SHANG-A-LANG! In the 70s they topped the charts worldwide and had a mania named after them.
Now, 45 years after scoring their first No 1 hit, the Bay City Rollers are to be properly recognised in their home city for the first time.
Fans from around the globe are expected to jet into the Capital when Lord Provost Donald Wilson unveils a plaque celebrating the band’s achievements at Ryrie’s Bar in Haymarket Terrace on St Andrew’s Day.
Formed in the mid-60s by brothers Alan and Derek Longmuir, it wasn’t until 1971 the Tartan Terrors topped the charts with Keep On Dancin’.
Two years later they were the biggest sensation in the world and Rollermania had arrived.
Alan said: “Over the years I’ve been honoured with the Keys to Nashville, the Keys to Memphis, and the Keys of Bay City, but not the Keys to Edinburgh, so this recognition means a lot.”
The plaque is the brainchild of superfan Graeme Whitehead, 58, from Niddrie and fellow Roller addicts Gillian Watkins and Elaine Stewart.
“The Rollers should be honoured in their home city as The Beatles are in Liverpool,” says Graeme. “It was obvious from the reaction to their Reunion concerts last year that something had to be done – I decided to do it myself.”
A member of Facebook group Rollermania, Graeme floated the idea with other fans. Many offered to pay towards a plaque but one, Margaret Black, asked her husband Jim, who makes plaques for a living, to help and he donated his services for free.
Graeme is hoping the band’s ‘famous five’ line-up – including singer Les McKeown, bassist Alan and guitarists Eric Faulkner and Stuart ‘Woody’ Wood – will attend the ceremony.
He said: “I’m excited that Alan has said he will be there, but we’d love to see Les, Erik and Woody too on what will be a very emotional day for many people. This accolade is long overdue.”
Ryrie’s was chosen as the location as it was Alan’s local and the first place he would visit after touring the world when the band were at their height of their fame.
Greame says, “When we approached the directors of the pub, they were very enthusiastic and have been 100 per cent behind us.”
Alan Longmuir, 68, said he was overwhelmed by the gesture. He said: “It’s all the more heartfelt because fans are behind it and especially poignant as Ryrie’s was my dad’s local.
“When I was starting out, training to be a plumber, he would pop in for a pint every Friday after work.
“He’d be at one end of the bar in his undertaker’s suit, I’d be at the other in my overalls and stinking of putty.”