Bay City Rollers frontman Les McKeown has died at age 65.
“It is with profound sadness that we announce the death of our beloved husband and father Leslie Richard McKeown,” reads a message uploaded to the singer’s Twitter account this morning on behalf of his wife, Keiko, and son, Jubei. “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.”
McKeown’s family did not disclose his cause of death.
McKeown was born on Nov. 12, 1955, in Edinburgh, Scotland. He joined the Bay City Rollers in late 1973 while he was still a teenager and fronted them throughout their most successful period. With McKeown at the helm, the Scottish pop-rockers became teen idol sensations and scored several Top 10 albums in the United Kingdom, including the chart-topping Rollin’ and Once Upon a Star. They also topped the U.K. singles chart with “Bye, Bye, Baby” and “Give a Little Love,” while “Saturday Night” raced to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
After leaving the Bay City Rollers in 1978, McKeown released a handful of solo albums throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s. He reunited with his old group in 2015 for a series of reunion shows. McKeown continued to tour as part of Les McKeown’s Bay City Rollers up through 2020.
“There is nothing like getting on stage, performing and seeing all those smiling faces in the audience,” McKeown told the Belfast Telegraph in 2015. “I’ve never had a proper job ever because I was in a band when I was 15 then I joined the Rollers. My first performances weren’t that good but you learn — now I know it was what I was born to do.”
In Memoriam: 2021 Deaths