BAY CITY ROLLERS
BAY CITY ROLLERS “Is it hype? Is it hope?” asked the ever-objective Howard Cosell, “Or is it a bicentennial gift from the old country?” These were the questions posed to America on the historic night of Saturday, September 20, 1975. The occasion was the premier of ABC-TV’s SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE WITH HOWARD COSELL. The subject was the Bay City Rollers. Performing live via satellite from London, America was witness to the unforgettable spectacle of complete shrieking, fainting, Roller-induced hysteria. Hype or hope, it was a most effective introduction. Within a week, the Rollers were in America. Arriving at New York City’s Kennedy Airport, their plane was met by national press, television cameras and hundreds of screaming, plaid-clad American teens. The Rollers performed their new single SATURDAY NIGHT live on Cosell’s second episode. By the next week, it was the #1 record in the nation. Over the next 18 months, the Rollers would chart five more tunes in the American Top 40 (MONEY HONEY, I ONLY WANT TO BE WITH YOU, THE WAY I FEEL TONIGHT, YOU MADE ME BELIEVE IN MAGIC and ROCK ‘N ROLL LOVE LETTER). The Rollers saga began in 1967 in Edinburgh, Scotland. As The Saxons, the quintet limped along in relative obscurity for three years before deciding to change their name and image. As pop history tells it, the lads stuck a pin in a United States map and hit Bay City, Michigan. With the addition of ‘Rollers’ (the British term for “soft rockers”) and a new wardrobe, the Bay City Rollers were born. A succession of Top 10 UK hits quickly followed. While accusations of hype rage, the physical evidence was irrefutable: concert riots, hotels under siege, mass teen faintings, etc. Additionally, this teenybopper havoc had a look all its own - tartan. Like their idols, tartan-trimmed trousers and suspenders and plaid scarves and shirts became required wardrobe for devoted Rollers fans. “What could girls do to identify with the Osmonds?” admitted one British teen magazine, “Dress up like Mormons?” By 1974, the phenomena known as “Rollermania” had conquered Britain and most of Europe. America’s case of Rollermania lasted until 1977, over the course of five RIAA Gold albums (BAY CITY ROLLERS, ROCK ‘N ROLL LOVE LETTER, DEDICATION, IT’S A GAME and GREATEST HITS). Now, some decades later, it’s possible to look beyond the hype and hysteria and hear the Rollers’ true legacy. The Bay City Rollers created some of the most enjoyable and enduring pop music of the 1970s.
BAY CITY ROLLERS FACT SHEET Earned five Recording Industry Association of America (R.I.A.A.) Gold LP awards: ~ Bay City Rollers ~ Rock ‘n Roll Love Letter ~ Dedication ~ It’s A Game ~ Greatest Hits Earned one Recording Industry Association of America (R.I.A.A.) Gold single award: ~ Saturday Night Charted six singles in Billboard Magazine’s U.S. Top 40 from 1975 to 1978: ~ Saturday Night ~ Money, Honey ~ You Made Me Believe In Magic ~ The Way I Feel Tonight ~ Rock ‘n Roll Love Letter ~ I Only Want To Be With You Charted 20 singles worldwide. Charted eight albums worldwide. Earned two Platinum LP awards, one Gold LP award, and one Silver LP award from the British Phonographic Industry. Earned two Platinum LP awards from the Canadian Recording Industry Association. Appeared on the cover of 16 Magazine more often than any other celebrity, including the Beatles. Saluted with Bullseye Records’ 2005 18 track cd “Men In Plaid: A Tribute To The Bay City Rollers.” Received a Juno (Canada) award nomination for Best Selling International Single of 1977. Page 1 of 3 Page 2 of 3 Inspired Tommy Ramone to write “Blitzkreig Bop”. “Saturday Night,” “You Made Me Believe In Magic,” I Only Want To Be With You” and “The Way I Feel Tonight” are featured in the ABC-TV series October Road. “Saturday Night” is featured in: Columbia Pictures’ motion picture Did You Hear About The Morgans starring Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker; CBS-TV series Swingtown; Fox-TV series The Simpsons episode Love Springfieldian Style; Walt Disney Pictures’ Heavyweights starring Ben Stiller; Tri-Star Pictures’ So I Married An Ax Murderer starring Mike Myers; Planter’s Peanuts 100 Anniversary ad campaign. th “Money Honey” is featured in Touchstone Pictures’ The Ladykillers starring Tom Hanks and Marlon Wayans. “Bye Bye Baby” is featured in Love Actually starring Hugh Grant and Emma Thompson. “Shang-A-Lang” is featured in the Sex Pistols documentary The Filth And The Fury. “Give A Little Love” is sampled in “Thick Of It” by Mary J. Blige. “Bye Bye Baby” is sampled in “Total Carnage” by Sweet Valley. “Dedication” is sampled in “His Master’s Voice” by Christian Marclay. “Rock ‘n Roll Love Letter” and “Money Honey” are sampled in “Montage of Heck” by Kurt Cobain. U.S. television appearances: ~ Behind The Music, VH-1 ~ The Bay City Rollers Show, NBC ~ The Midnight Special, NBC (3x) ~ The Chuck Barris Variety Hour, NBC ~ The Merv Griffin Show, syndicated Page 3 of 3 ~ Dinah, syndicated ~ American Bandstand, ABC ~ Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert, syndicated ~ The Mike Douglas Show, syndicated (5x) ~ Tony Orlando and Dawn Rainbow Hour, CBS ~ Cos starring Bill Cosby, ABC ~ Ann Margaret Smith Special, NBC ~ Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell, ABC (3x) “We noticed that if we played the first few chords of a Bay City Rollers’ song, all the girls would scream - and we liked that.” Bono “The Rollers are a terrific power pop group.” Goldmine Magazine “From 1974 to 1976, the Bay City Rollers had no equals in international music. Howard Elson “I guess more has been written about you guys than anybody except the Beatles.” Dick Clark “The Rollers created their own following and “Rollermania” for millions of teenage girls throughout the world.” Rock On Volume 2 “They are more than a group, they are an entire cult. Although they are Scotland’s own, their success is unconfined. The Rollers have achieved impregnable heights.” The New Musical Express Encyclopedia of Rock “Great power pop.” Trouser Press “No one had seen anything like Rollermania since the Beatles went weird. Any no one has seen anything like it since.” Jeremy Austin “Glasgow is like five million people, and it was completely in a state of gridlock because of the Bay City Rollers. It’s the first and only time I’ve seen a rock band shut down an entire city.” Danny Fields