Les McKeown, who became a teen idol in the mid-to-late 1970s as the lead singer for the Bay City Rollers, has died at the age of 65.
McKeown died suddenly at home on Tuesday, according to a post on his Twitter account, but the cause of death was not announced.
McKeown joined the Bay City Rollers in 1973 after the band had started making appearances on the British pop charts, and quickly became popular with the group’s fans.
The band name reportedly came after the group threw a dart on a map of the U.S. and it landed on Bay City, Michigan, according to the BBC.
The Rollers really hit it big in 1975 when their song “Saturday Night” hit No. 1 on the U.S. charts. The band followed that smash with top 20 chart hits like “Money Honey,” and “I Only Wanna Be With You.”
McKeown told HuffPost UK in 2015 that the band was “bigger than One Direction,” but he went solo after its last top 10 hit, the disco-fied “You Made Me Believe In Magic,” and recorded the 1979 solo album “All Washed Up.”
In 2015, three former members, McKeown, Wood and former bassist Alan Longmuir, decided to reunite.
McKeown told reporters, “You think we’re doing it for money but we’re doing it for the glory of Scotland and the glory of the tartan. Taking the Scottish name all around the globe. That’s what we’re doing it for — to see our fans again one more time.”
However, money was an issue for the band. Although the Rollers reportedly sold more than 100 million records during their heyday, they walked away with almost no royalties until 2016 when they finally received an out-of-court settlement with Sony Music.
Before his death, McKeown had been preparing to resume a tour in November that was cut short because of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the BBC.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article referred to Alan Longmuir as a drummer. He was the band’s bassist.
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