Ian Bairnson, guitarist with Pilot and for Kate Bush, dies aged 69

<span>Photograph: Pictorial Press Ltd/Alamy</span>
Photograph: Pictorial Press Ltd/Alamy

Ian Bairnson, the guitarist who performed on Kate Bush’s 1978 hit Wuthering Heights, has died at the age of 69, his wife has announced.

The musician, a former member of the pop band Pilot and guitarist for rock band the Alan Parsons Project, had been living with dementia.

Bairnson, who played on Bush’s first two albums, also played on more than 100 albums with artists including Neil Diamond, Joe Cocker and Mick Fleetwood.

His wife, Leila Bairnson, paid tribute on Instagram to “the sweetest, kindest, loving husband”.

“It is with deep sadness and regret that I let you know that my loving husband Ian Bairnson has passed away on Friday 7 April,” she wrote. “Ian was the sweetest, kindest, loving husband I could ever have wished for and I take comfort that he is resting now up there in his very own piece of ‘Blue Blue Sky’.

“Although Ian has left us, his musical legacy stays with us and will continue to delight and brighten our lives, as it did his, forever.”

She also thanked the doctors and nurses who looked after her husband. “I would like to thank the doctors and nurses at Frimley Park hospital, the managers and carers at Lynwood care home and our families and close friends for the love and support they have provided us during these challenging years of Ian’s long battle with dementia.”

Bairnson, who grew up in Shetland, was a session guitarist before rising to prominence after joining the former Bay City Rollers musicians David Paton and Billy Lyall to form Pilot in 1973.

Several members of the band went on to form the Alan Parsons Project, a rock band that was together from 1975 to 1990.

Bairnson also played with Bucks Fizz, co-writing two of their top 20 hits, If You Can’t Stand the Heat and Run for Your Life. He stopped performing in 2018 after being diagnosed with a” progressive neurological condition”.