Former Bay City Rollers frontman Les McKeown has died, aged 65.
On Thursday, his family announced online that the singer had died suddenly at his home on Tuesday.
The Edinburgh-born vocalist fronted the band during their most successful period in the 1970s, selling more than 100 million records worldwide.
The band, with Gordon ‘Nobby’ Clark on vocals, had some success pre-McKeown’s arrival, perhaps most significantly being cited, some years later, by Tommy Ramone as an inspiration for the ‘Hey! Ho! Let’s Go’ chant in his band’s ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’.
Following a couple of top 10 singles in ‘Saturday Night’ and ‘Remember’, McKeown joined the band in time for a string of chart hits in ‘Remember’, ‘Shang-a-Lang’,’Summerlove Sensation’, and ‘All of Me Loves All of You’.
The band’s 1975 UK tour saw the birth of “Rollermania”, with hordes of tartan-clad teenage girls following the band’s every move, and their popularity led to their being given a 20-week UK television series, Shang-a-Lang.
A cover of the Four Seasons’ song ‘Bye, Bye, Baby’ reached the top of the UK chart and remained there for six weeks in March and April 1975, selling close to a million copies and becoming the biggest seller of the year.
The follow-up, ‘Give a Little Love’, also hit the top of the charts in July 1975
The band’s popularity waned, however, with McKeown leaving in 1978, as the band rebranded as The Rollers in 1978, attempting to reinvent themselves to fit in better with the then-popular new wave and rock scenes.
McKeown went on to release eight solo long-players between 1979 and 1993, with an album ‘The Lost Songs’ coming out in 2016, just after he re-joined for a string of comeback shows in 2015. There were also sporadic releases under the Bay City Rollers banner, including ‘Rock’n’Roll It’s Christmas Time‘ in 2014.
As the only remaining member of the band, he toured under the name Les McKeown’s Bay City Rollers up until last year.
— Les McKeown (@LesMcKeownUK) April 22, 2021