Watch: Hebridean rock band launch bid for chart glory with 'Fairytale of Stornoway' anthem

Callum 'Boydie' MacLeod and Mairead Fay Nicholson in action in the 'Fairytale of Stornoway' video.
Callum 'Boydie' MacLeod and Mairead Fay Nicholson in action in the 'Fairytale of Stornoway' video.
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A Hebridean rock band who have shot to fame with their "nonsense songs" have stormed ahead of Lewis Capaldi and Taylor Swift in the official UK iTunes chart with their own version of classic festive anthem Fairytale of New York.


Peat & Diesel’s “Fairytale of Stornoway,” which has risen to fourth place in the iTunes chart, relocates The Pogues’ famous festive story from the to their native Isle of Lewis and features a number of island locations, Gaelic insults and wrangling about sheep.

Formed last year on the Isle of Lewis, the band’s Hebridean reboot of Fairytale of New York also features legendary Gaelic children’s TV presenter Donnie Dotaman and the replacement of Galway Bay with the Gaelic song Eilean Fraoich in the chorus.

Read more: Lewis Capaldi cracks America as hit song Someone You Loved reaches No.1 in the US

Named best live act at the Scots Trad Music Awards earlier this month, the trio joined forces with Lewis singer Mairead Fay Nicholson to record their version of the 1987 hit single and film a video in Lews Castle, a Victorian landmark overlooking Stornoway.

Peat & Diesel first played live just 18 months ago after fisherman and frontman Callum “Boydie” MacLeod started playing and recording videos at home with electrician Innes Scott and delivery driver Uilleam “Uilly” MacLeod.

The band were mobbed at festivals across the Highlands and Islands this summer, sold out a show at the Barrowland Ballroom in Glasgow months in advance, and have since added a full Scottish tour as well as dates in London, Manchester, Belfast and Dublin.

They have also been booked to appear alongside Belle and Sebastian, Pussy Riot and Martha Reeves and the Vandellas at the Doune the Rabbit Hole festival in 2020.

Fairytale of Stornoway has now had nearly 4000 shares and more than 190,000 views on Facebook alone since being launched online on Saturday.

Urging their fans to support the new single, the band said: “You can download this on all digital platforms. If you download it enough times you might push it into the charts and Boydie can have a nice dram with Santa.”

Peat & Diesel's festive single with Mairead Fay Nicholson was launched at the weekend.

Peat & Diesel's festive single with Mairead Fay Nicholson was launched at the weekend.

Peat & Diesel launched the Fairytale of Stornoway days after The Pogues version, written by singer Shane McGowan and banjo player Jem Finer, was voted the UK’s favourite Christmas song, despite an annual controversy over demands for the censorship of a line line, sung by Kirsty MacColl, which states: “You scumbag, you maggot, you cheap lousy faggot.

Read more: 'Peatlemania' island band crowned best live act at Scots Trad Music Awards

Keith Morrison, founder of the Stornoway-based Wee Studio and producer of Peat & Diesel’s two albums to date, said: “The boys wanted to do it to say a massive thank you to all the supporters and fans for an incredible year. They have been overwhelmed with all the generosity and kindness.”
Keith Morrison, founder of the Stornoway-based Wee Studio and producer of Peat & Diesel's two albums to date, said: "The boys wanted to do it to say a massive thank you to all the supporters and fans for an incredible year. They have been overwhelmed with all the generosity and kindness."

Innes Scott said: "The song has had a great response so far. We've picked up a load of new followers since the weekend. It definitely seems to be appealing to a different audience than our normal stuff.

"Boydie, who writes all our songs, has always liked Shane McGowan and The Pogues, and told us a while ago that he would loved to record it to give something back to them. Hopefully Shane McGowan will see the video and like it.

"We actually got an approach to do it a version of the song about six weeks ago, which led to us changing the lyrics a bit to suit Stornoway.

"When that fell through we decided to go ahead and record our version anyway and Mairead, who is a friend of Boydie's, had also shown an interest in singing on it. All the seeds had already been planted.

"When we got talking to Keith we decided we might as well as release it and make a video for a bit of craic for Christmas. We didn't care if it was nonsense or not.

"The original idea was to have Keith playing the piano on the video. He thought the only place that we would be able to borrow a grand piano would be up at the castle. They said it was no problem for us to film the video. When we went up the following week we couldn't actually find anyone there, so we just let ourselves in and started filming.

"As the night went on Keith decided that it would be better to put Boydie in front of the piano and make some Peat & Diesel comedy. You can tell from his hands that he can't play the piano.

"We were invited along to switch on the Christmas lights on Stornoway this year, which was a great honour, and Keith followed us with a camera to get some slo-mo shots.

"Mairead is definitely the jewel in the song and the video. She really pulls it all together."

FULL LYRICS FOR FAIRYTALE OF STORNOWAY

Was Christmas Eve babe, in the drunk tank
An old man said to me, I won't see another one
And then he sang a song, by Donnie Dotaman
I turned my face away, and dreamed about you
Got on a lucky one, came in eighteen to one
I've got a feeling, that this year's for me and you
So happy Christmas, I love you baby
Can’t see a better time, when all our dreams come true
They've got cars big as bars, They've got rivers of gold
When the wind goes right through you, like it does in Cromore
When you first took my hand, on a cold Christmas Eve
You promised me ‘Broadbay’ was waiting for me
You were handsome, You were pretty, Queen of Stornoway City
When the band finished playing, they cried out for more
The Blones they were swinging, old Bodachs were singing
We kissed on the corner, then danced through the night

And the boys of the SY Village Byre, were singing "Eilean Fraoich"
And the bells were ringing out for Christmas Day

Tha thusa làn Cac, Tha thusa làn Guga
Tha mise dol dhachaigh gu Eilean mo ghràidh
You Radan, you Meppan, you Cailleach, you Bleggard
Tha do Thoin fleeking salach, I’m off to my bed

And the boys of the SY Village Byre, were singing "Eilean Fraoich"
And the bells were ringing out for Christmas Day

I could have been someone, well so could anyone
You took my sheep from me, when I first found you
I kept them with me babe, I put them with my own
Can't make it all alone, I've built my flock around you

And the boys of the SY Village Byre, were singing "Eilean Fraoich"
And the bells were ringing out for Christmas Day