Bay City Rollers frontman Leslie Richard McKeown has passed away at the age of 65.
The devastating news was reported by his wife, Keiko and son, Jubei via McKeown’s social media accounts. They wrote, “It is with profound sadness that we announce the death of our beloved husband and father Leslie Richard McKeown.”
“Leslie died suddenly at home on Tuesday 20 April 2021. We are currently making arrangements for his funeral and ask for privacy after the shock of our profound loss.”
— Les McKeown (@LesMcKeownUK) April 22, 2021
As reported by Ultimate Classic Rock, McKeown was born on November 12th, 1955 in Edinburgh, Scotland and joined the Bay City Rollers in 1973 and performed as the group’s frontman until 1978.
As Danny Fields, former editor of 16 Magazine put it after he had attended a Bay City Rollers press tour across Scotland in 1975, he said, “The invention of boy bands became an industry thanks to the Bay City Rollers.”
Before they took to the US, the Bay City Rollers went off in the UK, scoring multiple top ten albums in the country, including Rollin’ and Once Upon a Star. They also topped the UK charts when it came to singles including ‘Bye, Bye, Baby’ and ‘Give a Little Love’.
Although they appealed to entirely different audiences and fans, they were often described as “the biggest thing since The Beatles.” Eventually Rollermania took the US by storm when they released their track ‘Saturday Night’ which dominated the charts in the No.1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100.
“Rollermania” is a term thrown around a lot when on the topic of the seminal Scottish pop rock group that is the Bay City Rollers. Often referred to as ‘teen idol sensations’ and playing a gigantic role in bringing the concept of boy band sensation into existence, Rollermania describes the chaos incited from their devoted fandom.
As reported by The Sydney Morning Herald Rollermania arrived on Australian shores in 1975, where “Screaming, hospitalisations, hysteria and even a car chase were all part of the fan reaction”, with the band playing at Sydney’s Hordern Pavilion.
They “became the world’s first international teen idols and turned the whole world tartan,” and they would never have been the same without Les McKeown. Rest In Peace, Leslie Richard McKeown.
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