Best known as the other half of Associates, Alan Rankine's musical career actually began in the mid-'70s as guitarist for Caspian, a cabaret band based in Scotland. During 1976, his band was looking for a new singer; during a performance by a band called Stan & Deliver, singer Billy Mackenzie's talents were brought to his attention. Rankine nabbed Mackenzie for Caspian, but the two eventually chucked the cabaret circuit to assault the U.K. pop charts as Associates.
After internal tensions busted the duo up in late 1982, Rankine traveled around the world and started lending his production skills to the likes of the Cocteau Twins, Pale Fountains, and Paul Haig. In 1986, Rankine signed on to the Belgian Crepuscule label as a solo act. While producing some of the label's artists, he also found time to record The World Begins to Look Her Age. The following year, Virgin released the wider distributed She Loves Me Not, another full-length that included a trio of songs from his debut. The Big Picture Sucks, a completely instrumental album, was issued by Crepuscule in 1989. An early-'90s reunion with Mackenzie never reached fruition due to failed label negotiations and the singer's restless creativity. Distancing himself from recording and production throughout the remainder of the '90s, Rankine became involved in lecturing on music at a college in Glasgow, in addition to writing songs for pop groups. Oddly enough, Rankine can be partially credited with the rise of Belle & Sebastian. Assigned to make a record as a project for one of his classes, the group submitted their legendary Tigermilk LP. ~ Andy Kellman, Rovi