Lena Zavaroni

Lena Zavaroni

FirstFoot received a heartwarming plea from a fan who runs a Lena Zavaroni tribute site, to include her heroine in our Great Scots section.

Ever happy to oblige ………….. However, the Bad Scottish Pop, rather than the Great Scots section, is the place in the Scottish firmament where Zavaroni surely resides .

Whilst the Zavaroni story is one of personal tragedy, into which FirstFoot has no intention of treading, there is also another dimension to the life and times of the Rothesay screecher.

Zavaroni was a child star. A big voice in a wee frame. At the age of 10 she rocketed to fame via "Opportunity Knocks", which she won for five consecutive weeks. She subsequently released a bloody awful single which went top 10 in the UK charts and went on to make some truly shite light entertainment for the BBC.

But it is the hidden damage that she and Neil Reid did to the Scottish economy that is incalculable.

The consequence of fleeting childhood stardom was catastrophic for Scotland:

In the 1970's, a whole generation of Grannies from outside of Scotland thought of Scotland as a country full of "cute" kids, singing wonderfully, and dancing, and smiling and being terribly, terribly precocious. As a result, the Great British Granny poured into Scotland by the busload looking for twee holidays.

As fast as the Grannies came, the younger tourists stayed away. "I'm not going up there where all those bloody kids sing that shite" was a common refrain in the early 70's.

The effect on the Scottish tourist industry can be seen clearly in the graph below.

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