Compared to the likes of Blondie and the Pretenders by the U.K. press, Scottish pop/rock four-piece Speedway never quite managed to translate critical acclaim into chart success. Glaswegians Jill Jackson and drummer Jim Duguid formed the band -- named after an Elvis Presley film -- after discovering a mutual love of U2. After recruiting bassist Tom Swann and guitarist Dan Sells, who would later be replaced by Chris Leonard, the band played its first gig at the opening of Scottish Parliament in 1999. Earning a reputation as one of Scotland's best unsigned bands, Speedway attracted the attention of label boss Hugh Goldsmith after a live show at King Tut's Wah Wah Hut in Glasgow. In 2002, they signed with Innocent Records, a label normally associated with manufactured pop acts, and embarked on a tour of universities across the U.K. A year later, they released their debut single, a mashup of Christina Aguilera's "Genie in a Bottle" and the Strokes' "Hard to Explain," which reached number ten. After supporting labelmates Blue on their U.K. tour, the band released second single "Can't Turn Back" (number 12) and debut album Save Yourself (number 42). Following a support slot with Bryan Adams, the band split up when third single "In and Out" could only reach number 31. Jackson formed a duo with Irish singer/songwriter Gianna Cassidy, released her own solo acoustic album, and began writing new material in Nashville. Duguid co-wrote several tracks on former Speedway roadie Paolo Nutini's debut album, These Streets, while Sells went on to front the hugely successful the Feeling.
by Jon O'Brien