Anniversary of The Bay City Rollers Saturday Night Hit

01/03/2011
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(Gibson) It's kind of funny to think about now, but for a short time in the '70s, the Bay City Rollers were considered to be "the next Beatles." Yes, in the middle of the decade, Rollermania was in full effect, starting in Britain and eventually reaching American shores, thanks to a certain blockbuster single. On this day in 1976, the band's "Saturday Night" hit #1 on the Billboard charts.

But that success was more than a few years in the making. The band that would become the Bay City Rollers was formed in 1966 as the Saxons, with founding members Alan Longmuir (bass), Derek Longmuir (drums) and Gordon "Noddy" Clark (vocals). Unhappy with their moniker, the guys chose a new name by throwing a dart at a map. It happened to land near Bay City, Michigan and thus a bunch of Scottish guys became associated with a Midwestern U.S. locale.

The Rollers scored their first U.K. hit in 1971 with a cover of The Gentrys' "Keep on Dancing," but had trouble landing a follow-up on the charts. An earlier version of "Saturday Night" barely missed the charts in 1973. Fed up with the lack of success, Noddy Clark left the group and was replaced by new frontman Les McKeown. By this time, long-term members Eric Faulkner and Stuart "Woody" Wood had also joined the Longmuir brothers in the group. more on this story

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