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David Paton - Magic: The David Paton Story

  by Fiona Hutchings

published: 3 / 7 / 2023

David Paton - Magic: The David Paton Story


Fiona Hutchings has no idea if David Paton’s life story will be magic or not but she gives it a go anyway,

‘It’s Magic’, performed by Pilot on ‘Top of the Pops', has 11m views. ‘January’ has over 900k (it also has a louder, rockier intro than I remember). Those two songs, from 1974 and 1975 respectively, pretty much formed the entirety of my knowledge of David Paton before I got my hands on this book. He seemed nice and smiley. He was also one of the first bass players who were also lead singers I noticed. But there was so much more to find out. Like many of his era, it was discovering The Beatles that lit a fire in his belly. He couldn’t have known, aged 14, that one day he’d be working at Abbey Road himself alongside Paul McCartney. Paton’s story of growing up, moving to London and trying to make it in a band could easily be the annoying first act of a life you want to speed through to get to the big names and Live Aid, but Paton’s writing is self-effacing and engaging at each step of his varied and storied life. A particular type of Scottish dry wit runs through this book. Family plays a big part in Paton’s life and career. It’s heartwarming to see him feature his wife, children and grandchildren in the many pictures populating the book. They sit proudly aside Elton John and other career highlights. And there are a lot of highs in his life: alongside his work as a bassist, singer and songwriter with Pilot, he was also a member of The Alan Parsons Project for a decade. As a session musician, he’s worked with artists such as Elton and Kate Bush, The Pretenders, Chris De Burgh and Chris Rea. Whatever the gig, he seems to be loving his life. He even mentions pissing off Freddie Mercury when Queen came third in a three-way race for the top of the charts in 1974. A typically waspish Mercury congratulated Paton on Pilot’s number one, before adding that when he was number one he wouldn’t be talking to David. I am starting to suspect that Sonicbond’s mission statement might well be ‘brevity is the soul of wit’. They keep turning out well-rounded, detailed and entertaining books that come in well under 200 pages. It means you can benefit from taking a punt on Paton, read it as fast or slow as you like and feel like you gained something, whether you are familiar with

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