Ian Anderson


Ian Scott Anderson (born 10 August 1947) is a Scottish musician, singer and songwriter best known for his work as lead vocalist,
flautist The flute is a family of musical instruments in the woodwind group. Unlike woodwind instruments with Reed (instrument), reeds, a flute is an aerophone or reedless wind instrument that produces its sound from the flow of air across an opening. Acc ...
, acoustic guitarist and leader of British
rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is categorized by the minerals included, its Chemical compound, chemical composition and the way in w ...
band Jethro Tull. He is a multi-instrumentalist who, in addition to flute and acoustic guitar, plays keyboards, electric guitar, bass guitar,
bouzouki The ''bouzouki'' (, also ; el, μπουζούκι ; alt. pl. ''bouzoukia'', from Greek ), also spelled ''buzuki'' or ''buzuci'', is a popular in . It is a member of the long-necked lute family, with a round body with a flat top and a long neck ...
balalaika The balalaika (russian: link=no, балала́йка, ) is a Russian stringed musical instrument A musical instrument is a device created or adapted to make Music, musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound can be considere ...

saxophone The saxophone is a type of with a conical body, usually made of . As with all single-reed instruments, sound is produced when a on a vibrates to produce a sound wave inside the instrument's body. The is controlled by opening and closing hole ...

harmonica The harmonica, also known as a French harp or mouth organ A mouth organ is any free reed aerophone A free reed aerophone is a musical instrument that produces sound as air flows past a vibrating reed (instrument), reed in a frame. Air pressu ...

, and a variety of
whistle A whistle is an instrument which produces sound from a stream of gas, most commonly air. It may be mouth-operated, or powered by air pressure, steam, or other means. Whistles vary in size from a small slide whistle or nose flute type to a large m ...

s. His solo work began with the 1983 album '' Walk into Light''; since then he has released another five works, including the sequel to the Jethro Tull album ''
Thick as a Brick ''Thick as a Brick'' is the fifth studio album by the British rock band Jethro Tull, released in March 1972. The album contains a continuous piece of music, split over two sides of an LP record The LP (from "long playing" or "long play") ...
'' (1972) in 2012, titled '' Thick as a Brick 2''.

Early life

Ian Anderson was born in
Dunfermline Dunfermline (; sco, Dunfaurlin, gd, Dùn Phàrlain) is a town and former Royal Burgh, and parish, in Fife, Scotland, on high ground from the northern shore of the Firth of Forth. The town recorded a population of 50,380 in 2012, making it th ...
Fife Fife (, ; gd, Fìobha, ; sco, Fife) is a council area{{Unreferenced, date=May 2019, bot=noref (GreenC bot) A council area is one of the areas defined in Schedule 1 of the Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994 and is under the control of ...

Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba ) is a country that is part of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Tele ...

, the youngest of three brothers. His father, James Anderson, ran the RSA Boiler Fluid Company in East Port, Dunfermline. Anderson's family moved to
Edinburgh Edinburgh (; sco, Edinburgh; gd, Dùn Èideann ) is the capital city of Scotland and one of its 32 Council areas of Scotland, council areas. Historically part of the county of Midlothian (interchangeably Edinburghshire before 1921), it is ...

when he was three. He was influenced by his father's
big band A big band is a type of musical ensemble A musical ensemble, also known as a music group or musical group, is a group of people who perform Instrumental music, instrumental or vocal music, with the ensemble typically known by a distinct na ...

big band
jazz Jazz is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music Music is the art of arranging sounds in time to produce a composition through the elements of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. ...
records and the emergence of rock music, but was disenchanted with the "showbiz" style of early American
rock and roll Rock and roll (often written as rock & roll, rock 'n' roll, or rock 'n roll) is a genre of popular music Popular music is music with wide appeal that is typically distributed to large audiences through the music industry. These forms and sty ...
stars like
Elvis Presley Elvis Aaron Presley (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977) was an American singer and actor. Dubbed the "Honorific nicknames in popular music, King of Rock and Roll", he is regarded as Cultural impact of Elvis Presley, one of the most si ...

Elvis Presley
. His family moved in 1959 to
Blackpool Blackpool is a large town and seaside resort A seaside resort is a resort town, town, village, or hotel that serves as a Resort, vacation resort and is located on a coast. Sometimes the concept includes an aspect of official accreditation ba ...

