Bay City Rollers singer Les McKeown dies suddenly

Scottish pop vocalist (65) was frontman of the group during their 1970s heyday

 Bay City Rollers singer Les McKeown, who has died aged 65.  Phototraph: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Bay City Rollers singer Les McKeown, who has died aged 65. Phototraph: Yui Mok/PA Wire

 

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

The Scottish pop vocalist was the frontman of the group 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 Bay City Rollers in 1975. Left to right: Stuart Wood; Alan Longmuir; Leslie Mckeown; Derek Longmuir and Eric Faulkner. Photograph: PA/PA Wire
The Bay City Rollers in 1975. Left to right: Stuart Wood; Alan Longmuir; Leslie Mckeown; Derek Longmuir and Eric Faulkner. Photograph: PA/PA Wire

McKeown was born in Edinburgh to Irish parents and joined the Bay City Rollers in late 1973, just as they began their ascent to fame, leaving in 1978.

The news comes after bassist Alan Longmuir, another member of the classic line-up, died at 70 in the summer of 2018.

Formed at the end of the 1960s, the Bay City Rollers enjoyed huge success at home and abroad with their distinctive tartan outfits and upbeat pop tunes like Bye Bye Baby and Shang-a-Lang.

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”.

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

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. – PA