just gotta tell you anyway

(Caroline) Sullivan claims to have slept with a mystery Roller not once but twice. She claims while they were based here in the USA that she was a “tour guide” of sorts to their home. She goes on to further say she had numerous phone conversation with them in their homes and at hotels across the world. She does however prevent herself from being checked by eliminating the name of the Roller. In the end she claims to have met her Roller and Ian Mitchell in a London Pub on a a business lunch. After all this one on one Roller time her Roller asked “Have we met before?” She was so disappointed in him that she replied “No.”

I find the story hard to believe.  How convenient that her friends told her not the use their real names due to embarrassment of the Rollers. Don’t waste your money. It a fantasy story of a women who doesn’t have a life.

~Reader Review of ‘Bye Bye Baby’ from Amazon.com~


I think the most amusing line from the review above is ‘I find the story hard to believe.’  Really?  Pardon me as I take a moment to wipe the utterly ridiculous smile off my face.


Now that said grin has been erased, I’ll back up a bit with some history before I delve into today’s bloggity drivel.  I first read ‘Bye Bye Baby’ by Caroline Sullivan when it was originally released in June 2000.  And as much as I’m reticent to admit it in my well-beyond teenage years, I read the book rather rapidly that first run through, hoping to get to the juicy bits about Eric Faulkner. 

Now y’all know, if I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times. 

I am cheese.  Pure, and unapologetic-about-it, cheese.


Coming across the book this weekend languishing on my bookshelf, and sans any new books to tear into, I pulled out the Tartan Grail and gave it another go.  I figured nearly 9 years later and with an ever-so-slight advancement in my level of maturity, I could simply slow down, read it word-for-word, and savor the experience.

I did.  It was delicious.

I think what I love most about the book is Caroline’s unabashed candidness about her entire Roller fan experience.  And the fact that as a fan, I could absolutely ‘get it’.  I got her emotions.  I got her feelings of intense highs and the subsequent tumble down to depression if you looked a bit too closely at the fact nothing was ever truly going happen between a young (read: 13-year old in my case) teenage girl and 20-plus year old boy-men.  Because y’all know that would have involved jail time.


When ‘Bye Bye Baby’ was first released, I was actually bewildered by the level of negativity surrounding what Caroline wrote.  To this day, I still can’t get my head around how anyone could have gotten their knickers in a twist about Caroline’s recall of sleeping with ‘her Roller’.  In fact, if anything the way in which she put the incident to paper was … well … extraordinarily innocuous. 

Details, Caroline. We want details.

Sorry.  A moment of inappropriate outburst.

And, of course, for the Roller fans it was no great feat to puzzle out who the thinly-veiled, apparently non-virginal Roller in question was.  Woody.  There I said it.  Sue me.  And for one fan of the thousands to come out and share their one-paragraph (perhaps two when you include the second time, gasp) experience of getting Biblical with a Roller, I’d say that was pretty darn amazing.  Considering, of course, these men were in no way chaste as they were purported to be at the time, and I’m quite sure there were far more occasions than just Caroline’s where they got horizontal (or otherwise) with fans.  Over the years, I think generally the guys got off pretty lucky … no pun intended … with the marked absence of fan ‘tell alls’.

Another fact I find eyebrow quirking was that when the first edition of the book was released, I had a copy of Woody’s tartan buttocks on the cover of mine.  Apparently, so the story goes, a certain someone took issue with the use of the photo of said Roller’s small tush and the cover for the next book printing featured a photo of screaming fans.  Yeah.  Because we all know how very much we’d rather see fans’ gaping pie holes than Stuart’s fine … errr … well-covered behind and bony spine.

Okay.  I’ll admit it. 

Personally, I’d be awfully uptight if someone took a photo of my backside and slapped it on a book.   But that’s just me.  And I’m sure it would be for entirely different reasons than the apparently inexcusable offense of Woody’s arse in full-color print.  For someone to take a photo from their private collection to illustrate their words about their experiences … gosh, I’m really not sure I get the gripe.


Then there’s the issue with Caroline’s perpetual jabs at the band’s musical prowess that some fans found highly offensive.  On that topic, I’d have to say let’s get down to brass tacks. If the intent of the actual marketing of the Bay City Rollers was to be about mind-blowing music … I don’t believe they’d have done it in shin-high cropped pants, stripey socks, tied up in a sea of tartan.   

Nuff said.

For me, rather than seeing Caroline as an ‘obsessed’ girl with ‘no life’ as the reviewer above kindly (cough) noted, I saw Caroline as the woman who gave life to words about my own young teenage years as a Bay City Roller fan.   She validated my unexplainable (to this day even), overly-intense yearning for these untouchable and unobtainable men.  She made it seem normal to spend hard-earned cabbage to buy magazines with perhaps only one sentence about the guys, cut it out and scrapbook it.  She made it seem reasonable to call every hotel in the town they were playing to find out where they were staying.  And then call them up with absolutely nothing of any consequence to say.  I should know.  My friend and I made such phone calls.  And we actually did converse with Woody when they were playing at the Ohio State fair in August 1977. 

