I remember listening to the Jimmy Shand's Band as a child. My parents LOVED his music. He had a unique style and you couldn't help tap your toes whenever you heard Jimmy's music. Folk were excited when one of his most famous pieces "The Bluebell Polka" even reached the Charts!
He was born in East Wemyss in Fife, Scotland, the son of a farm ploughman turned miner. He was one of nine children, and the family soon moved to
(also birthplace of Craig and Charlie Reid of the
). His father was a musician and Jimmy started with the mouth organ and soon played the fiddle. At the age of 14 he had to leave school and go down the mines. He played at social events and competitions. He also had a great enthusiasm for motor-bikes which served him well when he travelled around the Kingdom of Fife playing at numerous events. In 1926 he played at some Benefit Functions for miners who were out on strike, and after that he never returned to work in the coal mines.
Jimmy Shand with his famous accordian
One day Jimmy and a friend were admiring the instruments in the window of Forbes' Music Shop in Dundee. His friend said "It wouldn't cost you to try one". Jimmy walked in and strapped on an accordion. The owner heard Jimmy and immediately offered him a job as travelling salesman and debt-collector. He soon acquired a van and drove all over the north of Scotland. He switched to the British chromatic button accordion, an instrument he used for the rest of his life.
It is interesting to note that Shand is accredited to composing around 330 pieces of music, but a fact you may find even more amazing is that it is believed that he recorded more tracks than the Beatles and Elvis Presley combined!!! I found this absolutely astonishing.
Statue of Jimmy Shand in Auchtermuchty
Today, people buy his sheet music, his recordings and the interest in his music is still great. You can learn more by reading his biography "The Jimmy Shand Story: The King of Scottish Dance Music" by Ian Cameron (2001).
See also the following pages:-
Prime Minister Gordon Brown
- Britain's Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, was raised and educated in Kirkcaldy, Fife. Barbara Dickson
- The famous singer and actress from Dunfermline. Alexander Fleming
- His discovery of Penicillin changed the world. The Proclaimers
- the twin brother singing duo who made famous the song 'if I could walk 500 miles'. Andrew Carnegie
- the great philanthropist who came from Dunfermline, Fife but made his fortune in the Steel Industry. Jack Vettriano
- the painter from Methil in Fife has reached fame with his wonderful art. Ian Rankin
- the novelist and author of the famous Inspector Rebus Books.