After a couple of false starts and a few lineup changes, the Bay City Rollers hit the big time in 1974 with their UK top ten single, Remember. Within a year, they were one of the biggest acts in the UK; within two, they were one of the biggest acts in the world. Their time at the top didn’t last long, but for a while, “the tartan teen sensations from Edinburgh” were the hottest thing on the planet. Here, we take a look back at some of their biggest and best hits with our pick of the 10 best Bay City Roller songs of all time.
10. Summerlove Sensation
Up first on our list of the 10 best Bay City Roller songs of all time is Summerlove Sensation. By the mid-70s, the “classic five” line-up of Stuart Wood, Les McKeown, Eric Faulkner, Alan Longmuir, and Derek Longmuir was in place and the band was on the verge of becoming a huge global phenomenon. Summerlove Sensation was one of the songs that helped get them there. Released as a single from the 1974 album Rollin’, the song took them to number 3 in the UK Singles Chart and number 5 in Ireland.
9. You Made Me Believe In Magic
By 1977, the group’s popularity was beginning to wane. It’s a Game, their fifth studio album, still managed to reach number 18 in the UK and number 23 in the US, but the band’s days of being able to count on a hit single were numbered. They still had a few tricks up their sleeve, though, including the disco-inspired confection, You Made Me Believe in Magic. Issued as the lead single from It’s a Game, it reached number 10 on the US Billboard Hot 100 to become the group’s third US top 10 hit.
8. Money Honey
Named one of the best Bay City Rollers songs of all time by goldradiouk.com, Money Honey gave the group another big international pop hit in 1975, soaring to number 9 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 7 on the Cash Box Chart, and number one in Canada. In their native UK, the song took them to number three in the charts, becoming their ninth top ten hit.
7. Saturday Night
British fans first got to hear Saturday Night in 1973 when it was released as a UK only single. It failed to make the charts that time around, but two years later, it was re-issued in the US in an effort to break the group in North America. By that time, Nobby Clark, who’d sung the lead on the original version, was out and Les McKeown was in. The re-release went down a storm, soaring to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and firmly establishing the band as one of the biggest teeny-bop sensations of the decade. It also fared well in Canada, topping the charts in January 1976.
6. Rock and Roll Love Letter
Ranked one of the best Bay City Roller songs of all time by needsomefun.net, Rock and Roll Love Letter was originally recorded by Tim Moore for his second album, Being the Eyes. Released as a single in 1975, it did nothing in the charts, but was recused from obscurity the following year when the Bay City Rollers took their cover to number 6 in Canada and number 28 in the United States
5. Keep on Dancing
Keep On Dancing was written by Allen A. Jones, Andrew Love and Richard Shann and originally recorded by The Avantis. In 1965, the Gentrys scored one of the biggest hits of their career with their version, which reached number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and eventually sold over a million copies. In 1971, the Bay City Rollers revisited it, reaching number 9 on the UK charts on its release as the group’s debut single.
Shang-A-Lang, the Bay City Rollers’ fifth single, consolidated their growing popularity, spending ten weeks in the UK charts, where it peaked at number 2, and eventually certifying silver. The group would later use the title of the song for their TV series, which ran for twenty-one episodes from April 1975.
3. I Only Want to Be With You
I Only Want to Be With You was first a hit for Dusty Springfield, who took it to number 4 in the UK and number 12 in the US in 1964. It’s been covered numerous times since, with everyone from The Tourists to Sam Fox doing their best to replicate Dusty’s success. In 1976, the Bay City Rollers covered it for their album Dedication. Released as a single in August that year, it had the exact same success in the charts as the original, peaking at number 12 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 4 on the UK Singles Chart, becoming the group’s tenth and final Top Ten hit in their home country.
2. Give a Little Love
Released at the height of the group’s popularity in the UK in 1975, Give a Little Love became one of the Bay City Rollers’ biggest ever hits, taking them to the number 1 spot on the UK Singles Chart for the second (and as it turned out, final time). It wasn’t released as a single in the US (the band hadn’t yet made their breakthrough in the North American market), but even so, it’s still remembered as one of their biggest and best hits of the decade.
1. Bye, Bye, Baby
When the Four Seasons recorded Bye, Bye, Baby for the first time in 1965, it was a critical and commercial sensation. Described by Cash Box as “a heartfelt rhythmic stomp’er,” it took the group to number 1 in Canada and number 12 on the US Billboard Hot 100. A decade later, the Bay City Rollers hit the number one spot in the UK with their version, which ended up selling over a million copies to become one of their most successful and enduringly popular hits of all time.