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Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Great Lost Rollers Single.

A Bay City Rollers single I've never heard of ?! Uh-oh, I don't think so. Nonetheless, there it was. Upon my computer screen, glaring at me, taunting me, proving me otherwise.  And I just had to have it.
50 Euros was the "Buy it now" price. So be it. I would've paid 100....200....300... But now we're getting ahead of ourselves. Way ahead.
What the hell is this? And why haven't I - or anyone I know - ever heard about it?
"Love in the World", written by Les McKeown and Pat McGlynn, as the A-side.  All that Google ever came up with was "All of the World is Falling in Love", a Faulkner/Wood composition from 1978, which was released as a single A-side in the U.K. only, and then appeared on the "Strangers in the Wind" album.
"It's for You" - an Eric Faulkner song - on the B-side.  OK, now we're getting somewhere.  Clearly not the 1975 Faulkner/Wood single B-side to "Bye Bye Baby", but another (?) version of Eric's mid-'80s "It's for You (One on One)" song which appeared in a solo demo version on his fan club-only "The Eric Faulkner Cassette" from circa '86.  However, in the sleeve notes to that tape Eric claimed it had been ,,Recorded by the Rollers but never finished."  Hmm...
So, like The Who sang in "The Seeker": ,,I asked Bobby Dylan, I asked The Beatles..." Or, as in this particular case: I asked Eric Faulkner and I asked Les McKeown.   Or, I at least tried to.
Eric said: ,,That version of Its For You was done around the time of that classic cover of Piece of The Action (Ed. 1983 - and he's being totally sarcastic about that "classic cover" remark)......I thought Bill Kimber had produced it. (Colin Fretchers old business mate).   
When was that realeased?   I thought Love In The World was something to do with Breakout (Ed. 1985). Might be wrong on that though." Well, thanks Eric.
Les simply said: ,,Sorry don't know it, xx".  Er, OK Les, if you say so...
Tony Taverner, the listed producer and a fellow Tottenham Hotspur F.C. supporter, seemed initially open to my inquries, but ever since I uttered the you-made-me-believe-in-magic-words (ie. Bay City Rollers), I haven't heard from him again.
But funnily enough, now this thing had started to appear elsewhere.  Someone posted it on  AND I heard about someone else besides myself owning it...

Well, then, let's start with the source.  Such as it is: Activ Records out of  Dübendorf  Switzerland, Cat# MS 172.  Apparently, according to, erm, active from 1984 to 1998, a native Deutsch-speaking friend claims Activ was a "private pressing" label.  That is, you could approach them with a recording and an artwork of your own and pay them to press and print said item in limited numbers.  Sounds expensive.  (And speaking of said artwork: it's clearly lifted from the 1983 Japan-only "Live in Japan" 2LP issue). 
Nonetheless, this would explain the scarceness of the item.  But it would not explain the Johnny-come-lateness of it, though; made in 1985 but not surfacing until 2011?!
Yet another tempting theory: Is this a BRAND-NEW bootleg?  No, I don't think so.  Although the vinyl itself as well as the label (printed directly onto the plastic itself; not on a piece of paper as the custom was) could indeed be brand-new, the picture sleeve looks suitably old and worn and could very well be a quarter of a century+ old.  And probably is.
As for the music itself, both songs sound like "Breakout"-era Rollers (1985).  Or even slightly better/earlier. 
Arguably the Rollers' worst album, "Breakout" - only ever issued in Japan and Australia - was made under much say the least. 
The televised post-promotional activities are pretty painful to watch.  Particularily Australia's "Countdown" TV show.  While a decade earlier it was a delight to watch; now it was just dreadful.  
A reformed Rollers in '83/4, very much like the '77/'78 Rollers, didn't really get along.  Nonetheless, financially rewarding tours of the Far East and Australia were understandably undertaken.     
"Breakout" was demoed - and even probably properly recorded in 1984 - its title track aired publicly on Irish TV that same year.  But Les McKeown, thoroughly dissatisfied with the results, reportedly erased them.
Or did he?!  Are these the SINGLE, pardon the pun, leftovers of the original "Breakout" sessions?  I tend to swing towards that conclusion.  Regardless of the release itself;  a new/old bootleg or not.
The "finished" "Breakout" LP was, according to Les, years ago, done "In my basement with Pat (McGlynn) and myself and some session musicians".  So, not really a "proper" Rollers record.  But that is no big surprise to those who have heard it.
Meanwhile, "Love in the World"/"It's For You" serves as a superior reminder of what very well could've been...



  1. Great piece! A mindblowing true BCR rarity! Thanks for sharing the info and now I've got to go find the single!!

  2. In the late '80s/early '90s Eric's fan club issued The Eric Faulkner Cassette which included 16 solo demos, among those "It's for You", of which Eric had the following to say in the booklet which accompanied said cassette:

    It's For You (One On One) : The Rollers rerecorded this in Feb '85 but it was never finished, therefore never released. One of the few boy-girl songs to arrive over the last few years.

    I beg to differ, Eric; definitely finished AND released.

  3. I searched for it for years and finally got it. I paid a small fortune for it, too. I know one other person besides yourself who has one. Any info on numbers of records pressed would be very welcome.

    1. Just yesterday it went for 400 Euros on eBay Germany. No idea how many were pressed, though.

  4. found this,interesting?

  5. Activ Record was a "normal" recordcompany. They also pressed singles for jukeboxes (very popular still in the 80ies). As far as I can say is, that maybe aprox. 300 to 500 copies usually were pressed and distributed to the jukebox companies that served Switzerland. If it was played a lot, then they started selling to the record stores (in this case it did not happen).