Ensuring the legacy of ‘jingle king’ continues

Uddingston Grammar pupils Rebecca Steven and Heather Smyth from Bothwell are joint winners of the Harry Barry Prize for Music 2017
Uddingston Grammar pupils Rebecca Steven and Heather Smyth from Bothwell are joint winners of the Harry Barry Prize for Music 2017

A prize in memory of Uddingston musician Harry Barry has been awarded at his former school.

Uddingston Grammar pupils Heather Smyth (17) and Rebecca Steven (18) were jointly awarded the Harry Barry Prize for Music at the school’s prizegiving ceremony.

Uddingston musician Harry Barry

Uddingston musician Harry Barry

The girls each received a trophy and the opportunity to record in a professional recording studio.

Heather, of Bothwell, a sixth year pupil at the school, said : “We are delighted to win this award.

“Rebecca and I have been learning the violin together since primary school.

“We both play in South Lanarkshire Orchestra, the West of Scotland Orchestra and the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland.

“It’s exciting to have the opportunity to record in a professional studio and we are planning to play some duets together as well as solo pieces.”

Heather is heading to Edinburgh University after the summer to study Medicine and Rebecca, also of Bothwell, will embark on the BEd Music degree at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Heather said: “We’re hoping to get into the studio to record before we go to university.”

Harry’s family launched the award in 2015 as a tribute to the musician who wrote hundreds of jingles and songs in a career spanning 50 years.

The prize includes recording at Riverside Music Complex in Busby.

Duncan Cameron, who runs the studio and was a friend of Harry’s, said: “I am thrilled to be supporting the award again this year.

“Harry was a great pal and it’s a good way to keep his legacy going.”

Harry (pictured, above right) became a professional musician at the age of 16 and the singer songwriter, dubbed Scotland’s jingle king, was responsible for some of the country’s most well-known ads.

His most notable are Forrest Furnishing (Get it at Forrest) – which is still on air after more than 40 years – just like the similarly enduring Barras are Better.

Scotland’s top ad man, Roy McCallum, of the Levy McCallum advertising agency, based in Glasgow, said: “ I can think of no more appropriate way to preserve Harry’s memory than by this annual award.

“Finding ways to interest young people in music was always very close to his heart.

“Harry was a highly original musician and composer. Whether he was working on a new song or a new advertising jingle you could be quite certain that the end result would be something very, very fresh.

“He would have rejoiced just listening to the enthusiasm of these youngsters.”

Harry’s back catalogue includes everything from Ally’s Tartan Army with the 1978 Scotland World Cup squad to producing work for Tiger Tim Stevens and the Krankies.

He also wrote traditional Scots songs Scotland Again and Lochinver as well as European Song for Aberdeen FC.

Locally he was best known for The Big Elastic Band which produced two albums and countless singles.

The debut recording When Big Roy Sang on Annie McGregor’s Juke Box was inspired by an Uddingston cafe owner.

In 2010 he recorded Jimmy Shand’s on the Wireless which celebrated Uddingston life in the 1950s and produced a new play called The Hauf and Half which showcased the unique language of Coatbridge.

Harry died at the age of 66 in 2013.

Folk musician Alastair McDonald said: “I am so pleased to see this tribute. Harry was a fine musician and I had the pleasure of working with him, singing his lyrics and sharing his stories. I wish joy and success to the winners.”

Previous winners of the Harry Barry prize were Blair Moore (2016) and Jack Anderson (2015).