One of my earliest memories of music (besides Kiss) was Scotland’s The Bay City Rollers. I remember as a child watching the Sid and Marty Krofft Saturday Morning TV Show, “The Krofft Superstar Hour” (later named “The Bay City Rollers Show”) when the Rollers were on hosting the show while performing every week. One of the earliest records we had in our house was the band’s U.S. Album “Rock And Roll Love Letter,” which was a greatest hits release, with a few new songs, geared mainly to capture on the U.S. success the band had in the late 1970s. The band is usually considered One Hit Wonders with their song “Saturday Night,” but they actually had six Top 40 U.S. hits, along with world-wide success. Throughout several member changes and the success before and during the Disco craze, the band had several underrated songs that were not just Disco (check out their VH1 “Behind The Music” show on them-it’s pretty amazing). Here are some of my favorite Bay City Rollers songs (in no particular order) featuring the band consisting of Les McKeown, Eric Faulkner, Alan Longmire, Stewart Wood, and Derek Longmire.
1.“Eagles Fly” (1975). This song was on the 1975 “Wouldn’t You Like It” Album, along with 1976’s “Rock and Roll Love Letter.” This song shows an Acoustic Pop feel, which was different from the Dance/Disco songs the band gets lumped into. This song could have been on any Adult Contemporary or Pop Charts from the era.
- “Dedication” (1976). This song was the title track of the 1976 Album where Ian Mitchell, who replaced Alan Longmire, sang lead vocals on the song about a listener wanting the radio deejay to play a song for him. A year later, a single with Les McKeown on lead was released. The song hit #60 on the U.S. Charts in 1977. The song reminds me of the days when I would listen to the Top 40 National Radio shows, like Casey Kasem and Wolfman Jack, where fans would dedicate songs on air. It reminds me of a lost time in radio.
- “You Made Me Believe In Magic” (1977). This song, from the “It’s A Game” Album, which hit the U.S. Top 10, with McKeown singing lead. The song was a mid tempo song that was a perfect fit for the music scene of the time. The vocals are perfect in the song, which starts off soft and builds in the chorus. This is a great dance song.
4.”The Disco Kid” (1975). From the albums “Once Upon A Star” and “Rock And Roll Love Letter,” this song was one I played over and over on the album I had as a kid. I always enjoyed the song, and even the drumming is somewhat different from the normal dance songs of the time. I liked the lyrics on the song and the phrasing of the lyrics. The production on the song, especially on McKeown’s vocals is pleasant and unique as well.
- “Don’t Stop The Music” (1975). This song, also on the U.S. Album “Rock And Roll Love Letter” and the album “Wouldn’t You Like It” was a favorite of mine by the band. This song is a great Disco Song of the era. I always wanted to play this song in the bands I played in, but for some reason, the members never liked it. I always thought the song would be a good crowd pleaser and get people dancing. Listen to the instruments at the end of the song, softly layered, which also showed the musicianship of the band.
- “The Way I Feel Tonight” (1977). This song is a ballad from “It’s A Game” Album. The band was musically gifted, which is overlooked when looking at the band (most of the songs were written by Stewart Wood and Eric Faulkner). The band, as mentioned before, was always mislabeled as a Disco band, and had plenty of good Pop, Ballads, and Rock songs. This is one of their great ballads. The song ended up being the band’s final charted hit in the U.S., hitting #24. The songwriter of this song was Harvey Shield, who worked as a drummer with Ian Gillian and Dusty Springfield among others, along with becoming an actor.
A few other songs that are a must listen by the band are “Too Young To Rock And Roll,” “Wouldn’t You Like It,” “La Belle Jeane, ” “Rock N Roller,” and “Maybe I’m A Fool To Love You.” Even though several people viewed the band as teen idols only, the music proves otherwise. I encourage you to go deeper into their songs, besides “Saturday Night.” You may be surprised by how talented the band really was.
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