Singles & EPs
For 45 years, Scottish ensemble Runrig combined traditional Celtic music and anthemic rock into rousing pub sing-alongs fit for a stadium. But it took the band some time to meet the masses. Formed on Scotland’s Isle of Skye in 1973 by brothers Rory Macdonald and Calum Macdonald—the only two constant members for the band’s entire tenure—Runrig initially sang primarily in Gaelic, though their classic-rock-indebted sound (bearing traces of Thin Lizzy’s molten guitar melodies) betrayed their crossover potential. That breakthrough finally came with 1987’s The Cutter and the Clan, whose shimmering highland hymns ushered in a string of UK Top 20 albums that made Runrig a popular concert draw. (Certainly, their music benefits from a supporting cast of thousands singing along: The definitive version of their signature power ballad, “Loch Lomond,” hails from the 1988 live album Once in a Lifetime.) In 1997, frontman Donnie Munro left the band to pursue his political ambitions and was replaced by Canadian singer/songwriter Bruce Guthro, who led the band right up to their final two shows for a combined crowd of 50,000 at Scotland’s Stirling Castle in 2018, as immortalized on the live set The Last Dance.
- April, 1973