Best known for his tenure fronting the Scottish pop revivalists Orange Juice as well as his international solo hit ‘A Girl Like You,’ singer Edwyn Collins was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1959.
In 1976, he formed the Nu-Sonics, who resurfaced three years later as Orange Juice; the leading proponent of the Glasgow neo-pop scene.
Orange Juice were one of those bands whose potential was only ever partially realised, but whose fearless originality bore an influence on guitar music that was thoroughly disproportionate to the number of records they sold. Without Orange Juice’s assembly of Chic guitars, stomping Motown beats and choruses and mismatched camp clothing – from Davy Crockett hats to Boy Scout shorts and plastic sandals –– post-punk would have missed out on one of its wittiest and most tuneful agitators.
‘Rip It Up’ was so important a song that Simon Reynolds titled his history of post-punk after it, Rip It Up (“and start again”) was not only Orange Juice’s only Top 40 chart hit, but in many ways represents the high-water mark of an entire heterogeneous movement in clever, witty, arse-kicking music that stormed the battlements of rock tradition.
In 1984 Orange Juice disbanded, and Collins embarked in a solo career including singles ‘Don't Shilly Shally,’ ‘If You Could Love Me’ and his biggest international hit ‘A Girl You’.
It’s taken a degree of distance to fully appreciate Wigan Casino soul number ‘A Girl Like You’ for the massive tune it is. With its fiendishly fuzzed-out riff, lyrics dripping with teenage lust and a groovy vibraphone motif its status as Collins’ most instantly identifiable solo single is well earned. A slow-burning success, ‘A Girl Like You’ –became a huge hit in Europe and the US and returned Collins to the charts for the first time since 1983 and ‘Rip It Up’, finally establishing a longstanding cult hero as something close to a household name.
In February 2005, Collins was hospitalized following two cerebral haemorrhages which resulted in aphasia, and he subsequently underwent a months-long rehabilitation period. Collins resumed his musical career in 2007. A documentary film on his recovery, titled ‘The Possibilities Are Endless’, was released in 2014.
Collins was the co-founder of the indie record label Postcard Records and co-founded a second label, Analogue Enhanced Digital, in 2011. Collins has also worked as an illustrator, television actor, television producer and record producer. He won an Ivor Novello Award, the Ivor Inspiration Award, in 2009.