Why Were the Bay City Rollers Named After a Michigan Town?
Edinburgh is 3,483 miles from Boy City, Michigan. How did this Scottish pop band end up with the city's name for a moniker? Actually, it was their second choice.
Gonna rock it up
Roll it up
Do it all, have a ball
The Bay City Rollers took "Saturday Night" to the top of the charts in America in 1976. No overnight sensation, the first incarnation was formed in 1964 when Alan Longmuir, his younger brother Derek and cousin Neil Porteous followed their dream and formed a band called the Ambassadors. You've never heard of them? The Ambassadors only gig was a family wedding before they morphed into the Saxons, then were known as the Deadbeats until they found out there was another band with that name. Reverting to the Saxons for a time, the band finally decided they wanted a better name and started calling themselves "Rollers." It still wasn't quite right and needed an American sounding name to go with it.
Here's where fate, chance, circumstance and one dart put Bay City, Michigan on the rock and roll map. The legend says that drummer and founding member Derek Longmuir threw a dart at the map of the United States to choose the name. Nobody liked Arkansas. Derek aimed a little higher and the second missile landed in the mitten, near Bay City, Michigan.
It would yet be a few years before these lads from Scotland soared to international success with "Saturday Night," "I Only Wanna Be With You," "Rock and Roll Love Letter," and others. Not only was the band a hit on the charts, they sold countless magazines and posters to teenage girls. They were marketed as a boy band much like the Beatles in the early "Mop Top" days and, like the Monkees, could not play their own instruments well, if at all when they started. Still, the Bay City Rollers hold a special place in the 1970s era of music and in Michigan music history.
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