Six Degrees of Separation

I've always been fascinated by the connections between different pop groups, especially when artists who seem to be at opposite ends of the scale are, in fact, connected. This is the music industry's version of the 'six degrees of separation' rule, although often there are fewer that six.

Updating some recordings, I stumbled across a highly unlikely - but true - connection between two 1970s bands which you would not expect to have anything in common: the Bay City Rollers, the tartan teen-pop group famous for Bye Bye Baby; and Pink Floyd, serious progressive rockers famous for Dark Side of the Moon.
Bay City Rollers, dressing as we all did in the 1970s
Pink Floyd, with serious faces
What could be the connection between these two bands? The answer is another band from the 1970s: Pilot.

The founding members of Pilot included David Paton, Ian Bairnson and Billy Lyall who all had been early members of the Bay City Rollers. Pilot's music, including mid-1970s Magic and January, was still firmly pop but had a more universal appeal than the Bay City Rollers.

In 1976, Paton and Bairnson joined the newly formed Alan Parsons Project whose music spanned progressive rock and soft rock. But before setting up the band (with Eric Woolfson), Alan Parsons was already well established as a successful sound engineer and producer. Among his credits are The Beatles' Abbey Road, Al Stewart's Year of the Cat and - perhaps most famously - Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon.

I might never have noticed the connection but when I first introduced Lindsey to the music of Alan Parsons her immediate reaction was that it sounded like Pilot. Which I had not noticed, even though the distinctive vocalist is the same person! I was too busy concentrating on the Pink Floyd connection.

The Bay City Rollers
Alan Parsons Project
Pink Floyd

Teeny boppers to progressive rock in only four degrees of separation.