Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

BAY CITY ROLLERS

Teenypop group of the '70s, formed in Edinburgh late '60s as the Saxons by brothers Derek (b 19 March 1951, drums) and Alan Longmuir (b 20 June 1948, d 2 July 2018, bass), then manipulated by danceband leader Tam Paton into a money-spinning UK teen idols. They were renamed by sticking a pin into a map of USA; with original singer Nobby Clark had no. 9 UK hit '71 with 'Keep On Dancing', cover of '65 US hit by Gentrys, produced by Jonathan King. Umpteenth follow-up 'Remember (Sha- La-La)' finally hyped into UK top ten '74 by sending pics to 10,000 addresses lifted from teen magazines; image of short-trousered, tartan-trimmed, spiky-haircut group had undisputed two years' dominance of the bubblegum market. The lineup stabilized '74 with Longmuirs, Stuart 'Woody' Wood (b 25 February 1957), Eric Faulkner (b 21 October 1955), guitars; Les McKeown (b 12 November 1955), vocals (all from Edinburgh).

Nine UK top ten hits '74-6 included chart-toppers 'Bye Bye Baby', 'Give Me A Little Love'; they plundered '60s songbooks for covers: 'Bye Bye Baby' from the Four Seasons, 'I Only Wanna Be With You' from Dusty Springfield; they admitted not playing on some of their records. The pressure told: Faulkner and Alan Longmuir were said to have attempted suicide; 'bad boy' McKeown was seen in court; Alan left the group '76 (fired because he was tired of being treated like a child by Paton), returned two years later. USA no. 1 'Saturday Night' early '76 led them to concentrate on USA and Japanese markets and they'd lost their home following by '77; McKeown replaced by South African Duncan Faure '78; Paton left '79; then it was over. Comeback attempts in the '80s underlined the silliness, but they were so hot at one point that Nick Lowe cut a novelty cash-in 'We Love The Rollers'.