Great Britain has only seen two mania’s, Beatlemania and Rollermania.
Forty years ago the Bay City Rollers were the biggest boy band on the planet but by the late 70’s their popularity had waned as did their record sales.
However the love for the Rollers is still at fever pitch and in September last year, Les McKeown, Stuart ‘Woody’ Wood and Alan Longmuir reformed the Rollers and set the scene for a world tour.
Part of that tour saw them take the stage at the White Rock Theatre here in Hastings (sadly without Stuart and Alan, who are being rested I was told for their upcoming Japanese tour), however the band members that replaced them were equally great musicians.
The packed audience mostly made up of middle-aged woman all dressed in Roller attire, tartan scarves, skirts, trousers with tartan braid running down the sides waited in anticipation of the curtain being drawn back and when it did, the sound of the bagpipes blared out of the speakers and five tartan clad ‘men’ raced onto the stage and burst into ‘Remember’ a hit for the Rollers back in the early 70’s. As soon as that song started nearly all the women in the audience rushed towards the front of the stage waving their tartan scarves.
In all my years attending the White Rock Theatre I have never seen so many people in front of that stage.
Song after song flooded the theatre, songs such as the Rollers first single, ‘Keep On Dancing’, followed by ‘Remember’, ‘Shang-a-Lang’. ‘Saturday Night’ ‘All Of Me Loves All Of You’, ‘Summerlove Sensation’, ‘Give A Little Love’ ‘The Bump’ and more. The large crowd were lapping it up and the Rollers finished their set with their timeless classic, ‘Bye Bye Baby’ to a standing and noisy ovation.
Back in the day the Rollers were selling 75,000 records a day, these days you can have a hit on your hand with just 20,000 sales!
The Rollers sold around 120 million records and conquered the U.K. the U.S. Australia and Japan - sadly they got ripped off by their manager Tam Paton for millions but that’s another story!
At the end of the day the Bay City Rollers music lives on and it was great to see the lads (albeit Les McKeown) in Hastings performing a melody of their classic hits. They are on their way to Japan in February where I’m sure they will be hailed as returning heroes. Yes a night to remember. Review by Malcolm Robinson.