The alternative rock group from Glasgow, Scotland, Del Amitri, first formed as a band in 1980. Founder and main songwriter, Justin Currie, had explained the band’s name was derived from the Greek name, Dimitri, a name that triggered Currie’s imagination when he came across it in the closing credits of a movie he watched. After toying with different spellings and pronunciations, Del Amitri became the end result. Accompanying Currie as the original lineup to the band was James Scobbie on guitar, Donald Bentley, also on guitar, and Paul Tyagi on drums. In 1982, Scobbie and Bentley both left the band to attend university. Replacing them were Iain Harvie and Bryan Tolland. Currie and Harvie have been the only two consistent members throughout the duration of the band’s existence.
In 1984, Del Amitri signed to its first label, Chrysalis Records then had its self-titled debut album released in 1985. Upon the recording of the second album, the group’s lineup changed again as Andy Alston joined on keyboards, as well as the replacement of Bryan Tolland and Paul Tyagi with Mick Slaven and Stephen Irvine. However, neither slave nor Irvine wished to participate full-time, so they were replaced by David Cummings and Brian McDermott. It would be through this line up the second studio album, Waking Hours, would see its release in 1989.
This lineup remained unchanged upon the 1992 recording and release of the group’s third studio album, Change Everything. As the band’s popularity grew, recording and touring demands saw additional lineup changes, starting with the group’s fourth studio album, Twisted, which was released in 1995, and the permanent installment of a new band member at the time, Ash Sloan. The fifth album, Some Other Sucker’s Parade, was released in 1997 during a time frame where it had become increasingly difficult for artists living outside the US to establish themselves as chart-hitting artists in that nation. Once the sixth studio album, Can You Do Me Good? was released in 2002, Del Amitri went on hiatus.
On January 24, 2014, Del Amitri reunited to produce the group’s one and only live album, Into the Mirror: Del Amitri Live in Concert, before a crowd of 8,000 people. The recording was released after the band had finished touring. In 2018, the band reunited again to go on tour, then go back to the recording studio that saw the production of its seventh studio album, Fatal Mistakes, released in 2021. In addition to the seven studio albums and a live album, Del Amitri also has four compilation albums, as well as twenty-four singles to their credit.
Top 10 Del Amitri Songs
#10 – It’s Feelings
Although the song did not make a chart appearance on any music charts after it was released in 2021, “It’s Feelings,” served as an excellent example of how far the Del Amitri has come since the release of its first album in 1985. It showed in the melodic musical performance by the band, as well as in Currie’s soul comfort vocals. All the recording sessions that revolved around the album, Fatal Mistakes, occurred over a three-week period and were completed the day before the UK government officially locked down the nation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As news and panic of the coronavirus continued to spread, the band members decided to record the album, as well as this song without playing live or through laptops. Inspired by the situation, Currie’s lyrics reflected how people often don’t know why they feel the way they do other than frequently follow instinct and provoke actions out of emotion rather than practice rationality. The mix of analog and digital recordings that went into It’s Feelings served as the best of both musical worlds that have made this single highly melodic that met with the contrast of Currie’s lyrical performance that seemed to work against it.
#9 – Tell Her This
In 1995, “Tell Her This” peaked on the Scottish Singles Chart at number sixteen and was a number thirty-two hit on the UK Singles Chart. It was the final single released from the album, Twisted, and one of the emotionally impactful. True to form, the rasp behind Currie’s lyrics adds extra soul to the candid lyrics, despite the fact of not being able to express his feelings more directly with his love interest as he’d like to. During one of the episodes from the medical comedy-drama television series, Scrubs, Tell Her This served as the right song for the right moment that actually earned Del Amitri a new fan base that hadn’t been there before.
#8 – Not Where It’s At
From the album, Some Other Sucker’s Parade, “Not Where It’s At” was the first single release, which charted as high as number six on the Scottish Singles Chart in 1995. On the UK Singles Chart, it peaked at number twenty-one and even made a strong enough impression in Canada to chart at number seventeen on its official singles chart. This power-pop played out as Currie’s performance of a man realizing the woman he’s interested in doesn’t find him hip enough for her gives him cause to give up the pursuit of her.
Seeming to serve as a reflection of the band itself, Del Amitri’s style of music had a more natural flow rather than force-fitting different sounds together just to make a hit. Among the fans who prefer this style of music, it works. Fluidic and thoughtful, both in lyrics and in instrumental play, Not Where It’s At served as a clean single that is easy to listen to and simply enjoy.
