Bay City Rollers Bassist Alan Longmuir Dead at 70
Bay City Rollers bassist Alan Longmuir died at the age of 70, friend and playwright Liam Rudden confirmed.
Longmuir was part of the Scottish glam band’s classic mid-‘70s lineup and later took part in several reunions up until the mid ‘10s. He reportedly contracted an illness while on vacation in Mexico.
“Having worked closely with Alan for the last seven years I am devastated by the news he has left us,” tweeted Rudden, who wrote the biographical stage play I Ran With the Gang in collaboration with Longmuir. “Alan was one of the most gentle, generous and kindhearted people I have ever known. He touched the lives of everyone he met with a smile that made them feel special, insisting that despite his amazing adventures in life he was still just ‘a plumber from Edinburgh.”
Longmuir co-founded the Rollers in 1966 with younger brother Derek under the name of the Saxons, before choosing a more American sounding moniker. The classic lineup was assembled in 1974, with the Longmuirs joined by Les McKeown, Stuart “Woody” Wood and Eric Faulkner.
The tartan-clad quintet were at the center of the “Rollermania” phenomenon in the U.K. for a short time, and scored a series of hit singles while also starring in their own 20-episode network TV show. By the end of 1975, an attempt to break the U.S. was underway, resulting in the No. 1 hit single “Saturday Night” and album The Bay City Rollers.
A disillusioned Longmuir left the band in 1976 but returned in 1978, as well as several times after that. Frequently in conflict with the group's notorious manager, Tam Paton, the Rollers’ history consisted more of legal battles and claims of stolen funds than it did of musical success.
“At one point, we had 17 girls just to answer our mail in our fan club for us,” Longmuir told the Daily Record in 2015. “In Hollywood, the record company gave us our own house and flash cars in L.A. I had breakfast with Barbra Streisand, and my birthday party had Britt Ekland at it. We were at the Grease premiere with Olivia Newton John and supported the Bee Gees, and we had Elton John’s phone number.”
He said he’d “never really bothered” with the music industry after 2000, saying it had been “too much effort for too little back” and preferring a career in plumbing and later a local authority official, before his wife persuaded him to return to entertainment with I Ran With the Gang. “This new show is a bit of fun and nostalgia,” he said at the time, insisting that he was at peace with his past. “I wouldn’t change a thing.”