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Tuesday, 27 July 2021
Jimmy Shand playing his Hohner Morino 3-row button accordion
After an audition with the BBC in 1933, Jimmy was turned-down by them because he kept time with his foot.




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A Dedication to Sir Jimmy Shand, MBE, MA (1908 - 2000)

Note: Since the family name, Shand, does not have a Clan tartan, we have used the Anderson tartan for the page border. (Anne Anderson) was Jimmy's wife's maiden name.
All Clan tartans have six or less colours, except the Anderson Tartan, which has seven colours. As a result, it must be woven on a special loom.

Jimmy Shand was born in East Wemyss, Fife, on January 28th, 1908. He was the 6th of nine children born to Erskine and Mary Shand. His father played the melodeon and this musical environment in the home nurtured young Jimmy's interest in music from a very early age.

As well as playing the mouth organ, the violin and the melodeon, Jimmy had a great interest in motor bikes, boats and woodworking.

He left school at the age of 14 and spent his early working life in the mining industry. After the General Strike in 1926 he vowed never to go back down the coalmines so he changed jobs to work with the Fife Power Company.

After a 6 year period doing various part-time jobs, Jimmy was offered a position as a salesman and demonstrator by Charles S Forbes at JT Forbes music shop, Dundee. At this time he began recording solo, and with his band, for record labels such as Regal-Zonophone and Beltona.

Jimmy was found to be medically unfit for the Armed Services during the Second World War, so he joined the Fire Service instead and continued to play in a small dance band during his off-duty time.

After the war, he formed the Shand Band with which he made many radio broadcasts and recorded many titles suitable for Scottish Country Dancing. His records sold in millions throughout the world.

In 1955 he recorded the hit single "Bluebell Polka" which reached number 20 in the charts and earned him an appearance on a BBC television "Pop Music" programme. He went on to sell millions of records during a musical career spanning more than 70 years.

In 1978 Jimmy appeared in the Eamonn Andrews BBC TV show, "This Is Your Life". Jimmy soon became a household name throughout Britain as a result of his many TV appearances, his radio shows and the annual Hogmanay show on BBC Television. He was a great favourite with the Queen and Queen Mother and played for them at many royal functions at Balmoral and Windsor Castles.


Due to a bout of ill-health in 1972, Jimmy retired to his home in Auchtermuchty, Fife, but twenty two years later, in 1994, he made a video with him and his son, playing in the Jimmy Shand Jr. Dance Band.

Throughout his life Jimmy composed more than 300 tunes and was very highly regarded by his peers; his fellow performers; the Scottish country dance community; the music industry in general and across the whole world of entertainment.

As a result, he received many accolades and awards from the music industry, the academic community and the establishment. They included:-
  • 1959 - voted the most popular accordionist in Great Britain in a poll by the British Accordion Federation
  • 1960 - Carl Allan Award
  • 1961 - Carl Allan Award
  • 1962 - Carl Allan Award
  • 1962 - appointed a Member of the British Empire (MBE) in the British Honours List
  • 1978 - received a Gold Disc award from EMI records
  • 1985 - awarded an Honorary Master of Arts degree from The University of Dundee
  • 1992 - presented with an Honorary Fellowship of the British College of Accordionists
  • 1996 - awarded a Gold Badge of Merit by the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors
  • 1999 - received a knighthood for his services to Scottish culture at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh by Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales
  • Several public houses, a diesel railway locomotive, and a racehorse were named after him.
  • he was made a Freeman of North-East Fife and a Freeman of Fife
  • His portrait has been hung in the National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh.

Jimmy Shand statue in Auchtermuchty
A statue of Jimmy Shand erected at
Upper Greens, Auchtermuchty, Fife

Sir Jimmy Shand, MBE, MA,
Born 28th January 1908,
Died 23rd December 2000.
"Happy to meet, sorry to part,
happy to meet again.

  On the 23rd of December 2000 at the age of 92 , Jimmy Shand died in Perth Royal Infirmary after a five week illness with pneumonia. He is survived by his wife Anne, and sons Erskine (who is known as Jimmy Shand Junior) and David.

Jimmy was truly a very rare Scottish national treasure. A statue in his memory has been erected in his adopted town of Auchtermuchty in Fife. There is a commemorative plaque on the statue which has the inscription shown on the left:-

The proposal to erect a statue in his name was initiated by the Sir Jimmy Shand Sculpture Project, which raised sufficient funds to commission David Annand, Sculptor, Kilmany, Fife, to create a life-sized bronze sculpture of Sir Jimmy.

Donations for the Project were received from around the world. Lord Elgin, a friend of Jimmy Shand and patron of the Sir Jimmy Shand Sculpture Project, performed the unveiling ceremony.

The Sculpture is based on a pose of Sir Jimmy from his early performing years in the 50's. It was chosen by the Shand family. The site for the location of the Sculpture was also chosen by the Shand family and was supported by Auchtermuchty Community Association and the Sculpture Project Working Group.

Landscaping of the site was supervised by George Shand, Builder, Crook of Devon, by Kinross. The site has now become a very popular attraction for visitors to the town of Auchtermuchty.
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