The Blue Nile

Glasgow, Scotland, UK
Artist / Band / Musician
Soul / Electronica / Pop
The Blue Nile from Glasgow, Scotland.

The music of The Blue Nile is built heavily on synthesizers and electronic instrumentation and percussion, although later works have featured acoustic guitar more prominently.

The band was formed when friends Buchanan and Paul Joseph Moore met Robert Bell shortly after graduating from the University of Glasgow in the late 1970s. Although their individual degrees didn't reflect their future career trajectory (English Literature, Electronics and Mathematics, respectively), their mutual friendship grew out of their shared interest in music, and they began writing and recording together. They formed their own label, Peppermint Records, on which they released their first single, "I Love This Life," which was later picked up and issued by RSO Records. Soon afterward, RSO was absorbed into Polygram, and The Blue Nile's first single disappeared from view, as did the band.

Still, the trio kept writing and recording over the next couple of years, including a couple of tracks that would later surface on their debut album. When local Hi-Fi manufacturer Linn Electronics heard their music, the company offered the band money to record a track that would showcase the sonic range of the company's high-end audio equipment. Linn was so pleased with the result, they formed their own record label in order to release The Blue Nile's debut, A Walk Across the Rooftops, in 1984. Although it received positive reviews, it sold modestly.

After a prolonged delay in which an entire album's worth of work was scrapped, The Blue Nile released Hats in 1989 to rave reviews, including a rare five-star rating from Q magazine. The album was recorded in the same studio as much of their previous work, Castlesound in Pencaitland, East Lothian. This album, which explores the highs and lows of romantic love, is considered by most critics and listeners to be the band's most enduring work. At the time, Hats reached 12 on the UK album charts and even slipped into the Billboard 200 in the United States. Rickie Lee Jones, a huge fan of the band, personally selected The Blue Nile as her opening act for her 1990 tour. She would later record a duet with them, a cover of the band's own "Easter Parade," which was featured as a B-side to the single "Headlights on the Parade."

In 1993, the band worked on Annie Lennox's debut album, Diva; she in turn covered "The Downtown Lights," from Hats, for her album Medusa, released in 1995.

A year later, The Blue Nile finally released their long-anticipated follow-up to Hats, entitled Peace at Last. In a radical departure from the band's prior two albums, the record is primarily driven by Buchanan's acoustic guitar. Even a gospel choir makes a brief appearance on the leadoff single, "Happiness." Despite the release of Peace at Last on a major label, the album sold poorly, and the critical reaction to the album was more mixed. However, "Family Life" was singled out for praise by most critics and listeners, many of whom consider it an instant classic.

After the longest gestation period between albums--eight years--The Blue Nile released High in 2004. Although acoustic guitar is still present on some tracks, the overall musical sound is more reminiscent of Hats, and as a result, the record has once again received almost universal critical praise

Paul Buchanan and Robert Bell toured England and Scotland in May and June 2006, billed as "Paul Buchanan sings the songs of The Blue Nile". The band consisted of Paul Buchanan, vocals and guitar; Robert Bell, bass guitar and keyboards; Alan Cuthbertson, keyboards ; Stuart McCredie, guitar; Liam Bradley, drums, Brendan Smith, piano. The future of The Blue Nile under that name is unclear in the light of this tour.

Despite not announcing any tour details officially, The Blue Nile played at the Electric Picnic festival in Stradbally Hall Stradbally, County Laois, Ireland on Sunday, 3rd September 2006.

Paul Buchanan is currently colaborating with Shirley Manson (lead singer of garbage) on her upcoming highly anticipated solo album.

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