1 ALEX Beaton was a folk music hero in America, but how many people in his native Glasgow know Mark Knopfler was a fan, or that Alex’s first band was signed to the same label as The Beatles? Alex was born in 1944, the son of Mary Ann, who cleaned at the university, and Alexander, a joiner on the shipyards.

Glasgow Times: Mark Knopfler in Sweden. Pic: AP

2 Alex formed the folk group, the Cumberland Three, with Brian Fogarty and Leonard Sturrock. After building up a reputation playing Glasgow jazz and folk clubs, their first single, Chilly Winds, was released in April 1964, and our newspaper was very impressed. “Chilly Winds is one of the most professional performances I have heard from a Scots group,” said out reviewer. “Their harmonies are excellent.”

3 The band relocated to London to capitalise on their success, and appeared on the Hullabaloo TV show in December 1963. The single and the band’s first album, Introducing the Cumberland Three, were on Parlophone, the same label as the Beatles but ironically, it was the success of Liverpool’s finest which spelled the end of the folk era, and heralded in the new pop stars of the future. Alex told the Evening Times in 1990: “We spent 18 months in London, appearing on shows like Easy Beat and Three’s Company. Then the folk bubble burst. The Beatles happened.”

4 While Brian and Leonard returned to Glasgow, Alex emigrated to New York, and discovered a new following at Scottish festivals and Highland Games. He found out Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits had loved Chilly Winds and had performed it with a female friend when he was starting out as a singer and guitarist.

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5 In April 1966 he was drafted into the US army. In 1996 he began hosting annual tours to Scotland, which proved immensely popular. While in his homeland he recorded a couple of videos – Going Home, and I Belong to Glasgow. Alex sadly died earlier this year, aged 77.