Bands: Sutherland Brothers & Quiver
Iain Sutherland died aged seventy-one on 25th November, 2019, in Wollerton, Shropshire, U.K. He is survived by his brother, Gavin, his wife Patricia, their son James, daughter Virginia, and three grand-children..
Iain George Sutherland was born in Aberdeenshire, Scotland in 1948 and spent his earliest years in Peterhead. Iain’s mother Eileen sang and his father was a civil servant who also played fiddle in his own band, everything from Glenn Miller to reels and strathspeys. Iain and Gavin learned guitar at an early age and Iain had his own band called The Mysteries while still at school.
When they were children, Iain and Gavin would learn chords and harmonies by listening to Everly Brothers records over and over again and then trying to copy them. Years later they heard a version of their "Arms of Mary" on which the Everly Brothers replicated the Sutherland Brothers’ own arrangement.
Iain eventually got a place at Manchester University and might have gone on to become an architect, but he decided instead to try to make a living with his band.
In the early 1960s Iain and Gavin Sutherland moved to London, which was essentially the location of the British music industry at that time, sharing a room in a flat in West Kensington. They were always close. And although he was the quieter of the two, Iain was always protective and supportive of his younger sibling.
Iain and Gavin saw themselves primarily as songwriters, rather than singers, but got themselves a contract with Island Records and in 1971 they released their first album entitled "Sutherland Brothers Band".
Iain and Gavid Sutherland drew on their childhood in the North-East of Scotland to write two of the best-known songs of the 1970s, although it took a cover version by Rod Stewart to propel their composition, "Sailing" to number one position in the UK pop charts and into the public consciousness.
Sailing was their third single, a quite different take from that of Rod Stewart. Although it was influenced by their background in the fishing communities of the North-East, it was really about the spiritual journey through life, rather than a physical journey.
The Sutherland brothers linked up with the band Quiver at the end of 1972 and began to build a discerning audience with their melodic blend of folk, rock and pop. In May 1973 they were playing at the Civic Centre in Motherwell but by September they were playing the Holywood Bowl in California and then Madison Square Garden, New York, as support for Elton John.
Sutherland Brothers and Quiver were likely more popular in the U.S.A than they became in the UK and had a hit in North America in 1973 with "(I Don’t Want to Love You But) You Got Me Anyway".
They wrote a several songs specifically for Rod Stewart and worked with him on demos with the intention that he would record one of them for his 1975 album Atlantic Crossing. It came as surprise to them when they discovered he had recorded Sailing. They did not even recognise it at first. It was only when he started singing that they recognised their song. No one knew then just how phenomenally successful it would become, selling over a million copies in the UK. It was credited to Gavin as writer, though he said he and Iain wrote it together.
In 1976 the Sutherland Brothers and Quiver headlined at the Glasgow Apollo and the Usher Hall in Edinburgh and with the success of 'Arms of Mary' they found themselves on the BBC's Top of the Pops weekly television programme.
The Sutherland Brothers released eight albums during the 1970s, six of them with Quiver, and had a few other minor hits before going on to solo careers in the 1980s. Iain had returned to the Stoke area, where he had his own music studio and stated that he just wrote and recorded for his own purposes and if anyone was interested, then that was all well and good.