David Paton and Billy Lyall first met in late 1969 when Billy joined the Bay City Rollers. David had taken over as the Roller's lead guitarist earlier that year. Never seeing his involvement in the Rollers as anything more than a temporary gig, David left the Rollers in October 1970 to form a new band called Fresh. The band renamed itself Christyan, got a record deal, cut a single, but never broke into the big time, lasting just two years. In the meantime, Billy had left the Rollers in April 1971 to take a job as a junior at Craighall recording studios. Billy quickly progressed from tape operator to engineer. One day in 1972, David bumped into Billy at the Music Library in Edinburgh. Billy invited David down to the studio where they ultimately ended up demoing a load of songs over the next two years.


In 1973, David took a night job at Tiffany's playing bass for the resident band, Band of Gold. There he hooked up with Ian Bairnson, the band's guitarist and Stuart Tosh who frequently filled in on drums for the band. David would write songs with Billy at Craighall and play in Band of Gold with Ian at night. The band would mix David's songs into its set, including what would become Pilot's first smash hit, "Magic'. After one set, a guy offered to buy the song for 200 pounds. Fortunately for David and Pilot, he turned him down. Ian and Stuart would ultimately join David and Billy down at Craighall Studios to play on their demos.

Late in 1973, Ian moved to London to seek out work as a session guitarist. He brought some demos with him that he shopped around to record companies with no luck. Meanwhile back in Edinburgh, David, Billy and Stuart were also mailing the demos to record companies and getting the usual reply "They're quite nice, but not really what we want. Keep Trying." In November of 1973, the winds would change. David and Billy flew down to London and met with EMI label manager John Cavanagh who Stuart knew. EMI knew immediately they had an ace.

Over the next four months, EMI ended up in a bidding war with Warner Brothers to sign the band. EMI won. In April of 1974, David, Billy and Stuart began recording their first album "From the Album of the Same Name" which was produced by Alan Parsons. The name PiLoT came from the first letter of each of their last names. Ian ultimately would play guitar on the album but was not an "official" a member of the band at the time because he had an offer on the table to join Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel. Ultimately before the release of the album, Ian climbed aboard. It was quite ironic that once Pilot soared to #1 with "January" that they were knocked out of the #1 spot by none other than Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel. Now that you know how it all got started go back and click on In Flight to join the band on its maiden voyage!