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Bay City Rollers lead singer Les McKeown dies at age 65

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Scott Campbell/Redferns via Getty Images

Les McKeown, original lead singer of 1970s Scottish pop-rock idols The Bay City Rollers died Tuesday, April 20, according to a message posted by his family on his Twitter feed. He was 65.

“It is with profound sadness that we announce the death of our beloved husband and father Leslie Richard McKeown,” the message reads. “Leslie died suddenly at home…We are currently making arrangements for a funeral and ask for privacy after the shock of our profound loss.”

In the ’70s, The Bay City Rollers were global teen idols, inciting “Rollermania” among their screaming fans, nicknamed “The Tartan Horde.” The band sold 120 million records, mostly in the U.K., the U.S., Australia and Japan.

The Bay City Rollers’ biggest U.S. hit was “Saturday Night,” which topped the Billboard Hot 100 in January 1976. The band scored five more top-40 singles in 1976 and ’77, including the #9 hit “Money Honey.”

McKeown joined The Bay City Rollers in 1973, when he was just 18. He left the band in 1978, although he rejoined them for a number of reunion tours.

Les also released a number of solo albums, and in recent years he’d toured with his own version of The Bay City Rollers. According to his official website, after having to postpone many dates in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, McKeown and his group had a couple of concerts booked in July, while a full tour had been scheduled to begin in September.

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