Remembering Sydney Devine: Scotland’s greatest showman

HE WAS the greatest showman, and in the eyes of his many millions of fans, the closest thing Scotland had to Elvis.

Sydney Devine, revered by audiences all over the country and especially here in Glasgow at the Pavilion, died on ­Saturday.

SINGER SYDNEY DEVINE WITH HIS GOLD CASSETTE. 1975. Pic: Herald and Times

SINGER SYDNEY DEVINE WITH HIS GOLD CASSETTE. 1975. Pic: Herald and Times

Sydney Devine. 15th March 1990. Pic: Herald and Times

Sydney Devine. 15th March 1990. Pic: Herald and Times

Born in 1940 in Cleland in Lanarkshire, the young would-be star chose performing over following his father down the mines and at the age of 15, was talent-spotted by impresario Robert Wilson, who invited him on his White Heather Club tour as a “whistler, programme seller and curtain puller.”

He spent 10 years touring and came second in a competition to find the ‘Scottish Tommy Steele’, narrowly pipped at the post by Alex Harvey.

Sydney Devine. 1st February 1960. Pic: Herald and Times

Sydney Devine. 1st February 1960. Pic: Herald and Times

Sydney in 1997. Pic: Herald and Times

Sydney in 1997. Pic: Herald and Times

Sydney fell in love with country and western music, and his recordings of the likes of Tiny Bubbles, The Crystal Chandelier and Blackboard of my Heart sold millions and took him to the top of the charts. He made 50 albums, presented his own show on Radio Clyde, and ­continued to pull in the crowds on sell-out tours.

He was about to release a new ­album and start another tour, when the pandemic and illness ­interfered.

Sydney Devine. January 1980. Pic: Herald and Times

Sydney Devine. January 1980. Pic: Herald and Times

Sydney married his sweetheart Shirley in 1958, and the couple had three children, Karen, Scot and Gary. Sadly, Gary died of sepsis in 2018.

Our photographers have captured Sydney in all his glory over the decades, following his die-hard fans and sharing in his successes. He will be sadly missed. Here is our picture tribute to him – and we would love to hear your memories of Sydney. Did you see him perform? Were you a devoted fan?

READ MORE: Glasgow memories@ Trams, tenements and Treron’s – send us your tales of city life

Get in touch with Times Past to share your stories and photographs of the legendary Sydney.

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