Ian Bairnson



Ian Bairnson was born August 3, 1953 in a town called Lerwick in the Shetland Islands.

While we've come to know this premier guitarist as Ian, he was actually born with a different name. "I was christened Ian. It was traditional to name every male in the family John, my father was John also. When Pilot first started I had the chance to change my name to something else. It wasn't that important and I'm also the last of the Bairnsons."

At the beginning of his career, Ian played in a number of bands, including: East West, and Ears. In the early seventies, Ian joined forces with David Paton, Billy Lyall, and Stuart Tosh and together they became the band Pilot. In 1974, the single "Magic" burned up the charts, and this would lead to the albums "Second Flight" (1975), "Morin Heights" (1976), and "Two’s A Crowd" (1977).

During this period Pilot would get the call to work on the first Alan Parsons album. Ian and the band appeared on the 1976 album "Tales of Mystery and Imagination". Over the years, The Alan Parsons Project featured many guest musicians, but aside from Alan and Eric Woolfson, Ian was the only musician to appear on every Project album. It’s for that reason that Ian’s guitar work is part of the foundation of The APP sound.

For more than twenty-five years, Ian has been a very active player as a session musician. You can hear him on Paul McCartney's "Mull of Kintyre" and on the Kate Bush albums "The Kick Inside" and "Lionheart". The list of artistes that Ian has worked with seems almost endless, including: Chris DeBurgh, Michael McDonald, Mick Fleetwood, Sting, Tom Jones, Jon Anderson, and many more.

Session work has also teamed Ian with players from all over the globe, including Germany artistes (Harold Faltermayer, and Herman Weindorf) and Japanese artistes (Akira Inoue, and Sugi Masamichi).

Of course when anyone from The Project needed a hand, you could be sure that Ian would help out. Andrew Powell called him up for both the "Ladyhawke" soundtrack and his "Best of the APP". Vocalists Lenny Zakatek and Chris Rainbow ("White Trails") also knew who to call when they were doing their solo albums. When the short-lived Keats band was formed, who better to call when you need a versatile guitarist?

Ian has also composed music for television, including the programs "The World's Strongest Man" and "Driving Force". On the other side of the camera, he appeared in the film "Paper Mask" playing... a musician in a band!

When The Alan Parsons Project came to an end, and Alan was looking to start over, Ian was instrumental in helping write the next chapter of the Parsons’ sound. On the 1993 "Try Anything Once" album, Ian not only played, but contributed four songs including "Siren Song" and the live concert favourite "Turn It Up".

In the nineties, the music of Alan Parsons was performed live for the very first time, and Ian was a key member of the Alan Parsons Live Project. Off the road, Ian was a big part of the follow-up albums "On Air" and "The Time Machine". Not only did Ian contribute musically (with guitars, sax, bass, and much more), but he wrote a bulk of the tracks for both albums. From up tempo songs like "Fall Free" to the deeply moving "Brother Up In Heaven", Ian is able to cover different styles with skill.

Following the break-up of The Alan Parsons Band, Ian has been busy with a number of projects. At the top of the list, Ian has re-united with David Paton to re-visit Pilot’s "Two’s A Crowd" album.

Ian shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon!

For more about Ian Bairnson, see Issues Four and Five of The Avenue. Or www.IanBairnson.com


Selected Discography

  Work With Other Artists  
1974 Pilot Pilot (From the Album of the Same Name) Guitar
1975 Pilot Second Flight Guitar
1976 The Alan Parsons Project Tales of Mystery and Imagination Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar, Guitar (Electric)
1976 Pilot Morin Heights Guitar
1976 William Lyall Solo Casting Guitar, Guitar (Electric)
1976 Chris De Burgh Spanish Train & Other Stories Guitar
1977 Hudson-Ford Daylight Guitar
1977 The Alan Parsons Project I Robot Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar, Guitar (Electric), Vocals
1977 Pilot Two's a Crowd Guitar
1978 The Alan Parsons Project Pyramid Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar, Guitar (Electric)
1978 Kate Bush Kick Inside Guitar, Vocals, Vocals (bckgr), Bottle
1978 Kate Bush Lionheart Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar, Guitar (Electric), Guitar (Rhythm), Vocals
1978 Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel Hobo With a Grin Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar, Guitar (Electric)
1979 Chris Rainbow White Trails Guitar
1979 The Alan Parsons Project Eve Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar, Guitar (Electric)
1979 Lenny Zakatek Lenny Zakatek Guitar, Vocals
1980 Colin Townley Townley Guitar
1980 Kate Bush Never for Ever Guitar, Bass (Vocal), Vocals
1980 The Alan Parsons Project The Turn of a Friendly Card Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar, Guitar (Electric)
1980 Jon Anderson Song of Seven Bass, Guitar, Vocals
1981 Mick Fleetwood Visitor Guitar
1982 Kate Bush Dreaming Guitar, Vocals (bckgr)
1982 Panorama Can This Be Paradise Guitar, Vocals
1982 The Alan Parsons Project Eye in the Sky Guitar
1984 Keats Keats Guitar (Acoustic), Bass, Guitar, Piano, Guitar (Electric), Vocals (bckgr)
1984 The Alan Parsons Project Ammonia Avenue Guitar
1985 The Alan Parsons Project Vulture Culture Guitar
1985 Original Soundtrack Ladyhawke Guitar
1985 Kenny Rogers Heart of the Matter Guitar
1986 The Alan Parsons Project Stereotomy Guitar
1986 The Alan Parsons Project Gaudi Guitar
1987 James Reyne James Reyne Guitar
1990 Various / APP Freudiana Guitar
1991 Tom Jones Carrying a Torch Guitar
1991 David Paton Passion’s Cry Guitar
1993 Beverley Craven Love Scenes Guitar (Electric)
1993 Alan Parsons Try Anything Once Synthesizer, Bass, Guitar, Pedal Steel, Vocals (bckgr)
1995 Alan Parsons Very Best Live Guitar, Assistant Producer
1996 Alan Parsons On Air Guitar (Acoustic), Bass, Guitar, Executive Producer, Synthesizer Bass
1996 Tam White Keep it Under Your Hat Guitar
1999 Alan Parsons Time Machine Guitar, Keyboards, Saxophone

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