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Updated Jan 2012
Ian Anderson, known throughout the world of rock music as the
flute and voice behind the legendary Jethro Tull, celebrates
his 44th year as an international recording and performing musician
Ian was born in 1947 in Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland. After attending
primary school in Edinburgh, his family relocated to Blackpool
in the north of England in 1959. Following a traditional Grammar
school education, he moved on to Art college to study fine art
before deciding on an attempt at a musical career.
Tull formed in 1968 out of the amalgamation of the John Evan
Band and McGregor's Engine, two blues-based local UK groups.
After a lengthy career, Ian Anderson and Jethro Tull have released
30 studio and live albums, selling more than 60 million copies
since the band first performed at London's famous Marquee Club
in February 1968.
After undertaking more than 3000 concerts in 40 countries throughout
four decades, he has typically played 100-plus concerts each
year to longstanding, as well as new fans worldwide. Widely
recognized as the man who introduced the flute to rock music,
Ian Anderson remains the crowned exponent of the popular and
rock genres of flute playing. So far, no real pretender to the
throne has stepped forward. Ian also plays ethnic flutes and
whistles together with acoustic guitar and the mandolin family
of instruments, providing the acoustic textures which has been
an integral part of most of the Tull repertoire.
Anderson has so far recorded four diverse solo albums in his
career: 1983's "Walk Into Light", the flute instrumental
"Divinities" album for EMI's Classical Music Division
in 1995 which reached number one in the relevant Billboard chart,
and the more recently recorded acoustic collections of songs,
"The Secret Language of Birds", and “Rupi’s
Dance”. New recordings are scheduled for release in 2012
In recent years, he has toured more and more under his own name
in solo concerts with orchestras, string quartets, featured
soloists and in his other eclectic acoustic shows. Most of the
concerts scheduled for 2012 and 2013 will feature the Thick
As A Brick sequel, TAAB2 – Whatever Happened To
Gerald Bostock? as well as the original Thick As A
Brick album, both performed in their entirety live or, on some
shows, various other repertoire staples and favourites.
Anderson lives on a farm in the southwest of England where he
has a recording and rehearsal studio and offices. He has been
married for 36 years to Shona who is also an active director
of their music and other companies. They have two children -
James and Gael – and two grandchildren. Gael is married
to actor Andrew Lincoln, currently shooting more episodes of
the hugely-acclaimed zombie thriller, The Walking Dead, for
TV broadcast in 2012 and 2013.
His hobbies include the growing of many varieties of hot chile
peppers, the study and conservation of the 26 species of small
wildcats of the world and the appreciation of mechanical watches,
fountain pens and vintage cameras. He reluctantly admits to
owning digital cameras and scanners for his work on the photographic
promotional images related to Tull as well as his solo career.
In 2006, he was awarded a Doctorate in Literature from Heriot
Watt University in Edinburgh, the Ivor Award for International
Achievement in Music and, in the New Years Honours List 2008,
an MBE for services to music. In 2011, he received another Doctorate
in Literature from Dundee University.
Ian owns no fast car, never having taken a driving test, and
has a wardrobe of singularly uninspiring and drab leisurewear.
He still keeps a couple of off-road competition motorcycles,
a few sporting guns and a saxophone which he promises never
to play again.
He declares a lifelong commitment to music as a profession,
being far too young to hang up his hat or his flute, although
the tights and codpiece have long since been consigned to some
forgotten bottom drawer.