1 - Teen crushes seemed to have become a female right of passage by the early 20th century. With my coming-of-age enfolding in the late 1970's, my new awareness of myself as a hormonal being with nowhere to channel that energy found its outlet in a larger-than-life singer from Edinburgh, Scotland - Leslie McKeown.
2 - My entire world revolved around the next issues of 16 Magazine and Tiger Beat. Every month when the new magazines were due to arrive at the pharmacy, I obsessively dropped in over and over until my heart swelled at the sight of the fresh stack of glossy covers piled on the shelf.
3 - There I could read all about Les' group, the Bay City Rollers.
All of the band hailed from Edinburgh -
L to R: Bassist Alan Longmuir, rhythm guitarist and co-songwriter Woody (Stuart Wood), drummer Derek Longmuir, lead singer Leslie McKeown, and lead guitarist and co-songwriter Eric Faulkner.
4 - Key point of attraction from the get-go:
His Scottish homeland. Ooo, yeah - the accent I can't get enough of, and the highly irreverent attitude common to his countrymen. Perfect sort of guy for me.
5 - This is an album cover I spent hours mooning over. Among the draws for me, seriously, was the lovely red tartan border. It was a photograph of real tartan, and I used to stare at the weave of the fabric as if it were a cherished old friend.
I became enamoured of their Converse hightop sneakers and ended up getting a black pair myself. I also had a few plaid scarves, and I made my own Roller gear, as it was called, by sewing plaid patches over a white shirt which I then proudly wore in public.
6 - I won't even hazard a guess as to how many hours I spent gazing at this picture of him on the back of one of the earlier albums.
I was always partial to this white jacket with the blue trim.
7 - His voice was a big draw for me - there's a specific quality to male Scottish singing voices that really gets to me. It's as if there's a built-in tone of longing in there somewhere.
In the clip below, he gives the teeny boppers something to ponder in Give it to Me Now, which appeared on an early UK album.
8 - Les released a memoir about his time in the whirlwind of Rollermania - Shang-a-lang: Life as an International Pop Idol.
Not surprisingly, it's full of the heightened energy of being a handsome young thing who in no way fought off the attentions of his willing young fans. It also doesn't shy away from his bitter rivalry with lead guitarist Eric Faulkner, or his constant rebellion against manager Tam Paton.
9 - Some recent comments by 40-something fans on You Tube:
OMG Les does not stop driving me crazy........GOOSEBUMPS!!
Les, is well, my Les...sigh...woo hoo...dayum!!
Those bedroom eyes kill me.....go Leslie!!!
Les holds me in the palm of his hand and he has me wrapped around his lil finger
Could watch Les all day
YUMMY HONEY!!! Rock on Les!!!!
Les was one hot piece of........
Les gets better and better, goosebumps ladies, goosebumps on goosebumps here
I can't believe I'm still infatuated with Les all these years later
Paralized & hypnotized by Les' eyes!
I want to slow dance with Leslie. Love the way he moves his body to the music.
OMG I think my heart just stopped.
10 - Leslie's Nov. 12th birthday instantly bonded me to my birthday buddy (mine being the day before.) Thus began my lifelong trend of finding myself attracted to Scorpio males, including uber hottie Gerard Butler (Nov. 13th) and ultimately ending up with my Scorpio husband, Brad.
11 - In the mysterious ways of the heart, my teenage crush on Leslie was a blueprint for my lifelong attraction to the tortured hero.
While I (and millions of others) dreamed of what it would be like if he gave me my first kiss, Leslie was living under the psychological manipulation and physical coercion of their manager, Tam Paton.
"Les McKeown claimed in April of last year that Paton raped him and threatened to kill him if he spoke out about it. He described Paton as a tyrant.
He said: 'I almost feel guilty for being so happy but I can't imagine a man nor beast who will be mourning the passing of Tam Paton.
'I hate him. I'm glad he's dead. I was just a young boy. I was only 18, 19 when he raped me.' " - Catherine Salmond, scotsman.com
To deal with the emotional fall-out of the rape, Leslie developed drug and alcohol problems which he addressed at a rehab clinic. While in treatment, he was finally able to face up to what had happened, which includes the wholesale theft of the band's millions in earnings. A 30-year legal battle against Paton and Arista Records have yet to see any money return to the five musicians who made the music and performed around the world.
Leslie was not the only Roller to be sexually assaulted by Paton. During his reign of terror, two suicides were attempted by other band members.
12 - Leslie today with his family:
Wife Peko, Les and their son Jubei
"My doctor said I wouldn't live to see Christmas [several years ago.] I didn't care. I walked out of her surgery and I went straight to the nearest pub for a drink.
"When I went home, I sat down with my wife and son and saw a little opening for the human being to come out in me again."
Les was thrown a lifeline from a most unlikely source. He was invited to appear on Rehab, a Living TV reality show where a group of celebrities received treatment at a clinic in California.
"I still don't know how I had the strength to reach out and grasp that last opportunity to get fixed.
"I thought, 'the show's producers want some clown for a bit of car crash TV'. In between moments of total clarity and being absolutely pissed I agreed to take part.
"I said to myself, 'I don't care what they film - if this place can fix me that's what I should focus on'. It was live or die." - Billy Sloan, Sunday Mail
To say I admire Leslie McKeown today is putting it mildly.
It's very, very difficult to name one's sexual attacker when the predator used threats of physical harm - yet, eventually Leslie did so. Go, Les!
In an era of revolving-door rehab stays before troubled celebrities manage to settle in for any real help, Leslie took one stay and put himself through the wringer so that it would remain one stay. He took the offer of getting his seriously-derailed life back on track, and treated it with the respect it deserved.
Bye Bye Malibu
Les McKeown | MySpace Video
13 - Thanks for taking this stroll down memory lane with me. You know, the more things change, the more they stay the same:
Apparently I can't resist lead singers who like to wear striped pants.
Les McKeown 1970's - Eugene Hutz, Present day
Join me tomorrow for 5 on Friday, where I'll be featuring five rockin' tunes by the Fab Lads in Plaid.
Travis Cody says I remember these guys. Most of the girls I knew had crushes on one or several. At any school dance, we could count on hearing the song Dedication at least twice.
Joanna D'Angelo says OMG! I loved the Bay City Rollers! I remember being at a party at my cousin's house and Saturday Night came on - the first time I heard it (I was a wee lass) and we just danced and danced!
Julianne MacLean says Hey cuz - great post about Les. Oh, how I remember every detail of those album covers, and I knew every word of Give it to Me Now, which is something else, considerining it's been about 30 years since we listened to it!