Bay City Rollers frontman Les McKeown dies suddenly aged 65

22 April 2021, 20:04 | Updated: 22 April 2021, 20:27

Les McKeown has died at the age of 65
Les McKeown has died at the age of 65. Picture: PA

By Patrick Grafton-Green

Bay City Rollers frontman Les McKeown has died suddenly at the age of 65.

The Scottish pop singer fronted the Edinburgh band, whose hits include Bye Bye Baby and Shang-a-Lang, during their 1970s heyday.

A statement from his family on Twitter said: "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. Thank you. Keiko and Jubei McKeown."

The news comes after bassist Alan Longmuir, another Bay City Rollers member, died aged 70 in the summer of 2018.

Formed at the end of the 1960s, the band enjoyed huge success at home and abroad with their distinctive tartan outfits and upbeat pop tunes.

McKeown joined in late 1973, just as they began their ascent to fame, leaving in 1978.

They broke through into the mainstream in 1974 after a series of singles which failed to dent the charts.

Left to right: Stuart Wood, Alan Longmuir, Les Mckeown, Derek Longmuir and Eric Faulkner of the Bay City Rollers in 1975
Left to right: Stuart Wood, Alan Longmuir, Les Mckeown, Derek Longmuir and Eric Faulkner of the Bay City Rollers in 1975. Picture: PA

They had a massive teen following and sold more than 100 million records, and in the press were heralded as "biggest group since the Beatles".

Alongside McKeown and Longmuir, the classic line-up also included guitarists Eric Faulkner and Stuart Wood, with Longmuir's younger brother Derek on drums.

McKeown, Longmuir and Wood reunited for a comeback tour in 2015 with tickets selling out.

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