Auchtermuchty’s most famous son was Sir Jimmy Shand, the highly respected accordion player and band leader. He traveled throughout Scotland and beyond, delighting crowds with his traditional Scottish dance music.
Shand wasn’t born in Auchtermuchty, though his family moved there when he was a boy. It’s where he grew up, working in the mines as a teenager and discovering his love of playing music.
One day, while visiting Dundee, Shand popped into a music shop to try his hand at playing the accordion. The rest was history. The store owner offered him a job as a traveling salesman, hiring him to drive across the country with instruments in tow. Shand got his first recording contract in 1935 with Beltona records, thanks to the contacts he made from the job.
His career took off from there, and Shand went on to compose more than 300 tunes. In the 1950s, he released “The Bluebell Polka,” which became his signature song (it was even produced by George Martin). Though he went into semi-retirement in the early ‘70s due to poor health, he continued playing, captivating audiences with his energetic jigs and reels.
After Shand died in 2000, Auchtermuchty erected this larger-than-life statue of in his honor.
Visit Scotland with Atlas Obscura Trips
Poetry and Music in the Scottish Lowlands
See the lowlands through the eyes of one of Scotland’s most celebrated poets, exploring old port towns and ancient fortresses, sipping single malt whisky, and wandering the breathtaking landscapes that inspired the beloved bard.