The Proclaimers talk nostalgia and enduring hits ahead of their Dubai concert

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The Proclaimers talk nostalgia and enduring hits ahead of their Dubai concert
The Proclaimers

Guitarist Charlie Reid lets us in on the secret of the band's most famous song, I'm Gonna Be


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Published: Sun 24 Apr 2016, 4:55 PM

Last updated: Sun 24 Apr 2016, 7:20 PM

Would you walk 500 miles... and 500 more, for someone you loved?
Back in 1988, Craig and Charlie Reid of The Proclaimers announced, in their distinctive singing style and strong Scottish accents on the bestselling single I'm Gonna Be, that such a trek was far from impossible. Today, however, guitarist Charlie is not too sure that love could induce him go to any such lengths. "Unlikely at my age," he joked with City Times ahead of the band's performance in Dubai.
But he acknowledged that the song, their most famous hit to date, was special, and continues to strike a chord with listeners almost thirty years after its release. "It's a very positive song with a driving beat and a 'call-and-response' chorus," said Charlie of I'm Gonna Be, which Johnny Depp fans may recall was prominently featured in the 1993 romantic comedy Benny and Joon.
The band have remained prolific since forming in 1983 (2015's Let's Hear it for the Dogs was their tenth studio album), and Charlie went down memory lane to tell us why they decided to call themselves The Proclaimers.
"We wanted a name that reflected the way we put the songs - strong and forthright," he said.
Nostalgia - whether musical or otherwise - is a big part of our lives today and when asked about the enduring appeal of songs from previous decades, especially the 80s, he commented, "I suppose we are reminded of a time when we were young and without responsibilities."
As young and irresponsible teenagers in 1988, we found I'm Gonna Be irresistibly catchy, a tune that always inspired us to sing along in our best fake Scottish accent, which doubtless The Proclaimers would not have been impressed with.
But that won't stop us from giving the old vocal cords a bit of exercise this Thursday at The Irish Village, wearing our favourite retro outfits.
The Proclaimers are no strangers to Dubai, having first performed here in 2002, and again in 2012. "Great energy in Dubai," remarked Charlie. The Irish Village is a good venue with an enthusiastic crowd." As the band continue to tour extensively (they're headed to Australia next) it seems apt that Charlie's philosophy of music is: "Walk on. Plug in. Play."

I'm Gonna Be has a 'call-and-response' chorus. According to, call-and-response is a form of music sung by (or at least from the perspective of) two or more people. Rather than sing the same part or do different verses, one person sings a statement, the other gives a reply. Some other 'call-and-response' songs:
*A Girl Like You - Edwin Collins
*Boys Keep Swinging - David Bowie
*Hello, You Beautiful Thing - Jason Mraz
*My Generation - The Who
*Once in a Lifetime - The Talking Heads

Charlie reveals his favourite 'anthems' from the era: "Mary's Prayer by Danny Wilson was good. Also, Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen." (

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