Gawd. The Bay City Rollers Are Back

Sometimes music has to get so bad that kids everywhere decide “Right! I have to fix this!” They pick up guitars, form bands and rescue rock’n’roll from mediocrity and awfulness. This was the case in the middle 70s when the world was overrun with The Carpenters, Freddy Fender, Captain and Tennille, Tony Orland and Dawn and Neil Sedaka. Because AM radio was a wasteland, punk ensued. (There were other reasons, but bad AM radio was definitely a contributing factor.)

I was driven into the arms of the Ramones and Devo by one particular band: The Bay City Rollers, the One Direction/Backstreet Boys/NSync/New Kids on the Block of their day. They were manufactured specifically to be just cute and safe enough for teenage girls, the same girls I wanted to pay attention to me.

Before my hatred transferred to disco, I was absolutely pathological in my disgust with these tartan-covered bastards who polluted the radio with songs like this.

If that song tickles something at the back of your brain, it’s because the Ramones wrote this song in response. The “Hey ho! Let’s go!” was inspired by the “S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y NIGHT” chant. Seriously. It was. Joey told me hisself.

The Bay City Rollers eventually dissolved into a puddle of drugs, sex issues and financial recriminations that resulted from the funds generated by sales of more than 100 million (yes, you read that right) records.  There were other problems, too. A manager served time for gross indecency with teenage boys. A drummer was brought up on child porn charges. Another member died of AIDS. In addition to killing someone in a car accident, singer Les McKeown was arrested (but acquitted) for dealing in coke.

But now, three of the five Rollers are getting back together for some kind of reunion this Christmas. And they’ll make a ton of money.

Irrational, I know–but that old hatred has started to burn again. Some thing you can’t forget.


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

3 thoughts on “Gawd. The Bay City Rollers Are Back

  • September 23, 2015 at 2:52 pm

    what mark said. one of my favorite covers ever made!

  • September 27, 2015 at 12:09 am

    Appalling news. But having said that, do check out this video of the Rollers playing for a room full of seniors—they’re a riot.


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