Ian Bairnson

~ Person


Ian Bairnson (born 3 August 1953) is a Scottish musician, best known for being one of the core members of The Alan Parsons Project. He is a multi-instrumentalist, who has played saxophone and keyboards, although he is best known as a guitarist. He is also known for preferring the sound of a sixpence to a plectrum.

Bairnson was born in Lerwick, Shetland Isles, Scotland. He grew up in Levenwick, in Shetland, before his family moved to Edinburgh, Midlothian, when he was nine years old, following the death of his father.

He was a session guitarist before joining up in 1973 with former Bay City Rollers musicians David Paton and Billy Lyall in the band, Pilot, and contributed the harmony guitar parts to their hit single, "Magic". During this time with Pilot, he first collaborated with Alan Parsons, the record producer on their debut self-titled album. It was this relationship that helped incorporate most of the band's members (bassist/lead singer Paton and drummer Stuart Tosh) into the Alan Parsons Project. He played the distinctive guitar solo on the track "I Wouldn't Want to Be Like You" from Parsons' I Robot (1977) album.

As a guitarist, he has been featured on every Project album, including the 1984 side project Keats.

He has played on Kate Bush's first four albums The Kick Inside (1978) (notably playing the guitar solo on "Wuthering Heights"), Lionheart (1978), Never for Ever (1980) and The Dreaming (1982).

He has also played with the band Bucks Fizz for whom he co-wrote two of their Top 20 hits, "If You Can't Stand the Heat" (1982) and "Run for Your Life" (1983).

Bairnson lives in Spain, where he owns a recording studio and continues working as a session guitarist. He has toured with a number of different bands, the latest being Junk (Bairnson, Pau Chaffer, Sarah Rope and Ángel Celada).

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Year Title Artist RatingReleases
80's Chartbusters Various Artists 1

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