Les McKeown Dies: Bay City Rollers Frontman Was 65

"It is with profound sadness that we announce the death of our beloved husband and father Leslie Richard McKeown, his family posted on the singer's Twitter account. "We are currently making arrangements for his funeral and ask privacy after the shock of our profound loss."
In 2015, he rejoined the band, which has reunited in various incarnations in the years since its major U.S. and UK successes. But success was fleeting, and McKeown left the group in 1978.
He was 65. No cause of death was revealed. Les McKeown, who sang lead for Scottish '70s hitmakers Bay City Rollers during its heyday, died Tuesday at home, his family announced.
He replaced original singer Gordon "Nobby" Clark two years after the group had broken through with a top 10 single in the UK. They included the No. In 1974, Bay City Rollers scored a second British hit with the McKeown-sung "Remember (Sha La La)," which began a streak of nine consecutive Top 10 hits for the Bell label in the UK. Considered a progenitor of the modern boy band, the Edinburgh quintet saw McKeown join in 1973. 1s "Bye Bye Baby" and "Give a Little Love." Their albums Rollin' (1974) and Once Upon a Star (1975) both topped the UK chart.
While likely not edgy enough for the then-nascent Saturday Night Live, the Rollers did appear on ABC's mid-'70s variety show Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell.
The group's song can be heard in such films and TV shows as The Umbrella Academy, The Simpsons, Love Actually, That '70s Show and So I Married an Axe Murderer.” /> The Rollers were formed in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1964 by brothers Alan and Derek Longmuir. In the late ’60s, they decided on a new direction and a name change, which led to the dart-throwing that landed near Bay City, Michigan.
Born on November 15, 1955, in Edinburgh, McKeown would record eight LPs with the Rollers and went on to release eight solo albums, though none charted on either side of the Atlantic.


1 on the Billboard Hot 100 — and the brief Rollermania phenomenon was born. Signed to Arista Records, they would break out Stateside with "Saturday Night," an uber-catchy bubblegum rave-up that sold a million copies and reached No. American shores beckoned for the group, which years earlier had found its name by throwing a dart at a U.S. map.
The song with Clark's vocal had been released as a single in the UK but failed to chart, and the McKeown-fronted version was not released as a 45 there.
Along with playing the likes of The Midnight Special and American Bandstand, they also would appear on such mainstream outlets as Merv Griffin, Dinah Shore and Mike Douglas' daytime talk shows. Tartan came into fashion as the group regularly covered kiddie fanzines such as Tiger Beat and 16. Bay City Rollers had two more Top 10 U.S. Meanwhile, the States caught Scottish fever. singles with "Money Honey" and "You Made me Believe in Magic" and five consecutive gold albums from 1975-77.

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