A group of Scottish musicians formed the group began playing together in 1980 and eventually underwent several lineup changes. The resulting group formed Big Country in 1981. The band created unique recordings thanks to extensive electronic manipulation of their guitar playing. Their experimentation made their guitars sometimes sound like bagpipes and strings on their records.
The third single from their first album was In a Big Country. The album contained a version that was 4:42 in length while the single release and video cut off most of the intro to the song and ran only 3:44. The single was a hit in the UK and even reached #17 on the US Hot 100 in 1983. The group sold over a million copies of their first album.
While the group toured in 1984, they released the single Wonderland. The record reached the top ten in the UK but could do no better on the US Hot 100 than #86. That was the last record the group got into the US Hot 100. The group’s next album in 1984 entered the UK charts at #1 but again had little success in the US.
Bob Geldof (of Boomtown Rats) and Midge Ure put together a supergroup of British and Irish musicians to raise money to fight starvation in Ethiopia. Christmas 1984 saw the release of Band Aid’s single, Do They Know It’s Christmas? They raised nearly 24 million dollars through the success of the single. You’ve probably heard the song, but unless you were around and bought a physical single back in 1984, you probably did not know about the B-side of the record. Music from the A-side played while various artists contributed spoken words about Christmas or charity. While a few of the participants who sang on the record may also be on the B-side, so were a few people who did not sing on the recording, including Paul McCartney, David Bowie, and the four members of Big Country.
The group continued to tour the UK, and in 1986 their third album reached #2 on the album chart in the UK. Three hit singles in the UK came off that album, including the top ten song, Look Away. The group recorded their next album in Los Angeles, but that failed to reinstate their popularity in the US and sold poorly in England.
The group lost their recording contract in 1991 because of declining sales. They recorded four more albums by the end of that decade. When success continued to elude them, the band held a “Final Fling” tour and disbanded by the end of 2000. The group’s original lead singer, Stuart Adamson, was found dead in a hotel in Hawaii in 2001.
The surviving members of the band reunited in 2011 and even recorded a new album in 2013. The band still continues to tour, although significant line-up changes have continued.