#7 – Here and Now
The first single released from Del Amitri’s album, Change Everything, was “Here and Now” which saw the first time the group realize its first chart hit on the Scottish Singles Chart. It peaked at number eight. On the UK Singles Chart, Here and Now reached as high as number twenty-one and it charted at number ninety-eight on the European Hot 100 Singles Chart. For Del Amitri, the combination of a little bit of folk meets pop served as the group’s trademark sound. For fans of bluegrass-style music, Here and Now served up as one of those easy favorites that saw Currie and his crew do what they do best, which is produce clean music for all ears to enjoy.
#6 – Driving with the Brakes On
On the UK Singles Chart, the synth meets guitar ballad, “Driving with the Brakes On,” peaked at number eighteen and it peaked as high as number six on the Scottish Singles Chart in 1995. It also made an appearance on the European Hot 100 Singles chart at number eighty-eight. One of Del Amitri’s musical trademarks has been musical performances about troubled relationships. Driving with the Brakes on served as a lyrical tale of dealing with a relationship that seems to go in circles without any sign of progress. Sung as a conflicted song loaded with feelings, Currie’s performance made it convincing enough to believe his heart was torn between loving and not loving someone at the same time.
#5 – Kiss This Thing Goodbye
“Kiss This Thing Goodbye” was released twice as a single from the 1989 album, Waking Hours. When it was first released, it charted as high as number twenty-eight on Australia’s ARIA chart and at number fifty-nine in the UK.
As a re-release, the second time the song appeared on the UK Singles Chart it reached as high as number forty-three. It also became the first single to appear on North American charts, namely RPM Canada Singles at number thirty and the US Billboard Hot 100 at number thirty-five. The narration of this catchy, toe-tapping philosophical song revolved around the subject of infidelity and how Currie’s lyrical point of view simply wants to end the relationship as quickly and as painlessly as possible.
#4 – Always the Last to Know
Of all the songs Del Amitri produced, “Always the Last to Know” saw the most amount of chart appearances. Released as the first single in 1992 from the album, Change Everything, the North American influence saw it peak as high as number twenty-two on the RPM Canada Singles Chart and at number thirty on the US Billboard Hot 100. On the European Hot 100 Singles, Always the Last to Know climbed as high as number forty-eight. In the UK, it peaked at number thirteen and on the Irish Singles Chart at number twenty-one. In Australia, it reached number thirty-nine and it was at number fifty-six in Germany.
“Always the Last to Know,” also revolved around the subject of infidelity and was a direct contrast to the previous hit single Kiss This Thing Goodbye. This time, Currie’s lyrical plea for his cheating girlfriend to stay with him wants to fix the relationship instead of end it.
#3 – Don’t Come Home Too Soon
In 1998, Del Amitri recorded “Don’t Come Home Too Soon” to mark the Scottish football team qualifying for the 1998 World Cup Soccer Tournament that was held in France. The single topped the Scottish Singles Chart and peaked as high as number fifteen on the UK Singles Chart. For fans of the sport, especially within the UK, they always light up when they hear what has become, and still remain as the official Team Scotland song.
#2 – Nothing Ever Happens
“Nothing Ever Happens” was an existentialist single released on January 1, 1990, that focused on the alienation and disconnect feeling that has been characterizing modern life, especially after working hours. This song peaked as high as number eleven on the UK Singles Chart and has so far served as Del Amitri’s biggest hit to date. On the Irish Singles Chart, Nothing Ever Happens performed even better at number four.
On the European Hot 100 Singles chart, Nothing Ever Happens peaked at number twenty-nine and it was a number forty-six hit in Australia and a number fifty-eight hit on the Dutch Single Top 40. For Del Amitri, Nothing Ever Happens was the group’s biggest hit in the UK, but they had yet to crack the full attention of the harder-to-reach North American audience.
#1 – Roll to Me
For Del Amitri, “Roll to Me” was the first and only occasion to break into the top ten of the US Billboard Hot 100. In 1995, the single peaked at number ten and was even a number one hit on the US Billboard Adult Top 40 chart. On the RPM Canada Singles Chart, Roll to Me peaked as high as number five and it reached number ten on the Scottish Albums Chart. In the UK, it charted as high a number twenty-two and it even charted in Iceland at number forty.
For the group, the band members personally felt it was not a very good song and didn’t expect it to become their biggest hit, at least in North America. However, the classic pop ballad approach of a man expressing his feelings to a woman he sees is involved with the wrong man for her is what appeals to American and Canadian audiences so strongly. The twang of the guitar kept the song simple, as well as the role of the song’s playout and Currie’s lyrics that made it a favorite among easy-listening music fans.