, England, where he was educated at Blackpool Grammar School. In a 2011 interview, Anderson said he was asked to leave grammar school for refusing to submit to corporal punishment (permitted at that time). He studied fine art at Blackpool College of Art from 1964 to 1966 while living in
Lytham St Annes Lytham St Annes () is a seaside town in the Borough of Fylde in Lancashire Lancashire ( ; abbreviated Lancs.) is a ceremonial county and geographical area in North West England. The ceremonial county's administrative centre is Preston ...


Early career

While a teenager, Anderson took a job as a sales assistant at
Lewis's Lewis's was a chain of British department store A department store is a retail Retail is the process of selling consumer goods or Service (economics), services to customers through multiple distribution channel, channels of distributi ...
department store in Blackpool, then as a vendor on a news stand. In 1963, he formed The Blades from among school friends: Michael Stephens (guitar),
John Evan John Evan (born John Spencer Evans; born 28 March 1948, in Blackpool, Lancashire) is a British musician and composer. He is best known for having played keyboards for Jethro Tull (band), Jethro Tull from April 1970 to June 1980. He was educated ...
Jeffrey Hammond Jeffrey Hammond (born 30 July 1946), often known by his former stage name Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond, is an artist and retired musician best known for being the bassist of progressive rock band Jethro Tull from 1971 to 1975. With Jethro Tull, Ha ...
(bass) and
Barriemore Barlow Barrie "Barriemore" Barlow (born 10 September 1949, Birmingham Birmingham ( ) is a City status in the United Kingdom, city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands (county), West Midlands, England. It is the second-largest city, urban ...
(drums). This was a
soul In many religious, philosophical, and myth Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives that play a fundamental role in a society, such as foundational tales or origin myths. The main characters in myths are usually non-humans, such as ...

blues Blues is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music Music is the art of arranging sounds in time to produce a composition through the elements of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. ...
band, with Anderson on vocals, guitar and harmonica – he had yet to take up the flute. They played their first show at the Holy Family Church Hall in
North ShoreNorth Shore may refer to: Geographic features Australia *North Shore (Sydney), suburban region of Sydney **Electoral district of North Shore **North Shore railway line, Sydney *Noosa North Shore, Queensland *North Shore, a suburb of Port Macquar ...
. In late 1967, Anderson was still holding down a day job, namely cleaning the Ritz Cinema in Luton, including the toilets, in the mornings, "which took me half the day" he said in a later interview. He took an old, chipped urinal from the cinema storeroom and had it for a time after leaving the job. It was not, however, the urinal which "was bolted to the side of John Evan's Hammond organ on stage" and figured in early 1970s Tull performances. At this time Anderson abandoned his ambition to play electric guitar, allegedly because he felt he would never be "as good as Eric Clapton". As he himself tells it in the introduction to the video ''Nothing Is Easy: Live at the Isle of Wight 1970'', he traded his electric guitar in for a flute which, after some weeks of practice, he found he could play fairly well in a rock and blues style. According to the sleeve notes for the first Tull album, ''This Was'' (1968), he had been playing the flute only a few months when the album was recorded. His guitar practice did not go to waste either, as he continued to play acoustic guitar, using it as a melodic and rhythmic instrument. As his career progressed, he added soprano saxophone, mandolin, keyboards and other instruments to his arsenal. His tendency to stand on one leg while playing the flute came about by accident, as he had been inclined to stand on one leg while playing the harmonica, holding the microphone stand for balance. Anderson was known for his famous one-legged flute stance, and was once referred to as a "deranged flamingo". This stance is on many album covers of Jethro Tull. During a long stint at the Marquee Club, a journalist described him, wrongly, as standing on one leg to play the flute, when in fact he was originally playing the harmonica on one leg. He decided to live up to the reputation, albeit with some difficulty. His early attempts are visible in ''The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus'' (1968) film appearance of Jethro Tull. This was referenced in the facetious liner notes for ''
Thick as a Brick ''Thick as a Brick'' is the fifth studio album by the British rock band Jethro Tull, released in March 1972. The album contains a continuous piece of music, split over two sides of an LP record The LP (from "long playing" or "long play") ...
'' in a quote about "the one-legged pop flautist, Ian Anderson".

