“I AM heartbroken,” she said. “Les was a legend. Last time I saw him I was on the front row, I shook his hand five times. Lasses were trying to get on the stage - hundreds of them in the aisles, coming down from the balcony.”

When I got this email from Janette, a devoted Bay City Rollers fan, I was a bit dismissive. It came after the news last week that former Rollers frontman and Seventies dreamboat Les McKeown had died, aged 65, and while it was all very sad I thought “heartbroken” might be pushing it a bit.

But later I watched some footage of the Rollers’ heyday; five Scottish lads with cute grins singing soppy pop in those cropped tartan pants and tank tops. And the adoring fans at their feet; hysterical teenage girls desperate for Les - or guitarists Woody and Eric - to be their boyfriend.

I remember Rollermania. Since I was barely old enough to be in the Brownies it felt like pressing my face up against a window, watching all the fun. Pop was mainly for teenagers back then so my mother flatly refused me any Rollers paraphernalia. I was desperate for the socks with the band’s faces down the sides and as a horrible compromise she got me some blue and white striped knee socks from the market. “Er,why are you wearing football socks?” other kids asked. I never got over the shame.

My friend and I had a clandestine Bay City Rollers club - password: Shang-A-Lang. We soon tired of it. But I remember the fan hysteria in the air, watching in awe the snippets of Rollermania on telly, the longing to be 16. It all felt a bit primal.

That was nearly half a century ago but, as we once wrote on our pencil cases: ‘True Love Never Dies’. And when you’re a kid and you’re mad for the Rollers - or the Beatles, the Osmonds, Duran Duran, Take That, One Direction - it is a kind of true love.

So I get why Janette is feeling the teen heartache at poor Les passing on. “I’ve been a fan since I was 15,” she said. “I’ve been to all his once-in-a-lifetime concerts.” Like Janette, many fans continued to flock to his gigs long after the Rollers fell apart - middle-aged mums waving tartan scarves and singing along to Bye Bye Baby. I once reviewed a David Essex concert and the fans-of-a-certain-age were quite terrifying - leaping from their seats and hoofing it to the stage in a frenzied mass.

We never forget (as Take That once sang) that puppy love (in the heart-melting words of Donny Osmond) and how we adored their posters on our bedroom walls, played their records, screamed our heads off at their concerts, shook their hand on the front row.

I remember the December morning I found my mum sitting by the radio, crying. John Lennon had been shot dead and she was bereft. She’d loved the Beatles forever. Nearly four decades later, on another December morning, I arrived at my sister’s house to find her turning up the radio, her eyes filled with tears. George Michael had died on Christmas Day and they were playing the Wham songs she’d once played endlessly in her bedroom as a girl.

George had gazed down from her bedroom wall, in his Choose Life T-shirt. It had been brooding, bare-chested Sting on my wall, later replaced by Simon le Bon in a tasselled neckerchief. And on Janette’s teenage wall was an Edinburgh lad with a cheeky grin in a tartan-lined T-shirt.

Those pop pin-ups, their songs, their lovely hair and their fast-dating fashion sense stay with us. And when they die we are sad because they were part of our youth, a soundtrack to a time we’ll never get back, and we really did love them.