Rarely does an opportunity come along that just makes me giddy with excitement. So when Suz and Laura from Bay City Rollers Fan Events reached out and asked me to be a guest DJ on their weekly radio show on May 12th, I jumped at the chance.
And then I had to decide on ten songs that bring up amazing memories for me.. After infinite hemming and hawing and checking to see what was allowed to be played on the radio, I settled on my Top 10.
TD1Radio and Bay City Rollers Fan Events
Bay City Rollers Fan Events is the fan-driven, fan-produced organization that puts on amazing events (just like the event I went to in NYC in April.) This is also the same team responsible for Bay City Rollers Archives, for a fun YouTube channel, and for this four-hour radio show I guest DJ’d on. The organization has donated thousands over the years to a variety of philanthropic causes.
Dedication: Fans Remember The Bay City Rollers is broadcast on TD1Radio out of Galashiels, Scotland, every Friday night from 7p-11p Eastern. The station is entirely community supported and all of the DJs are volunteers. They rely entirely on donations and advertising revenue to survive. If you love community radio and are able, please donate.
Listen to the show!
The links for hours 1-3 will eventually expire. If you want to hear me, listen to hour 4!
- Hour 1 on SoundCloud
- Hour 2 on SoundCloud
- Hour 3 on SoundCloud
- LISTEN TO ME AS THE GUEST DJ (SPOTIFY LINK)
I had a huge crush on lead singer Les McKeown, so these selections are heavy on Les songs. Not that I don’t appreciate the others who sang, but man, Les can put it down like no one else.
By the time the Kroft Saturday morning show came around in ’78, I was almost done with the Rollers. I was getting older, and so were they. I watched that Saturday morning show and felt embarrassed – first for me as a fan, and second for the band. They really deserved so much better.
And when Les left the band , I pretty much left, too, though I continued to have pen pals for a few more years. I can’t recall hearing any of the music the band made with Duncan until that other radio station started their BCR show…and then I was blown away by the depth and breadth of the catalog.
And oh – one of the best things about listening to Dedication: Fans Remember The Bay City Rollers is the live listening party every Friday night in the Facebook group.
What To Do In Athens On A Monday Night
I mention the poem “What To Do In Athens On A Monday Night” from my poetry book The Wordstorm: Collected Poetry 1976-2006. Here’s a video of me reading and then talking about the poem. The poetry form is a Ghazal (pronounced guzzle) which is an Arabic/Persian love / heartbreak poem with some rhyming.
LINK TO MY POETRY BOOK https://amzn.to/3T3gS8d (This is an affiliate link. I’m running a sale on both the Kindle and paperback versions right now.)
First, the cheerleaders at my school had a cheer – Let’s Go, L-E-T-S-G-O. I spent an awful lot of time as a kid going to football and basketball games and this super simple cheer stuck in my head.
Fortunately, there’s Let’s Go by the Rollers. It’s all about hugging and kissing in the moonlight. It’s such an upbeat, poppy romp through teenage love.
And so, whenever I am dragging my feet, I chant either one of those to get myself going! Most of the time it’s Let’s Go, and that fantastic guitar riff over and over and over. And, eventually, I do get going.
Here’s Let’s Go from the Rollers show Shang-A-Lang
Life On The Radio
This just gives me all the feels…
Growing up in a small rural town, life often did revolve around radio. If I didn’t have a record playing, I had radio on, or it was quiet and I was reading a book.
Radio was comfort, radio was a sign that there was life out there somewhere that maybe someday I could have a life beyond that tiny town.
I even won contests calling in the football scores…we got home pretty fast after games so I called the station as fast as I could. In fact, that’s how I got my copy of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours.
Not a Rollers song, but rather by Scottish pop-rock band Pilot. What’s the Rollers connection?
The last couple of years have been a real revelation in terms of BCR things for me: I’d lurked in online communities for years. And when that other radio station started playing BCR my ears got a true BCR education. I’d never heard Duncan sing until a couple of years ago.
And back in the 70s I had no idea that members of Pilot were former BCR members. This song is upbeat, happy, and makes me feel hopeful about the future – even the future I’ve found thus far with the BCR community – it’s just like magic to me!
Les McKeown’s version of Saturday Night
One of the things I’ve loved about this show is hearing the different covers and originals. The first time I heard Les’s version of Saturday Night, I think I about fell off my chair. It’s a ska and punk and I just love it! And psssst, I’ve heard there is a live Green Day cover of Saturday Night out there somewhere.
Les introduces the song by saying that it inspired the “Hey, ho, let’s go” chant in The Ramones Blitzkreig Bop. That’s actually true – or, at least that’s what Tommy Ramone says in this interview.
It represents to many things… Scotland, the BCRs, reunion and redemption, and the difficulty in breaking old patterns, the the promise of a new future.
Interesting thing about this song, though, it’s not a romantic song. It’s actually written from the perspective of a Jacobite soldier choosing the low road of death to allow his soul to return to Scotland. The ‘high’ road required the soldier to renounce his loyalty to King Bonnie Prince Charlie and spend the rest of his life in prison in London – far from Scotland.
Unchain My Soul
The next two songs speak volumes for how we grow as we age and I’m excited to hear them back-to-back. Listen carefully and you hear the wisdom of the ages pouring out in both of these. Both bring chills.
There is no video of Unchain My Soul by Eric Faulkner. But much of his music is available for free at faulknermusic.net. Add a “tip” in the jar if you enjoy the song as much as I do.
Listen to Unchain My Soul by Eric Faulkner
This version of Danny Boy is one of the last things Les recorded. It is as haunting as ever.
There’s no video for this song, so here’s the original audio.
Rock N Roller
Here’s a video clip from a Japan tour in the 80s. This is the video that blew me away…such a tight band, having so much fun onstage despite the well-documented personal difficulties.
There’s no video for this song, either, but man, there should be. This is a Les McKeown solo song from The Lost Songs release.
I think we all need reminders that we write our own stories, and that we are the heroes and heroines of our own lives. Sometimes you’re the heroine in someone else’s story. This song remind us all to get up, stand up, today – you’re a champion!
Of course, when you make a list of your favorite songs from a band that has a nearly 50-year career, there are bound to be others that fall just off that list. Here are a few of mine.
There’s Angel Angel – a classic boy meets girl love story with a twist. It’s the working title of my novel in progress.
Strangers In The Wind is another favorite. There are a few live versions out there, but I really like the original recording. Here it is paired with a fan-made video compilation.
Where Will I Be Now is a perfect late 1970s disco’d pop song. There’s no official video, so here’s the song. It was originally on the Strangers In The Wind album.
La Belle Jeane is the perfect picture of a date in Paris. There’s a mandolin (which I’d never heard of as a kid in the 70’s. Who is this Jeane, and why does she get to spend the night with a Roller?
Listen On Spotify
- Here’s a Spotify playlist with these specific songs. This has that amazing ska-rock version of Saturday Night that I love.
- Here’s my BCR Spotify Playlist with hours and hours of BCR music.
- And here’s the BCR Fan Events Spotify Channel that has even more interviews and guest DJ spots.
Last year at this time, I had no idea that I’d end up marching in parade in New York and talking about the Bay City Rollers on the radio in Scotland this year. And it all happened because I said yes to one little event happening in Bay City in August of 2022.
I was so out of my comfort zone. I even talk about that a little in hour four…about how I was worried about being accepted. And then I went and got a big hug, and that feeling of love hasn’t stopped. And my life changed more than I even dreamed it could have.
What kind of little thing can you do to step outside of your comfort zone this summer? In your wildest dreams, what would you like to see happen in your life?