Sinatra in Scotland: 1990, The Second Time Around

10 Jul

This post was written and first published in July 2010

Alison Kerr's Jazz Blog

Twenty years ago, my hometown of Glasgow celebrated being named a European City of Culture. One of the most eagerly anticipated events in the city’s cultural calendar that memorable year was a concert by the man who was arguably the greatest singer of the 20th century – Frank Sinatra. From the beginning of Glasgow’s year as a City of Culture, a visit by Ol’ Blue Eyes had been dangled tantalisingly before Glaswegians. And when it finally happened, on July 10, 1990, it proved to be a night to remember.

Scots jazz singer Carol Kidd and her London-based trio had been asked to be the support band after Sinatra’s “people” came to a concert and asked for all her CDs to be sent to the man himself. Kidd and her pianist, fellow Glaswegian David Newton, were in Ibrox throughout the day.

“We turned up quite early,” says Newton, “and watched the…

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Laurel & Hardy in Edinburgh, 1932

20 Mar

This delightful newsreel has just come to our attention and we had to share it. In scenes which seem to mirror those at Glasgow’s Central Station (but without the casualties – as far as we know), Stan and Ollie are seen arriving in the capital’s Waverley Station, visiting Edinburgh Castle, onstage at the Playhouse and indulging in some classic L&H “business”.

Classical City of Stars Exhibition

14 Oct

Saturday was the official opening of the new Classical City of Stars exhibition, commissioned by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra – 30 images, sourced from the archive of the Herald & Times, of world-famous classical music stars when they visited Glasgow.  Here’s the online version of the news story that appeared in Saturday’s edition of The Herald.Classical City of Stars - Herald story 2

City of Stars Auction

11 Mar

City of Stars 2 001Last February, the first manifestation of my research into the stars’ visits to Scotland appeared – in the form of an exhibition at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.

Featuring 24 photos from the archive of The Herald & Times Group, City of Stars highlighted Glasgow’s status as a major stop-off point for major stars from the worlds of music, movies and showbusiness during the decades from the 1920s on.

Indeed, during the late 1940s and 1950s especially there was an incredible amount of traffic from Hollywood in particular; so much so that some of the visits were only given a tiny amount of coverage. Often the photographs taken didn’t even make it into the papers.

The cast of stars in the exhibition included Gene Kelly (above), Elizabeth Taylor, Cary Grant, Judy Garland, Katharine Hepburn, Mae West, Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr, Marlene Dietrich, Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis, Louis Armstrong and Danny Kaye. The texts that accompanied some of these pictures will appear on this website in due course.

The exhibition was due to end in September. It has proved so popular, however, that it is still up – and a second exhibition is due to open next week. In the meantime, the framed photographs from City of Stars (1) are being auctioned off. If you live in or near Glasgow and fancy taking a star home with you, please visit the exhibition and fill out a form to place your silent bid ..

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