Jeannie’s comprehensive Pipe Bands history book now available


Jeannie Campbell MBE will be well-known to readers as the author of the History of the Argyllshire Gathering and Piping In London series. In 2021 Jeannie published a book titled, Pipe Bands, which was very popular and quickly sold out. Jeannie has just informed that the book has been reprinted and is available from The National Piping Centre website here, or directly from Jeannie herself by email here.

The book was reviewed by Bob Worrall for and the review can be read here. This website also published publicity stories for the book which can be read below.

First published December 2021

Jeannie Campbell’s long-anticipated history of pipe bands has now been published. The book, Pipe Bands, which took the leading piping historian five years to compile, is now on sale, priced £30 (plus shipping).

At 854 pages, the book is big. Included are chapters on the first civilian bands, juvenile bands, ladies bands, Volunteers bands, bands between the two world wars, bands in specific geographic areas, and many more – 24 chapters in all plus three Appendices. The book is the ultimate pipe band reference book.

•Jeannie Campbell MBE with her book.

Jeannie, who was for many years the curator of The Bagpipe Museum at the College of Piping, told Bagpipe.News: “There is very little available on the history of bands so if anyone wants to know about pipe band competitions, who the winning bands were, and how the rules, methods of judging and playing requirements have changed over the last century and a quarter then the information is all here.

“The earliest bands in other countries have been noted, too, and while it would be impossible to include every band in the world I have included the histories of famous bands and some others which are not well known but their stories serve to illustrate how bands are formed and develop.

“I have also included comments and suggestions made by people over the years. One of my favourites is the idea that the drum corps should be in the middle of the band and not at the back. A simple idea, but the reasoning behind it is logical and I’d like to see it tried out.”

Jeannie says she began researching pipe bands soon after finishing the second Pipe Makers book in 2016. “I had been using online newspaper archives extensively for pipe makers and had noted many references to pipe bands. I was surprised at the number of bands in the late 1870s, and some of the locations were not where you would expect to find bands proliferating.

“In addition to newspaper archives I have used piping magazines, competition programmes and information supplied by many people around the world.

“When it came to the cover pictures, for me it had to be the Glasgow Police. It is one of the oldest bands to have been performing consistently at the highest level throughout the band’s existence and it holds the record for the number of World Championships won.”

Pipe Bands is available directly from the author or from The Bagpipe Shop.

First published July 2021

Piping historian, Jeannie Campbell’s latest book – a comprehensive history of pipe bands – is at the final stages of pre-production. Bagpipe.News has had a sneak preview of the tome and was impressed with the sheer amount of detail in the book.

Running to 850 pages, the book – titled simply Pipe Bands – chronicles the early beginnings of the pipe band movement through to the first civilian bands, school bands, Boys’ Brigade bands, ladies bands and juvenile bands. Jeannie has detailed the global spread of the art in chapters covering Europe, Canada, USA, New Zealand, Ireland and so on. It is a phenomenal piece of research and, clearly, the book will be of interest to all pipe band enthusiasts. It will undoubtedly prove to be a ‘go to’ reference book for the pipe band world.

Jeannie tells us she expects the book to be available in the coming weeks.

One nugget jumped out at us. Jeannie quotes Seumas MacNeill writing in the July 1949 edition of the Piping, Drumming and Highland Dancing Journal: “One might ask then,” wrote Seumas, “why it is that any piper stays in a band after his first training stage has been completed. It may be for business reasons, or because of an army career, or because of a job in the police or the distillery, but probably the main reason is purely social.

“A band is great fun, and the friendship between members of a band holds firmly. But at heart, every piper is an individualist, as can be seen at any band practice, where each likes to get away on his own to have a tune. If the social side and the piping can be supplied without the band, pipers are completely happy.

“The distinction between ‘pipers’ and ‘bandsmen’ is in reality quite simple. All pipers are individual pipers at heart. The only ‘bandsmen’ are drummers.’”