Sir Jimmy Shand, 1908-2000
The great Scottish accordionist Sir Jimmy Shand died at the age of 92 on December 23, 2000, and was laid to rest in Auchtermuchty, Fife, on December 29.
Many of Shand’s compositions are staples of the Highland bagpipe repertory, including the marches “Dundee Military Tattoo” and “Kirkwall Bay.”
Shand sold millions of records in his lifetime, and in 1953 his “Bluebell Polka” was a bestseller in the United Kingdom. Born in the Fife mining village of East Wemyss, Shand’s first instrument was the harmonica. He later switched to the button-key accordion, of which he soon became world-renowned.
In the 1950s and ’60s, many of Shand’s concerts drew huge crowds in the United Kingdom, Ireland and North America. A performance in Aberdeen attracted 20,000. Even at the age of 86 he performed in Fife with his son, also a celebrated box player, and the resulting video, “Dancing With the Shands,” went to number nine on the UK video charts.
The Queen in her New Year’s honours knighted Jimmy Shand in 1998.