Singer/bassist David Paton spent his early years in Leith (Edinburgh) and then moved to the tough district of Inch, later joining The Bay City Rollers.
While playing in the Rollers, David met organist Billy Lyall who hailed from Edinburgh’s Tollcross district. They both played in the Rollers for a while, then left and lost contact until they came face to face in the Edinburgh Music Library one day.
They got together again and asked Stuart Tosh to join them as drummer.
With the success of the single Magic (1974) and their first tour with Sparks, David got in touch with Shetland-born guitarist Ian Bairnson to join them.
January went to #1 in February 1975 and Call Me Round and Just a Smile both hit the top 40 that same year.
Once the hit singles started drying up, though, Pilot seemed to lurch from crisis to crisis. First, Billy Lyall left to record his own album, and then Stuart Tosh quit for “domestic” reasons.
Tosh stuck around long enough to play on the group’s third album, Morin Heights (1976), which was recorded in Canada (at Morin Heights Studios – hence the title) with Queen producer Roy Thomas Baker.
Tosh, Paton and Bairnson then became members of The Alan Parsons Project, with Tosh also working with 10cc.
Billy Lyall died of AIDS-related causes in 1989.
Keyboards, flute, vocals