Alan Longmuir, founding bass player with the Bay City Rollers, the Scottish ‘70s pop phenomenon, has died following a brief illness. He was 70.
Often referred to as the “tartan teen sensations from Edinburgh” Bay City Rollers are believed to have sold more than 100 million albums in a career which exploded on both sides of the Atlantic. They have also been been described as the One Direction of their era.
Alan Longmuir was born on 20 June 1948 at the Simpson Memorial Maternity Pavilion Hospital in Edinburgh. The son of a Co-op undertaker, he was brought up in the family’s flat on Caledonian Road where he was surrounded by music from a young age.
It came as “no surprise” when he became a musician, Longmuir would explain in interviews, as his aunt was a “great pianist” and his father played the accordion – “there was always music around as I grew up”.
He discovered rock and roll aged 10 when he saw Elvis Presley star in Jailhouse Rock, and would go onto found the band that would become the Bay City Rollers aged 17, in 1965, together with his brother Derek, cousin Neil Porteous, Nobby Clarke and Dave Pettigrew.
The line-up underwent multiple changes through the years, with Longmuir leaving the band in 1976 and returning two years later, after which time he alternated between bass duties, rhythm guitar and keyboards.
During their heyday, the Rollers scored three top 10s in the U.S., including a No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 with ‘Saturday Night,’ in 1976. And in the UK, the Rollers scored No. 1s with ‘Bye Bye Baby’ and ‘Give a Little Love’ (both from 1975) and saw ten songs hit the Top 10. The band split in 1981.
Longmuir reportedly died at the Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert, Scotland on Monday morning, 2 July, surrounded by family and friends. He was flown home three weeks ago after falling ill on holiday in Mexico.
Bay City Rollers confirmed Longmuir’s passing with a post on social media. “Our sincere condolences to all his family, friends and fans,” the message reads. Longmuir’s friend and biographer Liam Rudden described him as “one of the most gentle, generous and kind-hearted people I’ve ever known”.
Alan Longmuir was part of a reunion in late 2015 with Les McKeown and Stuart Wood, which was promoted as “a very special Christmas present to all the fans that have kept the faith with the band over the years.”