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Paisley may be a home to under 80,000 inhabitants but the town has had a big impact on modern culture. In the world of art, fashion, music and entertainment, Paisley has had its say. Here are just few examples of the Renfrewshire town’s cultural impact.

The heart of the bingo craze

In the 1970s, as cinemas and other entertainment centres were closed, Paisley became a centre for the bingo craze. The town had half a dozen bingo halls at one point and was partly responsible for the area becoming known as the bingo capital of the UK. Long after the bingo craze dwindled elsewhere, the game continued to be popular in the region and was an integral part of the social scene. It was even described as being like a religion. Like many industries, things moved on following the rise of the internet with players now having the option to play bingo online for real money at popular casino and betting sites. These sites give players more options than ever before, with games such as Deal Or No Deal Multiplier Bingo to Rainbow Riches Bingo. But despite that, Paisley still operates a popular bingo hall today.

Forefront of fashion

When you ask people what they think of when they hear the word Paisley, many would respond by describing the famous Paisley pattern. The teardrop-shaped designs of Persian origin were introduced to the west by 18th-century textile makers in the town, which was at the forefront of European textile manufacturing. Prior to being produced in Paisley, the design was known to westerners as the ‘pine and cone’. Paisley patterns became a huge part of 1960s fashion culture and were linked with the psychedelic style promoted by bands including the Beatles. Paisley patterns were a prominent feature of 1967’s Summer of Love and remain an iconic symbol of the era.

In the 1980s, American musician Prince penned a song called “Paisley Park” and founded a recording complex and record label with the same name. The record label logo featured the famous Paisley pattern.

Iconic music

The 1960s music scene in Paisley spawned one of the most recognisable riffs of all time. Gerry Rafferty was born in the town by the early 1970s was a prominent name on the UK music scene as part of the band Stealers Wheel. Following their split in 1975, Rafferty went on to enjoy a successful solo career and recorded “Baker Street.” The song’s famous riff was initially played by Rafferty on electric guitar for the demo tapes, but session saxophonist Raphael Ravenscroft was recruited for the final recording.

Other Paisley artists to score big on the music scene were Kelly Marie who had a UK No. 1 hit with “Feels like I’m in Love” in 1981, and award-winning local singer-songwriter Paolo Nutini has topped the UK album charts twice (2009 and 2014).

Paisley on the big screen

Paisley has also made its mark on Hollywood thanks to local actor Gerard Butler. The 52-year-old has over 50 movie credits to his name including the 2021 thriller Copshop, but is most famous for his roles in 300, Law Abiding Citizen, Phantom of the Opera, and the Bounty Killer. Another local actor, Tom Conti, has over 100 acting credits to his name and was nominated for an Oscar for his performance in Reuben, Reuben in 1983. Doctor Who actor David Tennant also hails from the city.

These are just a few examples of how the small town of Paisley has made a big impact around the world.