Later career

Anderson already wished to start a solo career in 1980, when Jethro Tull was going to take a break after John Glascock's death. He wrote the album ''A (Jethro Tull album), A'' as a solo record, but had JT's Martin Barre participation, and Dave Pegg on bass. Record company pressure forced the record to be released under the Jethro Tull name. His first official solo album was '' Walk into Light'', in 1983, in which Peter-John Vettese played an important role in the electronic direction of the music. In the 1990s he began working with simple bamboo flutes. He uses techniques such as over-blowing and hole-shading to produce note-slurring and other expressive techniques on this otherwise simple instrument. Anderson said that around this time his daughter began taking flute lessons and noticed his fingering was incorrect, prompting him to relearn his extensive catalog with the right fingering. In 1995, Anderson released his second solo album, ''Divinities: Twelve Dances with God'', an instrumental work composed of twelve flute-heavy pieces pursuing varied themes with an underlying motif. The album was recorded with Jethro Tull keyboard player Andrew Giddings and orchestral musicians. Anderson released two further song-based solo albums, ''The Secret Language of Birds'' in 2000 and ''Rupi's Dance'' in 2003. In 2003, Anderson recorded a composition called "Griminelli's Lament", in honour of his friend, the Italian flutist Andrea Griminelli. In 2011, with the end of Jethro Tull touring, and the question of his friend Derek Shulman (whatever happened to Gerald Bostock?), Anderson begun to produce a sequel to ''
Thick as a Brick ''Thick as a Brick'' is the fifth studio album by the British rock band Jethro Tull, released in March 1972. The album contains a continuous piece of music, split over two sides of an LP record The LP (from "long playing" or "long play") ...
'' (1972), titled '' Thick as a Brick 2'' or ''TAAB2'', was released on 3 April 2012. It is billed as being performed by Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson instead of being a Jethro Tull album proper. Anderson toured performing both albums in their entirety. A trailer for ''TAAB2'' was posted on YouTube. Anderson released a new album, ''Homo Erraticus'', in May 2014. He described it as a progressive rock concept album blending rock, folk, and metal music. Peaking at No. 14 in the UK Albums Chart it is his most successful ever solo album. In September 2017, Anderson announced plans for a tour to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of ''This Was'', and a new studio album in 2019. The band line-up includes Anderson, Hammond, Opahle, O'Hara, and Goodier (all musicians of Anderson's solo band since 2012), with Barre absent from the lineup. On 2 January 2018, Ian Anderson published a New Year post on jethrotull.com, including a picture of Anderson with the caption "IA in the studio working on a new album for release March 2019. Shhhh; keep it a secret..." On 1 June 2018, Parlophone Records released a new (50-track) career collection celebrating the Jethro Tull's 50th anniversary featuring all 21 Tull albums, named ''50 for 50''. In the notes of the ''50 for 50'' booklet it is said that the new album scheduled for 2019 will be a solo record by Ian Anderson and not a new album by Jethro Tull. Interviewed in October 2019, Anderson said he planned to finish the new album by February 2020 and to release it in September 2020.


In 1973, Anderson appeared, along with several other artists, on the cover of ''Time (magazine), Time'', for an article about new directions in early 1970s music. In recognition of his lifelong contribution to popular music, Anderson received two honours in 2006: the Ivor Novello Award for International Achievement and an honorary Doctorate of Literature at Heriot-Watt University, on 11 July 2006 Anderson was appointed Order of the British Empire, Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2008 New Year Honours for services to music. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate (Doctor of Letters) from Abertay University in July 2011. At the 2013 Prog (magazine), Progressive Music Awards, Anderson was presented with the "Prog God" award.

