HIS songs have been covered by everyone from Ray Charles and the Eagles to Rod Stewart and Etta James and back in 1986, Frankie Miller was on fine form preparing for the launch of his latest album, Dancing in the Rain.

It was great news for fans of the Bridgeton singer and actor, once described by Rod Stewart as having the “best white soul voice” he had ever heard.

Glasgow Times: Frankie on stage in Glasgow

He told journalists he was excited about touring America and spoke about his forthcoming projects. He conceded that it been a “bad time” for him – though he had been able to play gigs and write songs, he had been unable to make a record because of a lengthy legal dispute. Now, however, he was back.


Frankie grew up in Bridgeton, inspired to take up music as a career by his mother and sisters, whose eclectic record collection included Ray Charles and Elvis Presley. He started writing songs at the age of nine and went on to be one of Scotland’s greatest rock stars, with hits such as Darlin’ and Caledonia.

Frankie, who is now in his 70s, is also a talented actor – he starred in Peter McDougall’s 1979 TV drama, Just a Boys Game.

In 1994 disaster struck, when the star suffered an aneurism after appearing on stage in America with Eagles star Joe Walsh. He spent months in hospital and was given only a two percent chance of survival. He recovered, but had to learn to walk and talk again, and has been unable to sing since.

Fans and friends of Frankie rallied to help the singer, and an album, compiled by Alec Downie, entitled A Tribute To Frankie Miller was released in 2003.

An article in The Herald 21 years ago described it as “a superb mix of songs by Miller’s contemporaries such as Rod Stewart, Billy Connolly, Joe Walsh, Nazareth, The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Maggie Bell, Lulu and Bonnie Tyler … alongside names from the next generation including The Proclaimers, Edwyn Collins, Clare Grogan, Pat Kane and The Cosmic Rough Riders.”

It was a triple album, with 47 tracks – testament to the love and respect musicians around the world have for Frankie.

The Herald reported: “For the next few months, Downie listened to more than 200 Frankie Miller songs.

“Robert Carlyle recited the lyrics to Bridgeton, from Miller’s 1975 album, The Rock, as an opener to the album, which led into a new version of Caledonia – written by Dougie MacLean – which became a hit when Miller’s recording was used in a TV commercial for Tennent’s Lager in 1991.

Alec told the Herald: “I came up with the idea for Bobby to recite the first verse of Bridgeton as a soliloquy.

“Kevin McKidd – who appeared with him in the movie Trainspotting – played guitar on it. We had fellow actor Ian Robertson also contributing to the vocal.

“On the day we recorded it, Fish was in the main studio at CaVa with the Alex Harvey Band, Brian Robertson of Thin Lizzy, plus the BBC Orchestra, a pipe band and a gospel choir.

“While in the smaller studio, we had Bobby, Ian and Kevin doing their song. They recorded it in one take.”

Rod Stewart contributed You’re The Star – written by Miller – which he’d recorded with Bernard Edwards of Chic and producer Trevor Horn for his 1995 album, A Spanner In The Works.

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Among the Scottish legends who also took part were Maggie Bell, John Martyn, Michael Marra and Hamish Stuart.

Alec released the album on Eagle Records, and it generated much-needed funds for the singer.

He said it had been “very emotional” and added: “I think the album is testament to Frankie’s incredible talent as a singer and songwriter.”

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