender for an anthem but Hamish was ever ‘alternative’ and would never wish to be so ‘official’. But enjoy the robust Scots language and the reworking of a fine old tune and additional details here.
A Man’s a Man, Robert Burns, 1795
Scotland the Brave, unknown, 20th cent
Another old contender for a national anthem and used at official sporting events 7ntil overtaken by Flower of Scotland, this is often regarded as traditional but is just 20th century. The lyrics usually sung are from a 1950s version by Scottish journalist Cliff Hanley. 2014 Edinburgh Tattoo performance here.
- Hark when the night is falling
Hear! Hear the pipes are calling,
Loudly and proudly calling,
Down thro’ the glen.
There where the hills are sleeping,
Now feel the blood a-leaping,
High as the spirits of the old Highland men.
Towering in gallant fame,
Scotland my mountain hame,
High may your proud standards gloriously wave,
Land of my high endeavour,
Land of the shining river,
Land of my heart for ever,
Scotland the brave.