BAY CITY ROLLERS: Alan Longmuir R.I.P.

Bass player Alan Longmuir, who co-founded The Bay City Rollers and rode the tartan-clad boy band's brief burst of global fame, died this morning (Monday) in Edinburgh [pr: ED-in-burr-oh). He was 70. He fell ill three weeks ago while vacationing in Mexico with his wife.

Lead singer Les McKeown remembered his friend as "the original Bay City Roller." And bandmate Stuart Wood told the BBC he would "remember the good times we had for over 40 years." 

While their fame lasted barely a couple of years in the North America, there was renewed interest in the Rollers in the middle of this decade. Longmuir, McKeown and Wood played several reunion shows in Britain. Longmuir's biographical musical, And I Ran With the Gang, was staged during a 2016 Toronto fanfest.

After a series of smash singles in the U.K. -- including a number-one remake of The Four Seasons' "Bye, Bye Baby," Clive Davis and Arista Records brought them to the U.S. in the fall of 1975. Hoping their teen appeal could make them "the next Beatles," they landed them a guest appearance on Howard Cosell's Saturday night variety show on ABC.

"Saturday Night," with its football-cheer opening, hit number-one in the U.S. But only one of their next seven releases made the Top 10. And facing competition from the Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, James Taylor and Elton John, the Rollers seemed more a throwback to the days when Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine --  as opposed to Rolling Stone -- were the "rock and roll press."

 

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