When: 22nd June – 25th November 2018
Where: National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, Edinburgh
£: Tickets cost £10 for adults, £8 for concessions and £7 for children. Children under 12 years go free. Discounts available
What is it?
This summer, the National Museum of Scotland will present Rip it Up: The Story of Scottish Pop, the first major exhibition dedicated to Scottish pop music, exploring the musical culture of the nation over more than half a century, from influential indie pioneers to global superstars.
Rip It Up puts music in the spotlight, featuring archive footage and new interviews with artists and musicians along with iconic costumes, memorabilia, instruments and props from musicians including The Proclaimers, Shirley Manson, Midge Ure, Simple Minds, Alex Harvey, Texas, Franz Ferdinand and Young Fathers. The majority of the 300 objects on display are being lent to the exhibition by the artists themselves and in many cases have never before been on public display.
The exhibition takes visitors through the early beginnings of the music scene, exploring the roots of Scottish popular music, through the dawn of skiffle and the emergence of Lonnie Donegan; against the backdrop of cafes and dancehalls, the overlap with Scottish folk and traditional music and the formation of the popular music industry.
Delving into punk and new wave, the exhibition traces the influential role of record labels such as Postcard, Creation and Fast Product; through costume, instruments and artwork relating to Josef K, Orange Juice and the Fire Engines, amongst others.
This was also the time of the Rezillos (highlighted by the green jumpsuit worn on Top of the Pops by Eugene Reynolds), Altered Images (loans from Clare Grogan include a dress made for their 1982 US tour), The Skids (handwritten lyrics and a guitar bought for Richard Jobson in Woolworths by Stuart Adamson, later of Big Country), and The Associates (a master tape from December 1980 and a beret worn by Billy McKenzie).
The exhibition features photographs of many of these artists taken by Glasgow’s Harry Papadopulous, who was a staff photographer for Sounds magazine. Foundations were laid for the likes of Primal Scream, Teenage Fanclub, BMX Bandits and the Jesus and Mary Chain, who also feature.
One of the biggest Scottish acts to emerge from the post punk period was Simple Minds, from whom there are two decorated acoustic guitars and a very early gig poster. They will be among artists showcased in the ‘going global’ section of the exhibition, alongside many other artists with a notable international impact; ranging from Average White Band and The Bay City Rollers to Midge Ure, Franz Ferdinand, Annie Lennox, Biffy Clyro, Shirley Manson, Texas and Paulo Nutini.
Treasures range in size and scope from Shirley Manson’s bright orange jacket worn on the poster for Garbage’s 1998 release of Version 2.0 to the robot stage props from Franz Ferdinand’s 2006 world tour, the guitar set on fire by Biffy Clyro at the Reading Festival, the tartan trouser suit designed by Annie Lennox and made by Jeff Banks which she wore during the Eurythmics’ Touch tour (1983-4), and the photograph of the Average White Band jamming onstage in the USA with Marvin Gaye.
Bands including The Proclaimers, Capercaillie and Runrig will also feature, as the exhibition explores artists who have made a point of emphasising their Scottish language or identity in their work. Within that, particular parts of Scotland have at different times been notable hubs of musical creativity, most obviously Glasgow, and also Fife with the Beta Band and the Fence Collective.
During the run of Rip It Up, a programme of musical events will allow audiences to participate in and experience Scottish pop music first hand through live performances, talks and discussions hosted at the National Museum of Scotland. Additionally, associated programming will be included as part of the Southern Exposure festival at Summerhall and during the Edinburgh International Festival as well as new Edinburgh music walking tours. On Saturday 23rd June there will be music from the likes of Stanley Odd, Emma Pollock (hurrah!), Withered Hand (double hurrah!), Modern Studies and Be Charlotte at Summerhall.
More info: www.nms.ac.uk/ripitup