Alan Longmuir: The Bay City Rollers get their first Top 10 hit

EVENTUALLY, after a six-year apprenticeship Tam got us a record deal with Bell Records. We were overjoyed. The pop star and aspiring music mogul Jonathan King was to produce us.

Friday, 23rd November 2018, 11:52 am
Updated Friday, 23rd November 2018, 11:54 am
Alan Longmuir in 1975
Alan Longmuir in 1975

When he turned up at the Bell Records office in London we all stood up as if a school teacher had entered the room.

I recall he asked us to say our names and what instruments we played. As we did he said, “Very good” and nodded for the next one to speak.

He was tall and gangly and carried himself slightly awkwardly. But, with his lop-sided grin, he put us at ease and invited us back to his mews house home to listen to some records.

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As we left Bell’s offices that first day, we were told we could help ourselves to any albums that were laying around.

We were like kids in a candy shop. I noticed the office girls look at us like: ‘Aah, aren’t they cute’ and the men: ‘Are they really old enough for this game?’

Jonathan King was a show-off, self-publicist and that became apparent within the first hour of meeting him.

We were practically falling over the names he dropped onto the shag pile carpet.

Back in Scotland, at the tatty shed, Tam had been getting phone calls from Jonathan King.

He assured us things were moving. Insiders told him that the record was selling.

He had contacts in record shops. People were coming in and asking for it.

The excitement was immense. Then one evening the phone rang he asked if we were near a radio.

He told us to get close to a set and put on the Radio Luxembourg Chart Show.

We ran out of the shed and piled into the back of Tam’s potato lorry and switched on the radio.

Soon we heard the words “…and a new entrant at number 20 is Keep on Dancing from the Bay City Rollers”.

We went mad jumping up and down and punching the air.

God knows what any passers-by may have thought when they saw this driverless, stationary lorry bouncing and shaking one dark September 1971 evening in deep Prestonpans.