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About Jimmy Shand

Sir Jimmy Shand was Scotland's answer to America's "king of the polka," Lawrence Welk. One of the most successful entertainers in the United Kingdom during the post-World War II era, Shand was awarded a MBE (Medal of the British Empire) in 1962 and knighted in 1999. Although his peak came in 1955 when his recording "The Bluebell Polka" sold more than a million copies and became a Top 20 hit, Shand received the love of the British public for the rest of his life. A regular guest on BBC TV shows, he had his final success, in 1994, when his video "Dancing With the Shands" was listed in the U.K. Music Video Charts' Top Ten for five weeks. The son of a miner who played melodeon in his spare time, Shand was destined for a career in the mines until a general strike, in 1926, prevented him from working. Turning to music, he worked at Forbes' Music Shop and began performing. Recording traditional Scottish jigs for Regal Zonophone in 1933, he made his debut appearance on BBC Radio the following year. Following World War II, he recorded at a prolific rate for EMI/Parlophone. Richard Thompson paid homage to Shand in his song, "Don't Step on My Jimmy Shands." ~ Craig Harris

East Wemyss, Fife, Scotland
28 Jan 1908

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