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Bay City Rollers star Ian Mitchell dies as band say they are ‘deeply saddened’ at his death 

Fans of the Bay City Rollers have led tributes for former bassist Ian Mitchell who died in Los Angeles aged 62. 

Ian joined the band in 1976, aged 17, replacing bassist Alan Longmuir – but left after seven months with the Scots group, dubbed as ‘tartan teen sensations’.

However the musician made a lasting impact with the band, with whom he recorded the hit Dusty Springfield cover ‘I Only Want to be With You’. 

Today, fans have paid tribute to the singer on social media.

One wrote: ‘My deepest condolences. I met Ian at Foxwoods casino in Connecticut he was doing a concert with Leif Garrett, I met his wife too.

‘Both of them were very nice and sweet. Praying. 

Another said: ‘I am so sorry to hear of Ian’s passing. I’ve loved this band since I was just 4 years old, and I remember how thrilled I was to watch them on TV and to dance to their music.

‘It’s one of my earliest memories Thank you for the music. RIP.’

On Twitter, one user said: ‘Really shocked to hear that Ian Mitchell passed away a few hours ago. The Bay City Rollers were my teenage idols and the real reason I took up music and photograph.

‘I got to spend a bit of time with Ian shortly after he moved to LA in the 1980s and he was great. Such as loss.’ 

Ian Mitchell (pictured in 1976) joined the band, aged 17, replacing bassist Alan Longmuir - but left after seven months with the Scots group, dubbed as 'tartan teen sensations'.

Ian Mitchell (pictured in 1976) joined the band, aged 17, replacing bassist Alan Longmuir - but left after seven months with the Scots group, dubbed as 'tartan teen sensations'.

Ian Mitchell (pictured in 1976) joined the band, aged 17, replacing bassist Alan Longmuir – but left after seven months with the Scots group, dubbed as ‘tartan teen sensations’.

The Bay City Rollers with Derek Longmuir (L) pictured with other band members (2L-R) Alan Longmuir, Les McKeown (back), Ian Mitchell and Stewart Wood

The Bay City Rollers with Derek Longmuir (L) pictured with other band members (2L-R) Alan Longmuir, Les McKeown (back), Ian Mitchell and Stewart Wood

The Bay City Rollers with Derek Longmuir (L) pictured with other band members (2L-R) Alan Longmuir, Les McKeown (back), Ian Mitchell and Stewart Wood

Ian Mitchell made a lasting impact with the Bay City Rollers

Ian Mitchell made a lasting impact with the Bay City Rollers

He recorded famous cover 'I Only Want to be With You during his short spell with the band

He recorded famous cover 'I Only Want to be With You during his short spell with the band

He made a lasting impact with the Bay City Rollers, having recorded famous cover ‘I Only Want to be With You during his short spell with the band

The Bay City Rollers posted this nostalgic picture of Ian on the band's Facebook page today

The Bay City Rollers posted this nostalgic picture of Ian on the band's Facebook page today

The Bay City Rollers posted this nostalgic picture of Ian on the band’s Facebook page today

The official Bay City Rollers Facebook page released a statement announcing his death this morning.

How Ian Mitchell was name-dropped on the hit American sitcom ‘Friends’ 

Despite his short seven month spell with the Bay City Rollers, Ian Mitchell made quite an impact.

During his time in the band, they recorded the album ‘Dedication’, as well as the hit cover of Dusty Springfield’s ‘I Only Want to be With You’.

But Mitchell also earned a mention in popular American sitcom, Friends, in a 2001 episode when Monica and Chandler get engaged. 

Mitchell also earned a mention in popular American sitcom, Friends, in a 2001 episode when Monica (pictured right) and Chandler get engaged

Mitchell also earned a mention in popular American sitcom, Friends, in a 2001 episode when Monica (pictured right) and Chandler get engaged

Mitchell also earned a mention in popular American sitcom, Friends, in a 2001 episode when Monica (pictured right) and Chandler get engaged

In it, Monica, played by Courteney Cox, says: ‘I want a string quartet for the processional, a jazz trio for cocktails and The Bay City Rollers for dancing.’ 

Chandler, played by Matthew Perry, then responds: ‘You couldn’t get The Rollers anyway as Ian doesn’t play any more.’

Speaking about his mention to The Sun in 2016, Mitchell said: ‘I fell off my chair when I saw that.’

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It said: ‘We are deeply saddened by the news of Ian Mitchell’s death. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Wendy, their family and friends. Rest In Peace, Ian.’

