Bay City Rollers Frontman Les McKeown Is Dead

He led the group during its heyday in the 1970s
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 22, 2021 4:04 PM CDT

The frontman for 1970s pop sensation the Bay City Rollers has died at age 65. No cause of death for Les McKeown was given, but the musician's family tweeted that he died suddenly at home, reports the BBC. McKeown fronted the Scottish group during its heyday in the early 1970s, when it scored hits such as "Shang-A-Lang," "Bye Bye Baby," and "Saturday Night." He left the group in 1978—he was only 22—but would reunite with the band a few times on reunion tours, per the Guardian. McKeown had modest success as a solo artist, but nothing compared to the fame of the Bay City Rollers.

"I think we were a breath of fresh air in the '70s," McKeown told Scottish newspaper the Press and Journal a few years ago, per CNN. The singer was open about his struggles with addiction over the years, as well as his conviction in 1975 for reckless driving after he fatally struck an elderly neighbor. "I don't know how long it took me to come out of that shock," he would reflect years later. As for explaining the group's success in the 1970s, American music manager and journalist Danny Fields sums it up: "They were adorable," he told the BBC. "Five cute guys at once. That's the story of rock and roll." (Read other obituaries of note.)

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