The Bay City Rollers – The Definitive Collection (2000): On Second Thought

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Go ahead and snicker, but these Scottish fellows had a lot more on the ball than given credit for.
True, there was nothing cutting edge about the Bay City Rollers, nor did their gimmicky image involving tartan attire in honor of their heritage, spell hipness. But at the end of the day, it’s the songs that are important. And the Bay City Rollers could not be faulted for picking tunes that worked both for them and their audience, which mainly consisted of young females.

Although the Bay City Rollers experienced a brief, yet intense, bit of fanfare in America, they garnered their greatest success in the United Kingdom, where they racked up a dozen hit singles from 1971 to 1977. Not only does The Definitive Collection (Arista Records) feature the chart-toppers, but a sprinkling of lesser-known tracks as well.

Plugging in as a shining example of platinum-padded power pop is “Turn on the Radio,” not to neglect “Summer Love Sensation,” which is slathered in ringing sleigh bells, bright harmonies and glittery melodies by the gram, and sounds like a holy collaboration between the Beach Boys and Raspberries. As bubbly as a glass of champagne and producing a giddy to feel to match the affects of the drink is “Rock and Roll Love Letter,” and of course, there’s “Saturday Night,” with the Bay City Rollers’ classic “S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y N-I-G-H-T” soccer cheer styled chorus and promise of a good time.

Depicting the saga of a faded rock star, “Yesterday’s Hero” is fueled by a brash and bracing tenor worthy of the Who or the Sweet, “Money Honey” grinds and boogies with conviction, and the loud and pounding glam-glazed rhythms of “Shang-A-Lang” serves as a shameless Slade imitation. Those into big ballads, dripping with corny charm, will love the string-laden furnishings of “Dedication” and “The Way I Feel Tonight,” while the Bay City Rollers’ excellent cover of Dusty Springfield’s “I Only Want To Be With You” sparkles with vitality and vibrancy, and the light and breezy “You Made Me Believe in Magic” dances joyfully to a tugging disco beat.

Listening to The Definitive Collection, it becomes obvious the Bay City Rollers were one of the most underrated and misunderstood bands of the 1970s. The guys could really carry a tune, and the hooks and arrangements of their songs were stable and secure. If spunky guitar pop that rocks with the best of the best fires your soul, then The Definitive Collection is a record you can’t afford to miss.

Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson was born the day Ben E. King hit No. 4 with "Stand By Me" -- which is actually one of her favorite songs, especially John Lennon's version. She's contributed to Lance Monthly and Amplifier, and served as Rock Beat International's associate editor. Paterson has also published Inside Out, and Twist & Shake. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Beverly Paterson
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