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The Rollers

℗ 1979

The Rollers • 1979 • Elevator

The end was nigh as the Bay City Rollers prepared to record Elevator in 1979; indeed, many people might have believed they had already come and gone. Les McKeown was out, replaced by the unknown Duncan Faure, and Arista, the band's label for five years, had lost interest long ago. If it hadn't been for a slight contretemps over the LP's sleeve design — the Rollers chose a picture of a pill, the label replaced it with a mellow band shot — Elevator might have passed without even drawing the puns that its title invited. (Going down?) Elevator does, in fact, stand as perhaps the most convincingly musical of all the band's albums — Trouser Press magazine even compared it to the Beatles' Rubber Soul. That might be pushing the envelope somewhat, but still the band had shrugged off the teeny sound of yesteryear and, unlike others who made a similar move, unearthed a worthwhile vibe with which to replace it. The ensuing hard rocking AOR direction was so convincing that, had they not been the Rollers, they could have given the likes of Foreigner and Toto a run for their money. "Turn on the Radio" certainly remains a fine number, while "Hello and Welcome Home" and "I Was Eleven" are also solid gold. But it really didn't matter how good the album was. The Rollers' day was done, and the rest of their career was simply the crumbs beneath the table. Bye bye baby, indeed. — Dave Thompson.