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Last Updated: Friday, 31 December, 2004, 00:12 GMT
Scots entertainers awarded MBEs
Alexander Brothers
The Alexander Brothers' career dates back to the 1950s
Scottish musicians the Alexander Brothers are celebrating MBEs after almost half a century in showbusiness.

Tom and Jack, who originally hailed from Wishaw, were "totally gobsmacked" to be honoured for services to entertainment in Scotland.

Tom, 70, who now lives in Bearsden, said it was the "icing on the cake" of the duo's 46-year career.

He and his 68-year-old brother, from Prestwick, have released about 60 albums and performed across the globe.

The brothers, who were born in Cambusnethan near Wishaw, were regular talent show winners in central Scotland in the first half of the 1950s.

Summer show

They launched their professional career in 1958 after Jack completed his national service with the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders.

Their first performance was as part of a summer show at the Webster Hall in Arbroath.

They were signed by Pye Records in London and had their first hit with the single Nobody's Child - which sold more than The Beatles in Scotland.

"That was the song that really launched us in Scotland," recalled Tom.

It's a high point in anybody's career
Tom Alexander
"It was a country single and nobody else was covering that type of music at the time."

The duo have maintained a strong fan base in America and Australia, as well as their home country.

Tom said the highlights of their career included a show at the Sydney Opera House in the mid-1980s and co-starring with Shirley Bassey at the London Palladium in 1967.

"We celebrated 46 years in the business in 2004," said Tom.

"It's a long time in any business, but in show business it's quite an event.

'Totally gobsmacked'

"These days, some (artists) are here today and gone tomorrow. To get an MBE is just the icing on the cake."

He added that the honour was "nae bad for two painters from Wishaw".

"I was totally gobsmacked, as was my brother.

"We've known for some time that a lot of our fans were sending letters to Downing Street - you know what fans can be like.

"But to get it was just completely out of the blue. It's a high point in anybody's career."

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