Bands As Big As The Beatles, For A Little While Anyway: Bay City Rollers Edition!


Though the unofficial tally of albums sold worldwide clocks in at a very respectable 120 million copies worldwide, this Scottish band remains a contentious subject among American music fans who are either stunningly unaware of their existence at all (f'k'n millennials) or begrudgingly acknowledge their existence by mimicking the chorus to their #1 smash hit "Saturday Night", from their self-titled 1975 American debut album.

Culled from three different UK studio albums, Bay City Rollers was a big-money gamble for Clive Davis's newly-minted Arista label that paid off immediately. With the #1 smash hit "Saturday Night" and sold-out performances everywhere they went, the Bay City Rollers weren't just another band with a song on the radio, they were a household name where American school girls and boys alike each had their favorite Roller.



(Mine was Eric Faulkner because he gave off the aura of being "the rocker" in the band, plus, let's face it, he had the best hair).

Albums Rock & Roll Love Letter (spawning the Top 40 hits "Money Honey" and the title track), Dedication (featuring "I Only Want To Be With You"), and It's A Game ("You Made me Believe In magic" and "The Way I Feel Tonight") followed.

At the height of "Rollermania", the band had their own Saturday-morning variety show, "The Krofft Superstar Hour Starring the Bay City Rollers", lunch boxes, cereals, action figures, and flew to gigs in their own private jet.

Ah, but as quickly as fame had found them in America, the fickle winds of change blew in and swept the Bay City Rollers away with the rest of yesterday's news.



From 1979 to 1985, personnel changes combined with ambitious attempts at new wave and power pop led to the release of five albums that did not chart in ANY country.

Too bad, really, because during the period where the band was fronted by Duncan Faure, they actually managed to carve out a pretty agreeable, albeit vaguely generic sound that was, in hindsight, career suicide because those are literally the only adjectives that come to you when listening to albums like Elevator and Voxx, from which the track below ("Soho") was taken.



The band parted ways with Arista soon after and, in 1982, released one album for Epic Records, Ricochet, that didn't.

1982 saw the band's first reunion attempt, with seven past members touring Japan and creating a brief second wave of Rollermania. 1985's reunion album Breakout '85 was a dud, though.

Since then, the legacy of the Bay City Rollers has been mired in endless scandals, court cases, and fallouts, Their manager went to prison, their drummer almost did, and, in 2015, members Alan Longmuir, Stuart "Woody" Wood, and Les McKeown announced the band's reunion at a chaotic press conference that was so packed with journalists, camera people, and assorted handlers that a pitcher of milk was almost spilled on a TV camera. The three members of the classic line-up will be touring the UK Dec 10-17th as part of their "Shan-a-Lang Xmas" tour.

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