by Ian Anderson
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Ian Anderson, known throughout the world of rock music as the
flute and voice behind the legendary Jethro Tull, celebrates his 49th year as
an international recording and performing musician in 2017.
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 during
five 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 seven diverse albums under his own
name during a long 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
acoustic collections of songs, The Secret Language of Birds, Rupi’s
Dance, plus rock albums Thick As A Brick 2, 2014’s Homo
Erraticus, and out in 2017—“The String Quartets,” his collaboration
with England’s The Carducci String Quartet.
In recent years, he has toured more and more as simply Ian
Anderson, often with orchestras, string quartets, featured soloists.
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 40 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, now preparing to
shoot the 8th series as the most-watched TV drama ever.
Ian's hobbies include the growing of many varieties of hot chili
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.