Born in Lerwick, Shetland Isles, Scotland on 3 August 1953, Ian Bairnson is best known for being one of the core members of The Alan Parsons Project. He has played saxophone and keyboards, although he is best known as a guitarist.
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. As a guitarist, he has been featured on every Alan Parsons Project album, including the 1984 side project Keats.
Since 1978, he also played guitar for Kate Bush, on the tracks Moving, Strange Phenomena, Kite, Wuthering Heights, James And The Cold Gun, Oh To Be in Love, L'Amour Looks Something Like You, Them Heavy People, Room For The Life, Symphony In Blue, In Search Of Peter Pan, Wow, Don't Push Your Foot On The Heartbrake, Fullhouse, Coffee Homeground, Hammer Horror, and Leave It Open. He also provides backing vocals on Oh To Be In Love, bass voices on Delius (with Paddy Bush), and plays beer bottles on Room For The Life.
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). Along his session career he has played in more than a hundred albums in different styles. For example; Yvonne Keeley, Al Stewart, Joe Cocker, Jon Anderson, Chris DeBurgh, Mick Fleetwood, Neil Diamond. He played live together with Sting, Eric Clapton, Beverley Craven and many more.
Ian passed away on 7 April 2023, aged 69.