From Family Guy to Usain Bolt: Proclaimer on worldwide popularity of 500 Miles

The Proclaimers at Party at the Palace in 2016. Picture: Michael Gillen
The Proclaimers at Party at the Palace in 2016. Picture: Michael Gillen
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Craig Reid, one half of the popular Scottish band The Proclaimers, has opened up about the worldwide popularity of their biggest hit song, I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles).

The anthemic track was released by the duo in the summer of 1988 and reached No.11 in the UK Singles chart.

The scene in Family Guy. Picture: Fox

The scene in Family Guy. Picture: Fox

It quickly became a song that buried itself deep in the mainstream consciousness. You’ll be lucky to attend a Scottish wedding without hearing it at some point in the evening.

But Scotland was far from the only country to embrace the catchy melody as it continues to appear in pop culture throughout the world over 20 years later.

A famous example occurred in 2006 where it was featured in a skit in US animated comedy Family Guy, where Peter Griffin sings alongside the brothers before hitting Charlie Reid with a guitar.

Several movies have used it in their soundtrack, including Pitch Perfect, Identity Thief, The Angels’ Share and, as expected, Sunshine on Leith.

When the Commonwealth Games came to Scotland in 2014, Usain Bolt was even seen dancing to the song on the Hampden track.

Even after two decades of sustained appreciation, the brothers still marvel at how widely used the track is.

Craig told the Scottish Sun on Sunday: “Appearing on Family Guy was really, really funny. And Peter beats Charlie up, so at least I was alright.

“You get the performance report through every three or four months saying where it’s being played and some of it is ridiculous. It has been used on TV shows in places from Serbia to Brazil and you don’t know why or in what sort of context.

“You’ll even see it credited at different theatres and we’ll say ‘we’ve never played that venue’ but someone else has and sung it there.

“Usain Bolt dancing to it was good as well.”