Bay City Rollers star Ian Mitchell dies as group say they are “deeply saddened” by his death

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Former Bay City Rollers band member Ian Mitchell has died aged 62.

Ian joined the band in 1976, at the age of 17, replacing bassist Alan Longmuir – but left after seven months with the Scottish band, dubbed ‘tartan teen sensations’.

However, the musician had a lasting impact with the group, with whom he recorded the hit cover “I Only Want to be With You”.

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

He said: “We are deeply saddened by the news of the death of Ian Mitchell. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Wendy, their family and friends. Rest in peace, Ian.

Ian Mitchell (pictured in 1976) joined the group, aged 17, replacing bassist Alan Longmuir – but left after seven months with the Scottish band, dubbed ‘Tartan Teen Feelings’.

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

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

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

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

With the Bay City Rollers, Ian recorded an album, Dedication, in 1976, and had a successful cover of Dusty Springfield’s song “I Only Want to be With You”.

The track reached number 12 on the US charts.

How Ian Mitchell was named in the hit American sitcom Friends

Despite his short seven-month stint with the Bay City Rollers, Ian Mitchell has made a huge impact.

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

But Mitchell too earned a mention on the popular American sitcom, Friends, in a 2001 episode when Monica and Chandler got engaged.

In it, Monica, played by Courteney Cox, says, “I want a string quartet for the procession, a jazz trio for the cocktails and The Bay City Rollers for the dance.

Chandler, played by Matthew Perry, then replies, “You couldn’t get the Rollers anyway because Ian isn’t playing anymore. “

Speaking about her mention to The Sun in 2016, Mitchell said, “I fell off my chair when I saw this. “

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

In it, Monica, played by Courteney Cox, says, “I want a string quartet for the procession, a jazz trio for the cocktails and The Bay City Rollers for the dance.

Chandler, played by Matthew Perry, then replies, “You couldn’t get the Rollers anyway because Ian isn’t playing anymore. “

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

Mitchell then blamed infighting within the group for his decision to leave. He said, “I had to get out before I put my head in the gas oven. “

The star then formed the group Rosetta Stone.

Backed by Bay City Rollers manager Tom Patron, the Northern Irish group toured Japan and Thailand with three successful singles, including a cover of the 1960s Cream song, “Sunshine of Your Love.”

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

Mitchell then left in 1979, before launching the Ian Mitchell Band in May 1979.

Again the band toured Asia and parts of Europe with great success, but found little recognition in the UK, playing only one gig, in a pub outside London.

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

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

One of them wrote: “My deepest condolences. I met Ian at the Foxwoods casino in Connecticut, he was doing a gig with Leif Garrett, I met his wife too.

“Both were very sweet and lovely. Pray. ‘

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

The star went on to form the band Rosetta Stone, but then left in 1979, before launching the Ian Mitchell Band (pictured) in May 1979.

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

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

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

“It’s one of my earliest memories. Thanks for the music. TEAR.’

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

According to a 2016 article published by The Sun, he was living in the United States, having carved out a life in California as a computer programmer and motivational speaker.

Of his name in Friends, he told the newspaper: “I fell off my chair when I saw this. “

Although he lived in America in the last years of his life, Mitchell still loved his hometown, the small North Irish town of Downpatrick.

Speaking to local newspaper The Down Recorder in 2014, he said: “I am proud to be a part of this city’s heritage.

“When I was born it was just a small town, and I was just a poor kid living on Ardmeen Green, playing among the ruins the ancient monks left behind.

“I have known fame and fortune. I’ve traveled the world and made some of the best friends a man can have, and had the pleasure of knowing some of the most beautiful women in the world.

“I became an American, proud of it, and I’m still an Irishman at heart, and a very lucky Irishman indeed. And my life, well, it all started in a little place called… Downpatrick.

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