Wednesday, January 03, 2007

This Day In Music History: the Bay City Rollers and Saturday Night

On this day in music history, January 3, 1976, the Bay City Rollers had the #1 song in the USA with Saturday Night. They had been making hits overseas for years and were huge in England. The Bay City Rollers were on Bell records. When Clive Davis took over he changed the name to Arista and cut some of the lesser known artist but kept the Bay City Rollers. He tried to get them hits in America by releasing the songs that had been hits in England but none of them made a dent in the charts. Not wanting to give up Clive decided to release one of their album tracks that he thought would be a hit in the US. That song was Saturday Night. He gave the song a big promotional push and the group was booked on many TV shows. The first of which was Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell. After this the group had fans in the US and was constantly in the top 10 with songs like Money Honey and You Make Me Believe In Magic. They also made appearances on American Bandstand and the Midnight Special. Perhaps Mr. Davis should have made sure that their previous releases were promoted better. Until Saturday Night I had never heard of the Bay City Rollers. They were so big in England earlier and had become so big in America that by the end of 1976 critics said they could be the new Beatles. That turned out to be premature. When the Beatles broke up in 1970 everyone waited with baited breath to see when the next super group would arrive. While many music stars have risen to the top none of them have captured the listening public’s attention like the Beatles. The Bay City Rollers were no exception. By the end of 1977 it was all over. The mop top, plaid clad young men’s fifteen minutes of fame was over.
The Rollers had been playing for years in there hometown of Edinburgh Scotland. An executive for Bell records had missed his flight to London, England and went to nightclub to pass the time. The Rollers were playing there and he signed them to a deal immediately. While the group is from Edinburgh Scotland, they were named after a town in Michigan. How did that happen? When it came time to name the group they just stuck a pin into a map and it stuck in Bay City Michigan. They thought the name Bay City Rollers had a good sound to it so that is what they named the group. I think they were right. After all I’m not sure I would want to hear a group called the Edinburgh Rollers.
If you want a copy of the photo above you can click on the title and it will take you to the auctions site for the photo.

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