DAILY PRESS - 2002
Capital Goes Country
By Brian Swanson
A TOP Country and Western singer, more used to immortalizing towns in America in his songs, has made it to the top of the charts with his unlikely hit about Portobello.
The east coast of Scotland town is the subject of a love song by American star George Hamilton V. The lyrics tell of the singer's romance with a girl called Louise who lives in Portobello. Entitled 'Edinburgh' the hit song mentions locations like Abbeyhill, The Royal Mile and Castle Hill in the city.
The song, currently at top position in the French charts, was penned after Hamilton fell in love with the city during several visits to perform for his Scottish fans. It is also a tribute to Hamilton's Scottish forebears, who left Scotland for America last century. Sue Marshall, secretary of the George V fan club, who lives on Hamilton Drive in Edinburgh, said she had put the singer, a family friend, up at her house during visits to the Capital. She added:
"He's stayed here lots of times. Whether he wrote the song when he was sleeping on our floor, I don't know.
"But he certainly loves the city and is very keen on everything to do with Scotland.
"It sounds like the joke that you always hear Scots singing about American cities but you never hear them singing about Scottish places.
"Well this proves the reverse is sometimes true."
The song talks about Louise from Portobello, "that girl of mine on the banks of the Firth of Forth". It goes on to say how "it's a sight to see as she walks that Royal Mile" and how she "makes the laddies smile from Abbeyhill to Castle Hill".
Like most good country tunes, it ends on a sad note, with George saying that he won't be back in Edinburgh for "many a year" so may never see his old flame again. The precise identity of his Scottish love remains a mystery however.
Mr. Hamilton, son of country legend George Hamilton IV, wrote the song 10 years ago at Glasgow's Grand Ol' Opry while waiting for a bus to a gig in Edinburgh.
It appeared on his 1998 CD, GARDEN OF LOVE, before being released in its own right in France, where the singer is currently working.
DESIGN: BRUNO BOUSSARD