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Iain MacKintosh

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Iain MacKintosh (20 July 1932 – 28 August 2006, Glasgow, Scotland) was a Scottish singer and songwriter.

Early life[edit]

MacKintosh' father was from the Outer Hebrides, a watchmaker and goldsmith who owned a pawnshop in Glasgow; his mother came from Northern Ireland.[1] At age seven he started learning the Highland pipes. He played in a pipe band in his youth. His mother died when he was twelve, and he and his three sisters were brought up by his grandmother. After grammar school, he started his working life as an apprentice watchmaker and goldsmith and later took over his father's business. After serving in the British Army in the Near East he married Sadie; the couple had two daughters, Isla and Fiona.[2]


In the late 1950s MacKintosh went to a Pete Seeger concert in Glasgow. He was so impressed he bought a banjo and started to practise.[2] His other instrument of choice was the concertina. He joined the nascent Scottish folk music revival. In 1960 he formed his first band The Islanders, with whom he made one album. It contained one of the first songs he wrote; the Pawn Song drew on his experiences in the business. For the next ten years he played in two more bands, The Skerries and The Other Half, and was in demand as a session musician for the likes of Hamish Imlach, Gaberlunzie and Watt Nicoll.

In 1970 MacKintosh went professional as a solo singer, accompanying himself on the long-necked banjo, and also playing the pipes or the concertina. For thirty years he toured Europe, the United States and Australia. His repertoire had always ranged beyond traditionals.[3] He took most of his material from other songwriters, with Harry Chapin and Glaswegian Adam McNaughtan as particular favourites.[2] Scottish audiences voted him Scotland's "Folk Musician of the Year" several times.[2] Of his self-penned songs, 'I Wouldn't Change A Thing', an account of his career in five verses, is probably the most popular; he recorded it for Stage By Stage.

MacKintosh became one of the best-loved artists of Tønder Festival where he used to run the Saturday afternoon concert at the Mill.[4] For years he did joint tours with other notable folk artists, mainly Hamish Imlach and Brian McNeill. He retired at the age of 68, after a final tour of several European countries in 2000.

Iain MacKintosh died on 28 August 2006[5] of laryngeal cancer, weakened by Parkinson's disease.


By Request Encore A Man's A Man Straight to the Point Live in Glasgow Singing From The Inside[6] Home for a While Live in Hamburg Standing Room Only Gentle Persuasion Risks and Roses Just My Cup of Tea Stage By Stage Live and Kicking
1974 1975 1978 1979 1979 1981 1984 1986 1988 1991 1991 1995 2000

Hamish Imlach


Hamish Imlach

feat. Brian McNeill

& Alan Reid


Brian McNeill


Brian McNeill


  • Sing Out!, 1 January 2007
  • Kalweit, Susanne: I Wouldn't Change A Thing! 40 years of Iain MacKintosh, from 'The Living Tradition', issue 49 (Sept/Oct 2002), pp 38–39, 60
  • McVicar, Ewan: One Singer One Song. Old and new stories and songs of Glasgow folk, Glasgow 1990
  • Siniveer, Kaarel: Folk Lexikon, Reinbek b. Hamburg 1981


  1. Siniveer, Kaarel: Folk Lexikon, p 173
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Kalweit, p 39
  3. McVicar, Ewan: One Singer One Song, p 110
  4. Tønder Festival – gennem 25 ar, 1975–1999
  5. Obit: The Independent
  6. Tomorrow on YouTube

External links[edit]

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