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Feb 08

BAY CITY ROLLERS – “Bye Bye Baby”

FT + Popular61 comments • 4,430 views

#368, 22nd March 1975

One reason for this entry’s delay is that I was in Paris being trained on how to research teenage consumers. The training had a great deal to say about how to talk to teenagers, their attitudes and lifestyles – but nothing at all about the frightening and awesome power of the teen- and tweenager en masse, screaming for pop.

Another reason is that I don’t like the Bay City Rollers much. I am the wrong age for them; maybe the wrong nationality; perhaps the wrong set of chromosomes – but I enjoy almost every other teen idol whereas the Rollers leave me adrift. I can appreciate “Bye Bye Baby” as craft – the cleverness of theme (Rollerboy longing for you but still untouchable), the puppyish hurt and confusion in the lead vocal, the smooth fusion of 70s bounce and early-60s sap. This isn’t a bad record at all but it can’t get its hooks into me – the closest it comes is the urgent “she’s got me but I’m not free” backing blurt, before the song slips back into pat harmonies and Palitoy guitar.

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Comments

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  1. 51
    Waldo on 5 Mar 2008 #

    Behave yourself, Erithian!

  2. 52
    mike on 5 Mar 2008 #

    Re. Johnnie Walker: His “I’m too rock and roll for this sh1t!” stance was somewhat undermined when he went on to say that, come the revolution, he’d still be playing the Bellamy Brothers…

  3. 53
    Marcello Carlin on 5 Mar 2008 #

    He was and is big on his Doobies and Eagles, it has to be said.

  4. 54
    John Pompadeii on 10 Mar 2008 #

    Haha. The Gay Shitty Rollers got their glasgae teeth kicked in by angry south-east londoners that had enough of both their music and also their “ayrdness”.

    What more can you say to that. :)

  5. 55
    Lena on 10 Mar 2008 #

    Wrong city, pal, wrong city.

  6. 56
    intothefireuk on 21 Mar 2008 #

    My that was a somewhat arduous read. Now about these charts……

    Anyway back to the Rollers. I was there at the time and probably in the right age group, however they were almost an exclusively female pleasure. This single came along at just the right time for them. Bolan & Bowie had receeded from the Teen limelight somewhat which left us with the Osmonds but they weren’t ‘ours’ were they ? So the Rollers part glam part Monkees found themselves propelled into the media glare. A fate which they didn’t seem best prepared for. This was all documented rather amusingly a few years ago on a channel 4 doco wherein Les McKeown is brought face to face with their former manager Tam Paton. The enduring memory is when McKeown exasperated by Patons flaky excuses about the lost millions just says ‘Where’s my f**king money, I want my f**king money!’ I must admit although I found them too lightweight for my own tastes they were an interesting distraction and I was quite happy to sit & watch ‘Shang-a-lang’ – a certifiable guilty pleasure.

  7. 57
    gerry on 16 Jun 2009 #

    Les of the Bay city rollers still milking it in Japan. Did you know Saturday night is a huge hit in Japan?
    http://japansugoi.com/wordpress/smap-sing-saturday-night-with-les-mckeown-bay-city-rollers/

  8. 58
    wichita lineman on 17 Jun 2009 #

    Last time I saw Les he was dj’ing at a friend of mine’s 40th in an Islington pub. So I can’t blame him for milking his past.

    I wonder if Tam Paton really did leave his fortune to animal charities as he said he would.

  9. 59
    malmo58 on 14 Jan 2012 #

    I would gladly buy the Rollers a pint each for keeping Bobby Goldsboro’s saccharine and depressing Honey off the #1 spot.

  10. 60
    punctum on 4 Feb 2012 #

    TPL on “Bye Bye Baby”‘s parent album.

  11. 61
    mapman132 on 1 May 2014 #

    Egad, this is even more mediocre than I was expecting. At best a 3/10. Fortunately their US #1 was a bit better.

    Interesting fact: The Bay City Rollers got their name from a dart thrown at a US map that hit near Bay City, Michigan. There’s no evidence the Rollers ever actually visited the town, but coincidentally Bay City was also the birthplace of a then unknown teenager named Madonna Ciccone. Pretty random for such an unremarkable town (I’ve been there) to have two such brushes with pop music history.

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