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The images, which show the Seventies teen idol in candid studio moments with his wife Peko and with his long time pal, Bay City Rollers' founding member, the late Alan Longmuir, have been released as the Kickstarter campaign to raise money for the publication of the photo book reached the halfway point towards reaching its target of £22,000.
Publisher Sam Mokhtary, who promoted McKeown's last full tour, a tour of Japan in 2019, says, “The response has been fantastic. Just three days after launch, we had already reached 50% of our target. We've now got until May 22nd to raise the rest of the money for the photobook, so we're asking anyone who loves Les McKeown and the Bay City Rollers to please check out our campaign and show their support by pre-ordering a copy and telling their friends about the photobook.”
The publication was the result of a case of serendipity after Mokhtary compiled a album of photos for the singer's widow after his sudden death on April 20, last year.
He previously told the News: “I've never forgotten Les's birthday... When it last came around I knew it would be a painful day for Peko and wanted to send her something positive to help remember happier times. I recalled we'd done a photo shoot in Tokyo on the last tour and although it wasn't planned, Les had actually pulled Peko in front of the camera towards the end of the shoot and started spinning her round and cuddling her.
“They were incredibly sweet and heartwarming photos and I thought if I printed those out as a photo album and sent them to her, that would make a perfect gift.”
Looking through these photos, Mokhtary realised he had a much larger selection of photos than he had realised and with the blessing of the family planned a crowd-funded photobook to share the images with fans.Amongst those photos he found pictures of McKeown and his old bandmate Longmuir, who toured Japan as a guest with Les McKeown's Bay City Rollers in 2016 and 2017. The photos captured the pair performing on stage and relaxing at the press launch of the 2017 tour.
Mokhtary recalls, “I first toured Les in April 2015. It was a great experience and I think he could see that we had a chance to build something special, so afterwards he introduced me to Alan and we put a deal together to get them both out to Tokyo in February 2016, less than a year later.
“It was great having the two of them together; they complemented each other so well. We all know what a larger than life character Les was; he loved to be centre stage. Alan was a gentleman, dependable and a calming influence on the rest of the band. He held the show together with his steady rhythm guitar but could also take the lead when required, often stealing the show on songs like Rock ’n’ Roll Honeymoon.
“There was no drama whatsoever, and we were joined by their wives, Eileen and Peko, who are two of the nicest people, at times it honestly felt like a big old family get-together. The tour was a great success, so much so that we did it all again in 2017, adding even more shows.”
To obtain a copy of the photobook, fans can make a pledge for which they will receive exclusive rewards in return. A pledge of £55+ will get you Major Fan status and a limited first edition hardback of Les McKeown’s Bay City Rollers: The Last Tour! For £70+ Mega Fans also receive a limited edition collectable postcard set and a thank you in the book. £100+ Super Fans get an additional collection of limited edition A3 prints. Finally, those who pledge £1,000+ to become one of 12 Ultimate Fans, will receive four copies of everything in the Super Fan tier as well as an opportunity to share a few words about Les and a picture in the book.
Publication of Les McKeown’s Bay City Rollers: The Last Tour is scheduled for November. To take part in the Kickstarter campaign and make a pledge click here or go to https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/alivemu/les-mckeowns-bay-city-rollers-the-last-tour-photobook.