Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Rollermania Rises

Well, the big news is that I’ve found myself a new craze and I’ve been enjoying it for nearly a month already. Bay City Rollers were the hottest Scottish teen idol boy-band of the 70s, and given my fondness towards bubblegum pop and well.. boy-bands.. it wasn’t such a big surprise I fell in love with this music.

These guys drove teenage girls wild 30 years ago, and I would be lying if I told they don’t look sweet when you look at their pictures. They were on the covers of every teen magazine, girls picked their favourite member.. That’s approximately what it was like when Backstreet Boys were on top of their fame and I was 12 and totally fond of them. However, their music doesn’t sound equally good compared to the Rollers’ music. Generally speaking, something about the late 90s boy-band/girl-band/bubblegum music was wrong. For me the most obvious thing is that it was too perfect soundwise - way too artificial. 70s bubblegum sounds much more pleasant even today.

Bay City Rollers came up with some excellent bubblegum pop. At first, they didn’t write songs and performed quite a few covers, but later they started writing their very own material, too. They scored a couple of #1 hits in the UK, Bye Bye Baby and Give a Little Love, and also succeeded well albumwise. The music pays a lot of respect to 60s bubblegum music, yet I sense some difference in the general sound compared to The Archies, 1910 Fruitgum Co. and others. The Rollers have a slightly more polished sound, and there are more violins than organ hooks in the music.

I’ve found The Very Best of Bay City Rollers a very entertaining collection of the group’s most popular songs. Among my biggest favourites are Saturday Night, It’s a Game, Shang-a-Lang, Remember (Sha-la-la), as well as Give a Little Love (that definitely deserves to be mentioned twice in this article!). I Only Want to Be With You is a really cool cover that always makes me wonder: “Geez, how can McKeown sound so brilliant?” Another song truly worth checking out is Love Me Like I Love You, a great representation of the group’s own songwriting, and it’s a wonderful song.

When it comes to the lead singer of Bay City Rollers, I’ve once again proved my true nature. It’s becoming more and more clear. The thing is, if you want to create music that will stay on the playlists of yours truly for the rest of her life, start a band and, as your first assignment, find a singer who sounds exactly (or at least very much) like Les McKeown. On the other hand, I really didn’t expect to find such a brilliant British (or rather Scottish) version of my #1 favourite singer this soon. What can I say, anyway? It’s another dream come true..

Bay City Rollers music at YouTube

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