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Leslie Richard McKeown (born 12 November 1955) is a pop singer. He was the lead singer for the 1970s pop sensation the Bay City Rollers during their most successful period.



McKeown was born on 12 November 1955 in Simpson Memorial Maternity Pavilion Hospital, Edinburgh, Scotland.

He joined the Bay City Rollers in late 1973, replacing original lead singer Nobby Clark. The group's intense popularity, nicknamed "Rollermania", took off shortly after that. He was with the band until 1978, at which time he left to pursue a career as a solo artist. He released a series of solo albums which saw modest success, primarily in Germany and Japan.

One of McKeown's most unusual musical collaborations after leaving the Bay City Rollers was singing on Filigree & Shadow, the second album by gothic/dream pop band This Mortal Coil.[1]

In 1988-1989 Les McKeown worked with Dieter Bohlen. The result of their partnership was an album - It's A Game.

In 1990 he participated in the UK heats of the Eurovision Song Contest with the song "Ball and Chain", which placed fifth.

He was ordered by Harlow magistrates on 23 August 2005 to appear at Chelmsford Crown Court on drugs charges, following his bail release.[2] On 31 January 2006, McKeown admitted being a drug user but denied being a dealer.[3] On 3 February 2006, he was acquitted of cocaine dealing. He suggested that he would sue the Metropolitan Police for earnings he lost from an overseas tour that was cancelled as a result of the proceedings.[4]

Today McKeown resides in England with his Japanese wife, Peko, and their son, Richard. He still tours with his current band, "Les McKeown's Legendary Bay City Rollers" (he is the only former Roller in the band). The group appeared in the Countdown Spectacular two-concert series in Australia between late August and early September 2007.

McKeown developed a serious alcohol problem from about 2002, which resulted in him drinking a bottle of whisky per day. He underwent treatment in the passages clinic in LA, which was documented in the Rehab reality TV programme that was broadcast on the Living channel in the UK. In an interview with Scotland on Sunday in 2009, he talked about his relationship with Tam Paton and his own bisexuality.[5]


  • Shang-a-lang: Life as an International Pop Idol Les McKeown, Lynne Elliott, Irvine Welsh, 2003 ISBN 1-84018-651-8.


  1. ^ 4AD
  2. ^
  3. ^ BBC
  4. ^,,1702097,00.html Guardian
  5. ^ "Former Bay City Rollers front man, Les McKeown, is ready finally to leave the past behind", Catherine Deveney, Scotland on Sunday, 15 February 2009


Stambler, Irwin, Encyclopedia of Pop, Rock & Soul. 1974. St. Martin's Press, Inc., New York, N.Y. ISBN 0-312-02573-4

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