Bay City Roller star Les was worth £1.5 million

Bay City Rollers frontman Les McKeown left an estate worth more than £1.5 million.

Tuesday, 7th September 2021, 4:55 am

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The singer fronted the Edinburgh band during their most successful period in the 1970s.

They had hits with tracks like I Only Wanna Be With You, Bye Bye Baby, Shang-a-Lang and Give a Little Love.

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Les McKeown - a heart-throb in tartain

His family announced he had died suddenly at his London home in April aged 65.

Official probate records have now revealed McKeown’s estate was valued at £1,514,293.

McKeown’s widow Keiko registered the estate which showed he had not drawn up a will.

How the Evening News reporter the sad news Les had died

Bay City Rollers became tartan-clad sensations in the UK and US in the 1970s. They were hugely successful, selling more than 120 million records.

The group got together in the early 70s and found their name by throwing a dart at a map - it landed on Bay City near Michigan, according to the Official Charts Company.

McKeown said the band's first pair of tartan trousers were inspired by a picture on a birthday card and were made by his father, who was a tailor.

The vocalist, who left school aged 15 and joined a band called Threshold, went on to join the Bay City Rollers aged 18 in 1973.

He left in 1978, as the band decided to go in a more new-wave direction under the new name The Rollers, but he later rejoined for several comeback tours and live recordings.

At the height of their success the Bay City Rollers were the biggest pop sensation Scotland had ever seen.

Speaking after McKeown’s death, Keiko said: "Leslie was a good husband but of course everybody has ups and downs. I went everywhere to the concerts with our son. We had lots of good times and hard times.

"Leslie struggled with his own demons. His dying is a terrible shock but now he is in peace."

After he left the band, McKeown formed the pop group Egotrip, and released a solo album All Washed Up in 1979.

He toured more recently under the name Les McKeown's Bay City Rollers. They had been mid-way through a tour in Toronto as the coronavirus pandemic took hold. The tour had been rebooked for November 2021.

For much of his life he was addicted to drugs and alcohol. He drank three bottles of whisky a day at one point.

The band had previously accused their manager Tam Paton of ripping them off for millions of pounds.

Celebrities shared their shock at McKeown's death and their own memories of the frontman on social media.

Judy Murray posted two pictures of her with him with the caption ‘Bye bye baby’.

Guitarist Andy Scott from fellow seventies band The Sweet posted: "Over the years I got to know Les quite well.

“We both lived in Central London in the 80s and I would see him sunbathing and Roller Skating in Hyde Park close to our Mayfair office. Les my friend only 65, far too young."

Eighties pop singer Kim Wilde wrote: "I remember line dancing in the school assembly hall to Bay City Roller hits, Les was my schoolgirl crush."

Ultravox star Midge Ure said: "Dreadful news. A band thoroughly ripped off by everything bad about the music industry. The biggest band in the world for a time and nothing to show for it."

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