Rest in Peace Les McKeown, Singer of the Bay City Rollers: 1955-2021

Rock Cellar Magazine StaffCategories:Latest News

Rock Cellar Magazine

Les McKeown, the lead singer of Scottish pop/rock band Bay City Rollers during the group’s peak in the 1970s, has passed away at the age of 65.

McKeown’s social media channels sent along the news on Thursday, on behalf of his wife, Keiko, and son, Jubei:

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

Les McKeown kept busy in recent years, and even had plans for upcoming Bay City Rollers performances, so his passing does come as a bit of a shock.

The Bay City Rollers achieved monumental international success in the ’70s after McKeown assumed lead vocal duties when he replaced Gordon Clark. McKeown sang lead vocals on their No. 1 U.K. hit, a cover of the Four Seasons’ “Bye, Bye, Baby”:

The group’s second and final No. 1 U.K. single was “Give A Little Love”:

“Saturday Night,” while not achieving similar chart success in the U.K., was the Bay City Rollers’ only No. 1 in the United States:

Here’s a bit more on the life and career of Les McKeown and the trajectory of the Bay City Rollers, via the Guardian:

Fashions changed, and the band’s popularity waned in the later part of the decade. McKeown left in 1978, aged 22, as the group turned towards an updated new-wave sound, but rejoined them for various reunion tours, most recently in 2015.

He had success in Japan in 1979 with his debut solo release All Washed Up, and released eight further solo albums. The most recent, 2016’s The Lost Songs, comprised songs he had written while on the road with the Bay City Rollers in the 1970s.

May Les McKeown rest in peace.


  • Ed Banger says:

    The Rollers were great – Joey Ramone loved them. RIP Les

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