Les McKeown death: Bay City Rollers star dies at 65

Adam White
·2-min read
Bay City Rollers star Les McKeown in 2019 (Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock)
Bay City Rollers star Les McKeown in 2019 (Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock)

Bay City Rollers frontman Les McKeown has died at the age of 65.

The singer’s family announced McKeown’s death on the official Bay City Rollers Facebook page.

“It is with profound sadness that we announce the death of our beloved husband and father Leslie Richard McKeown,” the statement read.

It added that McKeown died on Tuesday (20 April), with funeral arrangements currently being planned.

A cause of death has yet to be declared.

“We thank you and ask for privacy after the shock of our profound loss,” the statement concluded, before being signed by his wife Keiko and son Jubei.

McKeown shot to fame in 1973 when he was recruited as the singer for the Bay City Rollers, which had already experienced turnover among its band members. Edinburgh-born McKeown was the face of the group during their most successful period, singing lead vocals on hit tracks including “Remember (Sha-La-La-La)” and “Shang-a-Lang”.

Strife within the band, as well as differences of opinion on their sound, led McKeown to quit the group in 1978.

He would go on to launch a lucrative solo career, beginning with the 1979 album All Washed Up.

ANL/Shutterstock
ANL/Shutterstock

The group reunited in 2015 for a series of concerts, while McKeown last released an album, The Lost Songs, in 2016. It was comprised of previously unheard tracks he recorded on cassettes while touring with the band in the Seventies.

In 2019, McKeown told Scotland’s Daily Record that he still got a kick out of performing live.

“Funny thing about touring all the time – it’s not a chore,” he said. “It’s a pleasure to sing those songs. I feel very loved when I’m singing them. Singing in front of hundreds of people has been a dream since I was five years old. So I’m living the dream.”

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