The Great Scots

GreatScots Arrive1From:  Halifax, NS, Canada

The band, formed in 1962, was initially known as The Shadows and later The Beavers, who were well known in Canada for their gimmick of matching “Mohawk” haircuts. In December 1964, the band traveled to New York City to meet with Columbia Records and their manager suggested a name change. It was also decided that they should all wear Scottish kilts on stage as a new gimmick to draw attention to the band (their hair had grown out by this time).  The renamed act was able to parlay its popularity as a Maritimes version of The Beatles and they were soon winging their way to Hollywood, California in 1965.

With vast competition in the home of the Surf set, The Great Scots played up their Scottish namesake and grabbed instant attention with their matching stagewear.  During 1965, they released two singles for Epic Records and one for London (Ball & Chain as “The Great Scotts”).  They appeared on several US television shows “Shindig!”, “American Bandstand”, “Where The Action Is”, etc., and in 1966 signed with Triumph Records, issuing two singles as “The Great Scots” and one as “The Free-For-All” on Challenge Records. The idea of releasing a single under different names was an attempt to get airplay at stations that weren’t playing The Great Scots.  This one-off single was more R&B oriented than their usual British Invasion fare.

At this time the band performed primarily in Canada and the southwestern United States. While working on their first album in October 1966, the US armed forces drafted the band’s bass player and the LP was never completed. Although a Canadian citizen, he had been working with a permanent visa which left him susceptible to the military draft.

The members still live close to each other and reunite regularly. In 1997, Sundazed Records issued a CD compilation of tracks recorded in 1966, including the Triumph singles and several unissued tracks intended for the first album. The Beat Rocket/Sundazed label also issued a vinyl compilation in the same year titled “Arrive!” which included some of the band’s 1965 Epic efforts.


Gerry Archer (Drums)
Dave Isner (Bass)
Bill Schnare (Lead Guitar, Harmony Vocals)
Rick McNeil (Lead Vocals in The Great Scots)
Doug Billard (Lead Vocals in The Beavers)
Wayne Forrest (Rhythm Guitar)

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Tracks played on Psychedelicized…

From the 1965 single “Ball And Chain”

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  • Ball and Chain