Ian, from Northern Ireland, was the first person to join the band from outside of their hometown of Edinburgh.

While with the Bay City Rollers Ian recorded one album, Dedication, in 1976, and had a hit cover of the Dusty Springfield song ‘I Only Want to be With You.’

The track reached number 12 on the US charts.

He also earned a mention in Friends in a 2001 episode when Monica and Chandler get engaged. 

In it, Monica, played by Courteney Cox, says: ‘I want a string quartet for the processional, a jazz trio for cocktails and The Bay City Rollers for dancing.’ 

Chandler, played by Matthew Perry, then responds: ‘You couldn’t get The Rollers anyway as Ian doesn’t play any more.’

He left in late 1976 as the band’s popularity began to dwindle and was replaced by guitarist Pat McGlynn.

Mitchell later blamed infighting in the band for his decision to leave. He said: ‘I had to get out before I put my head in the gas oven.’

The star went on to form the band Rosetta Stone.

Backed by the Bay City Rollers’ manager Tom Patron, the Northern Irish band had successful tours of Japan and Thailand had three singles, including a covers of 1960s Cream song, ‘Sunshine of Your Love’.   

But the band were much less successful back at home and in the United States. They signed with Private Stock Records and released their first album, Rock Pictures, in May 1978 to little success.

Mitchell later quit in 1979, before launching the Ian Mitchell Band in May 1979. 

Again, the band toured Asia and parts of Europe to much success, but found little recognition in the UK, reportedly playing just one gig, in a pub outside of London. 

Mitchell was later involved in reunions for both the Bay City Rollers and Rosetta Stone in his later years. 

Ian, from Northern Ireland, was the first person to join the band, dubbed as 'tartan teen sensations', from outside of their hometown of Edinburgh

Ian, from Northern Ireland, was the first person to join the band, dubbed as 'tartan teen sensations', from outside of their hometown of Edinburgh

Ian, from Northern Ireland, was the first person to join the band, dubbed as ‘tartan teen sensations’, from outside of their hometown of Edinburgh

The star went on to form the band Rosetta Stone, but he later quit in 1979, before launching the Ian Mitchell Band (pictured) in May 1979

The star went on to form the band Rosetta Stone, but he later quit in 1979, before launching the Ian Mitchell Band (pictured) in May 1979

The star went on to form the band Rosetta Stone, but he later quit in 1979, before launching the Ian Mitchell Band (pictured) in May 1979 

Tony Blackburn (centre) with Les Mckeown (right) and Ian Mitchell (left) of The Bay City Rollers

Tony Blackburn (centre) with Les Mckeown (right) and Ian Mitchell (left) of The Bay City Rollers

Tony Blackburn (centre) with Les Mckeown (right) and Ian Mitchell (left) of The Bay City Rollers

Mitchell had been living in the United States, having carved out a life in California as a computer programmer and motivational speaker. Here he is pictured outside his California home in 1997

Mitchell had been living in the United States, having carved out a life in California as a computer programmer and motivational speaker. Here he is pictured outside his California home in 1997

Mitchell had been living in the United States, having carved out a life in California as a computer programmer and motivational speaker. Here he is pictured outside his California home in 1997

Twitter user Jackie Quinn said: ‘Oh no, just heard Ian Mitchell has died. He brings great memories from my teenage years. Rest in peace Ian. 

Another said: ‘So sad. It was a pleaseure in a past life to have played a music set along with Ian Mitchell at the start of the 80s before his move to LA. He had such an amazing energy.

‘My thoughts are with his family. R.I.P in Rock ‘n’ roll heaven Ian.’ 

Mitchell had been married to wife Wendy-Ann Antanaitis for almost thirty years.

Mitchell had been living in the United States for a number of years, having carved out a life in California as a computer programmer and motivational speaker.

On his name drop in Friends, he told the paper: ‘I fell off my chair when I saw that.’

Though he lived in America in the latter years of his life, Mitchell was still fond of his hometown, the small Northern Irish town of Downpatrick.

Speaking in 2014 to local newspaper the Down Recorder, he said: ‘I’m proud to be a part of this town’s heritage.

‘When I was born, it was but a small town, and I was but a poor kid living on Ardmeen Green, playing amongst the ruins that the ancient monks left behind.

‘I have known fame and some fortune. I have travelled the world and made some of the finest friends a man can have, and have had the pleasure of knowing some of the loveliest women around.

‘I became an American, a proud one at that, and am still an Irishman at heart, and a very lucky Irishman, indeed. And my life, well, all of it, started in a small place called… Downpatrick.’

