His single "Over the Sea", reached number 65 in the UK Singles Chart in 1985. The video for the single – which features a kilted, helmeted, claymore-brandishing Rae in both New York City and the Scottish Highlands – won a Vira award. An album entitled 'The Thistle' was released in 1987 on WEA but failed to chart.
As a songwriter, he is best known for the 1982 Odyssey hit single, "Inside Out".
In 2007, he stood for the Scottish Parliament as an independent in the Scottish Borders electoral constituency of Roxburgh and Berwickshire. He gained 318 votes for a 1.2% share of the vote. He stood again in 2011 as an independent candidate in the expanded seat of Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire this time polling 308 votes for a 1.1% share.
On 21 February 2009, a debate opened up on the Tartan Army (followers of Scotland's football team) message board, regarding "Over The Sea" being picked as the new Tartan Army national anthem.
On 21 October 2010, Rae opened for Adam Ant at The Union Chapel in London, playing a half hour set and on May 23rd 2011, he was one of the support acts for Adam Ant at the O2 Academy in Glasgow. He has also been confirmed as support for several dates on Adam Ant's November 2011 tour.
2012 saw the release of Jesse's compilations albums - "The Best O'" and "Funk Warrior".
An expanded 2CD Special Edition reissue of 'The Thistle' was released in May 2014.