Music Matters

John Murray

John Murray

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A young band called The Beachcombers played regularly in Kirkcaldy, mainly at the old Raith Ballroom in Links Street. Other notable Scottish touring bands as the 1960s ended were The Stoics, Dream Police, The Poets, The Beatstalkers, Studio Six and Sunset Culture but The Beachcombers actually won a coveted record deal with CBS after an audition at the Marquee Club in Wardour Street and on the same day secured a residency there for Sunday nights. Guitarist David Paton dropped in to my radio show this week to tell of these early days as he joined them straight from school, but it didn’t last long despite several singles. When they spilt he joined the Bay City Rollers with Nobby Clark just as the hysteria began up until the recording deal with Bell Records. David didn’t go for the boyband lifestyle and formed Pilot taking bass player Billy Lyall with him. The demo of Magic secured the record deal and charted in 1974. January was the first record on Radio Forth and topped the UK chart for three weeks. After this huge success he wrote and guested on various sessions with Camel, Kate Bush and sang on Paul McCartney’s Mull Of Kintyre. Pilot effectively toured as the musicians for The Alan Parson’s Project and in between times joined Elton John for tours and album sessions, including Live Aid. Next year will be the 40th anniversary of Pilot however, and a reunion album and tour is planned. Already Japan and the Americas are setting up dates and of course Australia is interested where January stayed at the top for 13 weeks. There is a current album too called Under The Sun available from his website with an uplifting title track written after a health scare.