The Proclaimers are a Scottish band composed of twin brothers Charlie and Craig Reid (born 5 March 1962). They are best known for the songs "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)", "Sunshine on Leith", "I'm On My Way" and "Letter from America", and their distinctive singing style with a Scottish accent. The band tours extensively throughout the world. They have released ten studio albums from 1987 until the present, as well as three compilation albums and a DVD.
Craig Reid and Charlie Reid were born in Leith on 5 March 1962, and grew up in Edinburgh, Cornwall and Auchtermuchty. When they lived in Auchtermuchty they attended Bell Baxter High School. After several punk rock bands at school they formed the Proclaimers in 1983.
The pair came to public attention when an Inverness-based fan sent their demo to the English band the Housemartins, who were impressed enough to invite the Proclaimers on their 1986 United Kingdom tour. The exposure of the tour won them a January 1987 appearance on the British pop music television programme The Tube on Channel Four; "Letter from America" peaked at number three in the UK Singles Chart, while the album This Is the Story went gold. The follow-up album Sunshine on Leith featured "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" and "I'm On My Way". They had a hit with their EP King of the Road, which reached number nine in the UK in 1990. After seven low-profile years, they released their comeback album Persevere in 2001.
In March 2007 they recorded a new version of "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" with television comedy characters Andy Pipkin (played by Matt Lucas) and Brian Potter (Peter Kay) for the Comic Relief charity. A long list of celebrities were featured in the music video for this new version, including David Bellamy, Rod, Jane and Freddy, Paul O'Grady, David Tennant, Frank Sidebottom and many more. This new version of the song reached number one in the UK Singles Chart.
A stage musical featuring their songs, Sunshine on Leith, was created in 2007 for Dundee Rep and adapted as a feature film in 2013.
The band was one of the B-52s' touring partners on their Funplex tour in Australia and New Zealand in November 2009, alongside Mental as Anything.
They featured in VH1's 100 greatest one hit wonders ("I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" having been their only US hit single).
The brothers are fans of Hibernian Football Club, and "Sunshine on Leith" has become a club anthem, being played at home matches for important fixtures, such as the Edinburgh derby versus Heart of Midlothian FC, the club's city rivals. Charlie and Craig Reid appeared at the Easter Road stadium for the "Hands Off Hibs" campaign in 1990 when Wallace Mercer, a wealthy Edinburgh businessman with direct connections to Hearts FC, attempted a takeover of the club but was defeated by organised fan resistance.
They are also well-known supporters of Scottish independence and have, at various stages of their lives, been activists for the Scottish National Party, expressing such views during their promotional tour of Britain in March 2007.
On 16 May 2006 the twins announced their participation in a campaign to free a fellow Scot, Kenny Richey, from his death row sentence in Ohio, including an appearance at a charity concert. Also, in 2010 they participated with Billy Bragg in a show supporting Reprieve, a charity that seeks to end the use of the death penalty. (In December 2007, Kenny Richey accepted a plea bargain, which led to his release from death row and return to Scotland on January 9, 2008.)
The Proclaimers also support other charities such as the Lighthouse Foundation (addiction victims), Worldwide Cancer Research, Drake Music Scotland (helping disabled people through music) and 500 Miles (amputees and disabled people in Africa).