One of Dundee’s most treasured sons could be honoured by having a new city street named after him.
Billy Mackenzie, regarded as one of pop’s greatest-ever vocalists, has been suggested by Stobswell Forum as someone who should be celebrated in a new development being built close to many sites associated with the musician.
The new area of housing will be at the former Taybank Works in Morgan Street, close to homes he had there, and in Park Avenue.
If the city development committee pass the proposal following its meeting on Monday, May 10, proud new homeowners could find themselves living on Billy Mackenzie Street.
It follows a consultation carried out in March, which sought the views of a variety of interested parties including local councillors, Mark Flynn, the convener of the city development committee, the city archivist and the development’s agent, KDM Architects.
Billy’s family were also consulted, and regard it as an honour to the memory of their brother who died in 1997 at the age of just 39.
Huge contribution to pop music
The city has always paid tribute to Billy, who was a pupil of St Mary’s Forebank Primary School and St Michael’s Secondary School before pursuing a life in music, creating innovative and enduring pop music.
This was done most notably with Alan Rankine in The Associates, but also after that, with a variety of collaborators including Yello, Shirley Bassey, and Dundee musician Steve Aungle, who recorded with Billy at a home studio in Baxter Park Terrace.
Dundee journalist and author Tom Doyle published a book about Billy’s life called The Glamour Chase.
He says, “It’s amazing that a street in Stobswell could be named after Billy. He loved the area and always seemed most at home at his mum’s house on Morgan Street.
“Knowing Billy though, he’d have probably been equally thrilled and mortified by having his name on an actual street there.”
For some time there has been a campaign to honour Billy with a statue in the city, with sculptor David Annand planning a standing figure of Billy with his beloved whippets at his feet.
Also in Stobswell, and close to the site to the new housing development, artist Garry Milne covered a Kemback Street wall with a mural of Billy in 2018.
Mark Flynn says, “I am really pleased that not only have we been able to support a recommendation which came from the community, but also to recognise the indelible impact that Billy Mackenzie made on popular culture, not just in his native city, but across the world.”