The Proclaimers scored a minor hit with their 1987 debut album, This Is The Story, but they burrowed far deeper into the public consciousness when fellow Scot Gerry Rafferty[https://www.thisisdig.com/feature/best-gerry-rafferty-songs/] helped them produce a new version of its centrepiece song, Letter From America. Upgrading the original’s sparse arrangement with a full band, the new recording had enough radio-friendly clout to soar to No.3, and its success gave The Proclaimers a head start when it came to recording their second album, Sunshine On Leith.
Listen to ‘Sunshine On Leith’ here.
“That’s when you know you have got something. Your own people sing your own song”
For their second album, Proclaimers singer Craig Reid and his guitarist/vocalist twin brother, Charlie, offered the producer’s chair to Pete Wingfield. Known to many for his 1975 solo hit, Eighteen With A Bullet, Wingfield was also a renowned session musician and producer, with a CV that boasted work with everyone from Nazareth to The Zombies’ Colin Blunstone. Yet it was his soul music pedigree – and one particular production credit – which landed him the gig with The Proclaimers.
“He’s definitely the best piano player in Britain,” Craig told The Washington Post in 1994. “Also the fact that he produced a very important album to us, which is the first Dexys Midnight Runners album [Searching For The Young Soul Rebels], that was a big influence.”
Dexys had already played a significant part in The Proclaimers’ story, as frontman Kevin Rowland had produced their first demo – a recording which led to the Scottish duo landing a slot opening for The Housemartins on tour in 1986 and scoring their recording contract with Chrysalis Records. Now, Dexys’ producer was tasked with sculpting the sound of Sunshine On Leith, a record which would need to withstand the weight of expectation following the success of Letter From America.