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In 1979, Blair Douglas left Runrig again to pursue a solo career.

1979 also saw the release of Runrig's second album, The Highland Connection on the band's own label, Ridge Records.

A somewhat transitional album, it features wailing electric guitars and ballads.

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The band toured extensively in support of the record, and in 2000, they also released a live album called Live At Celtic Connections 2000, allowing fans to hear older Runrig songs sung by their new frontman.

The year 2000 concluded with the release of an authorised songbook, Flower Of The West - The Runrig Songbook.

They signed to a small label called Simple Records in 1984, and two singles were released. A longer version of the second single "Skye" appeared on the Alba Records compilation A Feast Of Scottish Folk Music, Volume One along with an early version of "Lifeline", both of which were previously unreleased on albums, and "Na H-Uain A's T-Earrach" which was the B-side to "Dance Called America".

The band then engaged the services of producer Chris Harley who brought to their recordings the benefit of his experience as a solo artist and a singer with The Alan Parsons Project and Camel.

The period from 1987–1997 marked Runrig's most successful run, during which they achieved placings in both the UK albums and singles charts, and toured extensively.

With (for the first time) major-label support (from Chrysalis), Runrig's fifth studio album, The Cutter And The Clan (1987), which had originally been released on the independent Ridge Records label before being re-released on Chrysalis, brought the band wider audiences in the United Kingdom, as well as in other parts of Europe.Runrig's fourth independent studio album, Heartland (released in 1985), combined Gaelic sounds with anthemic rock music.Richard Cherns left the band in February 1986 and was replaced by ex-Big Country member Pete Wishart.Following the release of Mara, lead singer Donnie Munro grew more involved in politics.In 1997, he left Runrig in order to stand for a seat in the House of Commons for the Labour Party. Runrig began searching for a new frontman, and in 1998 they announced their selection of Bruce Guthro, a singer-songwriter from Nova Scotia.The current line-up also includes longtime members Malcolm Jones, Iain Bayne, and more recently, Bruce Guthro, and Brian Hurren.