The key members of Bay City Rollers: Where are they now?

Eric Faulkner

Faulkner joined the Bay City Rollers in 1972 as their guitarist and was one of the main faces of the band over the years

Faulkner joined the Bay City Rollers in 1972 as their guitarist and was one of the main faces of the band over the years

Faulkner joined the Bay City Rollers in 1972 as their guitarist and was one of the main faces of the band over the years

Faulkner joined the Bay City Rollers in 1972 as their guitarist and was one of the main faces of the band over the years.  

He co-wrote more than half of the recorded catalogue of Rollers songs including the ‘Money Honey’ and ‘Love Me Like I Love You’.

Faulkner also worked on a reformed version of the band in the 1990s.

In the last 10 years Faulkner has appeared at a number of music festivals including Parkfest and The Edinburgh Guitar and Music Festival. 

According to a book by fellow Bay City Rollers star, Alan Longmuir, Faulkner had a major health scare in 2015 when he developed viral encephalitis – an inflammation of the brain. 

In recent years, Faulkner, now 66, has written his own folk music, which he posts for free, with an option of a donation, on his website. 

Stuart Wood

Stuart Wood, known as 'Woody', was a guitarist in the Bay City Rollers

Stuart Wood, known as 'Woody', was a guitarist in the Bay City Rollers

Stuart Wood, known as ‘Woody’, was a guitarist in the Bay City Rollers

Stuart Wood, known as ‘Woody’, was a guitarist in the Bay City Rollers. He joined in 1974, helping the band to make their breakthrough.

After his success with The Rollers, Wood moved to South Africa and performed in a band called The Passengers, which became a chart topping success throughout the 1980s.

He later returned home to Scotland and in 2007 produced the debut album for Scottish folk duo the MacDonald Brothers.

Wood is still said to be active in music.

In a 2019 interview with the Sun, he said his biggest regret was not getting one last Saturday Night out with his late bandmate Alan Longmuir. 

Alan Longmuir

Alan Longmuir was one of the founding members of the Bay City Rollers, along with his younger brother Derek

Alan Longmuir was one of the founding members of the Bay City Rollers, along with his younger brother Derek

Alan Longmuir was one of the founding members of the Bay City Rollers, along with his younger brother Derek

Alan Longmuir was one of the founding members of the Bay City Rollers, along with his younger brother Derek. He played bass guitar.

In 1976, at the height of the band’s popularity, Longmuir left and was replaced by Mitchell, who was later replaced by Patrick McGlynn.

Longmuir returned to the group in 1978 following McGlynn’s departure.

He later became the owner of Castle Campbell Hotel in Dollar, Clackmannanshire, but suffered two heart attacks and a stroke.

Longmuir died, aged 70, in hospital in Scotland after contracting an illness while on holiday in Mexico.

Derek Longmuir

Derek Longmuir was one of the founding members and the drummer for the Bay City Rollers

Derek Longmuir was one of the founding members and the drummer for the Bay City Rollers

Derek Longmuir was one of the founding members and the drummer for the Bay City Rollers

Derek Longmuir was one of the founding members and the drummer for the Bay City Rollers.

He retired from music in the 1980s and trained in nursing.

He was sentenced to 300 hours of community service after admitting possessing child pornography in 2000.

When police raided Longmuir’s home they found child pornography on videos, photographs and computer images.

He pleaded guilty to the offence, but maintained the offending materials did not belong to him and were instead left behind by an acquaintance.  

Les McKeown

Les McKeown was the lead singer of the Bay City Rollers during their most successful period, joining the band in 1973

Les McKeown was the lead singer of the Bay City Rollers during their most successful period, joining the band in 1973

Les McKeown was the lead singer of the Bay City Rollers during their most successful period, joining the band in 1973

Les McKeown was the lead singer of the Bay City Rollers during their most successful period, joining the band in 1973.

He later left the band in 1978.

McKeown went on to have a successful solo career, which included nine solo albums, the last of which, The Lost Songs, was released in 2016.

He teamed up with the Bay City Rollers Woody and Alan Longmuir for a tour in 2016.

But the reunion ended in acrimony and plans to record their first album in more than 30 years were ­scuppered.

He told the Daily Record at the time that he ‘never wants to work with Stuart “Woody” Wood again’. 

‘Les NcKeown’s Bay City Rollers’ were due to tour England this year, but many events have been cancelled or rescheduled due to coronavirus. Events are still planned for later this year and next.

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