Bay City Rollers Singer Les McKeown Dies 'Suddenly at Home' at 65: 'Rest in Peace'

Maria Pasquini
·3 min read

Brian Rasic/WireImage Les McKeown

Bay City Rollers singer Les McKeown has died. He was 65.

News of the singer's death was announced on his official social media accounts on Thursday morning.

"It is with profound sadness that we announce the death of our beloved husband and father Leslie Richard McKeown," read the family statement. "Leslie died suddenly at home on Tuesday 20 April 2021."

"We are currently making arrangements for his funeral and ask for privacy after the shock of our profound loss. Thank you," read the note, written on behalf of his wife and son. A cause of death was not given.

The band also released an official statement, writing, "We are saddened by the news of Leslie McKeown's death."

"Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Peko and his son Jubei, their family and friends. Rest In Peace, Leslie," they added.

McKeown was the lead singer of the Scottish pop group, known for hits "Money Honey," "You Make Me Believe in Magic" as well as a cover of the Four Seasons' "Bye Bye Baby," at the height of the group's popularity in the 1970s.

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His former manager, John MacLaughlan, told the Daily Record that he learned the news from McKeown's wife.

"She is heartbroken and called me from Les' phone with the news. I picked up and thought it was Les wanting a chat," he said. "I'm still in shock right now, I spoke to him last week and he was on great form and happy about life and happy to book his tour."

"He was hoping to get it all going again and he was one of the hardest working men in the music industry. We got on so great and he was great fun to be around," he added.

According to McKeown's website, the Bay City Rollers were scheduled to play a string of tour dates this year, starting in July.

Photoshot/Getty Les McKeown

Michael Putland/Getty Bay City Rollers

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Bay City Rollers guitarist Stuart 'Woody' Wood also shared his own tribute to his late bandmate.

"I am upset and shocked to hear this very sad news," he told the Daily Record. "Les and I had our differences over the years but even though we had disagreements we are sending our heartfelt condolences to Peko [his] wife and his son Jubie and all the Bay City Rollers Fans. It's a sad day in Bay City Roller history."

"He was a great performer on stage and he was full of energy," he added of the singer, who took over from original member Nobby Clark in 1973.

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Bay City Rollers musician and co-founder Alan Longmuir died in 2018 at the age of 70. Ian Mitchell, who joined the group after his departure, died in 2020.

Longmuir formed the Bay City Rollers with his younger brother Derek in 1966, and the band — who paid homage to their Scottish roots by frequently wearing tartan ensembles — went on to record a string of hits.

Over the years, the band has continued to play together in a number of reunion concerts.