Many successful bands can fall back on the success of their biggest-selling chart hit, but few are lucky enough to pen a smash that can transcend fad, fashion and genre. The Proclaimers, however, can count themselves in this privileged elite, for their signature song, I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles), has found favour with music fans of all persuasions since it first cracked the UK Top 20 in 1988.
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“It enables us to get the rest of our music out there”
“Letter From America and I’m On My Way make good money,” singer Craig Reid told The Guardian in 2015, before revealing, “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) makes about five times more than the rest of our songs added up. It enables us to make other records and stay on the road, getting the rest of our music out there.”
The Proclaimers had already chalked up their bona fide breakthrough hit – 1987’s Letter From America – when they first issued I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) as the lead single from their second album, Sunshine On Leith. In fact, it’s often forgotten that Letter From America was actually the bigger hit at the time, reaching No.3 on release compared with I’m Gonna Be’s initial chart peak of No.11.