Mind you, I use the term ‘converse’ with a large boulder of salt.

WOODY:  (jaw-cracking yawn) ‘Yeah.’
LISA AND COMPANY:  (insert 14-year old blathering)
WOODY:  (insert second yawn) ‘Are you coming to the show today?’
LISA AND COMPANY:  ‘No, we’re not.’
WOODY:  ‘Right then.’


Back to Caroline.

In a nutshell, Caroline made it seem perfectly normal to obsess over something that you were never going to get … and if per chance you did get it, wouldn’t know what to do with it anyway. 

I heart Caroline.  She was me … with immensely more chutzpah.


And for the record, the book revealed nothing about Eric other than he was a rather surly, musically angsty, unavailable sorta chap at the time.  Be still my tender heart.


6 thoughts on “just gotta tell you anyway

  1. In Rollerfanworld, I have a weird distinction. I actually met Caroline circa 1978 at Arista Records’ NYC offices (my bf and I used to run a circuit of Arista, Private Stock, and “16” mag, in pursuit of wall-poster swag and the heady possibility of a tufty sighting.)

    I have read and enjoyed her book immensely as well, but 14-year-old Nessa has to tell you that Caroline did not impress me. She was jaded, dismissive, and bragged about the conquests that she later wrote about with such eloquence. It wasn’t the bragging that bothered me, because I knew full well that I wouldn’t be bagging dear Eric anytime soon. It was just that she seemed so casually self-important…her message to me and my friend was “give it up and stop liking them already, because I’ve been-there-done-that and they’re not worth your time”.

    We devised a not-nice nickname for her on the subway going home. 🙂 And I met Eric, Woody, and Alan on my own terms, years later, and loved every minute of it. No bagging occurred, even so. But Eric sat RIGHT next to me for like 10 minutes. A lifetime’s worth of adoration made well worth it by his conversational interest and his swoony proximity!! 😀

    By the way, Lisa, I lovelovelove your honesty and self-revelation in these blogs. Thank you for voicing what so many of us felt/feel!

  2. I’ve never cared to read the book, perhaps because of all the negativity. I do know that the LA girls had stories that would blow C’s book off the bookshelves or the out of the 99 cent book bin.

    Ian and Woody did meet up with Caroline as was stated, because they knew who she was. That’s all Ian told me. He’s a guy, he doesn’t care for details. lol

    So, I take it as, she is correct it was a business meeting, but it enhanced the book to say Woody didn’t know her. Who knows, maybe he knew of her but didn’t “remember” that they…you know, played you know “a round of poker.” Only she knows the truth.

    I say, if you’re enjoying the book, have at it…fact or fiction, a fun read, is a fun read.

    BTW, I have never slept with my fave Roller. I’m Catholic. We don’t have sex, don’t ya know. 😉

  3. OMG Lisa I was in stitches when you mentioned the fanny pix….you *do* know what *fanny* is in UK right? LMAO!!!!!

    I have to disagree with the 13 year old reference though as I’m am 100% possitive it occured, having knowledge of under-agers who were horizontal with the band.

  4. It’s been forever since I’ve read the book. You’ve put me in the mood to dust it off and have a re-read!

    As for Woody not remembering Caroline. I can assure you, he would have remembered me.

    OK, everyone can stop with the hysterical laughter! A girl can have her fantasies can’t she? : )

  5. Girl, I’m sure he would have remembered you. And YES, you must read it again! I’m sending my copy to Julz, probably today. I think she’ll get a kick out of it.

  6. Okay,
    I have read the copy of the book that Lisa loaned me and I found it pretty entertaining. One thing that blew my mind was that she said that she saw the Rollers in Pittsburgh and that they stayed at the Hyatt and Les had room 1138. As God as my witness, when my friend Debbie and I were going to see the Reds play all the time and we stayed at the Hyatt Pittsburgh, the first time we were there in May 1985, WE HAD ROOM 1138!!!!! I went back and double checked my pictures and being the stickler for details that I was (and still am), it was true. How freaking weird is that?

    At any rate, the book was good. I saw the guys (Les, Derek, Eric and Woody) one time. The Ohio State Fair, August 16, 1977, just like Lisa and just like Caroline. However, Alan wasn’t back with the group yet so I wasn’t too amazingly thrilled. I never did get to see Alan. I came ever so close in New Orleans in 1998 but that’s fate. She’s a fickle bitch.

    Lisa, thank you for loaning me the book. I will read it one more time and then send it back and will buy my very own copy. And Wendy, I only wish some of the LA girls would write their own book. I wanted to read some ACTION! ; )

    Alan, Alan, Alan, you don’t know what you missed!

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