Musical collaborations and other work

Anderson produced Steeleye Span's 1974 album ''Now We Are Six (album), Now We Are Six'', as well as appearing on and producing Steeleye Span member Maddy Prior's first solo album ''Woman in the Wings'' (1978), for which Jethro Tull made most instrumental contributions. Anderson appeared as a guest on the song "All Along You Knew" from ''The Big Prize'' (1985), the second album by Canadian rock band Honeymoon Suite (band), Honeymoon Suite. This followed Jethro Tull's 1984 tour, on which Honeymoon Suite was one of the opening acts. Also in 1984, Anderson, along with Martin Barre, Dave Pegg and Peter-John Vettese recorded album ''A Classic Case'' with the London Symphony Orchestra, performing a selection of music from Jethro Tull. He was also a DJ on radio station Planet Rock (radio station), Planet Rock, presenting his own two-hour show ''Under the Influence''. He also appeared on stage with Joe Bonamassa playing Jethro Tull song "A New Day Yesterday" at the Hammersmith Apollo in May 2010. Anderson plays flute on the Men Without Hats song "On Tuesday" from their album ''Pop Goes the World'' (1987), and on the Blackmore's Night song "Play, Minstrel, Play" from their debut album ''Shadow of the Moon'' (1997). Anderson plays flute on the 1998 Roy Harper (singer), Roy Harper album ''The Dream Society''. Anderson has acknowledged Harper as having a strong influence upon him. Anderson performs as a special guest on two Uriah Heep (band), Uriah Heep live albums: ''Acoustically Driven'' (2001) and ''Electrically Driven'' (2001), on both performing the same two songs of Uriah Heep repertoire: "Circus" and "Blind Eye". Anderson plays flute on the track "Portmeirion" on Fairport Convention's 2001 album ''XXXV (album), XXXV''. Anderson has performed with Fairport Convention at their annual Cropredy Festival on several occasions since the mid-1980s, when their bass player Dave Pegg was also a member of Jethro Tull. Anderson played flute and sang lead vocals on a version of "The Thin Ice" for the 2005 album ''Back Against the Wall'', an all-star tribute album covering Pink Floyd's ''The Wall'' in its entirety. In April 2011, Anderson performed a flute duet with astronaut Cady Coleman, during her mission aboard the International Space Station, in honour of the 50th anniversary of the first manned spaceflight by Yuri Gagarin. Anderson played the flute on the track "Cannonball" by The Darkness (band), The Darkness on their 2012 album, ''Hot Cakes''. He played the flute on the track "Cry to the World" by Renaissance (band), Renaissance on their 2013 album, ''Grandine il vento''. He also played the flute on "The Ocean at the End", the title track from The Tea Party (band), The Tea Party's 2014 album. He contributed flute on the song "Black Cherry Pie", the third single from JEFF the Brotherhood's 2015 album, ''Wasted on the Dream''. On 24 March 2017 the studio album ''Jethro Tull – The String Quartets'' by Ian Anderson was released, featuring the Carducci String Quartet, conducted by John O'Hara. The official video for Marc Almond's song 'Lord of Misrule', taken from his 2020 album ''Chaos and a Dancing Star'' was released on YouTube on 29 November 2019, featuring Ian Anderson playing flute throughout.

Family and personal life

Anderson is the youngest of three brothers. The oldest of the three, Robin, became administrator of Scottish Ballet in 1973. From 1970 to 1974, Anderson was married to Jennie Franks, a photographer who is credited with some of the lyrics to the first couple of verses of the song "Aqualung (song), Aqualung". Anderson married Shona Learoyd in 1976, described by ''Rolling Stone'' magazine as a "beautiful convent-educated daughter of a wealthy wool manufacturer". She had studied ballet for 10 years, though when Anderson met her she was working as a press officer at Jethro Tull's record label at the time, Chrysalis Records. She later became involved with the band's on-stage special effects. The couple have lived in a 16th-century redbrick farmhouse on the Pophleys Estate in Radnage, England, in Kilmarie House on their Strathaird Estate on the Isle of Skye in Scotland, as well as a short time in Montreux, Switzerland. They currently live in Wiltshire, England, and have another house in Switzerland, near Montreux. They have two children: James Duncan Anderson, also a musician; and Gael, who works in the film industry and is married to actor Andrew Lincoln, star of the US TV drama series ''The Walking Dead (TV series), The Walking Dead''. Anderson is a survivor of deep vein thrombosis, and has done several public service announcements to raise awareness of the disease. Among his interests, Anderson lists protecting wild cats, especially those that have been rescued from harsh captivity; cameras, chiefly Leica Camera, Leicas; and Indian cuisine – he has written a beginner's guide, thus far published only on the internet. Anderson describes himself as being "somewhere between deism, deist and pantheism, pantheist" religiously, according to his foreword to the pamphlet for his 2006 St Brides charity concerts for the homeless. During a video interview for ''The Big Interview with Dan Rather'' in May 2020, Anderson said he was suffering from the incurable chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) after being diagnosed a number of years previously. He went on to state his belief that a likely cause of this condition has been the use of on-stage smoke machines in live performances throughout his long career. Anderson continued medication to treat the condition, avoided areas of high pollution to avoid exacerbation of the disease, and practised breathing exercises to keep his lungs fit, stating that COPD had otherwise not yet affected his day-to-day routine.

Other business activities

Anderson has owned several Aquaculture of salmon, salmon farms in the UK and Chile. His Strathaird concern, based on his estate on the Isle of Skye, operated until the late 1990s, when parts of it were sold off. Anderson is a director of four companies: Jethro Tull Production Limited, Calliandra Productions Limited, Ian Anderson Limited, and the Ian Anderson Group of Companies Limited.

Solo discography

Studio albums

Live albums


*''Jethro Tull – The String Quartets'' (Bertelsmann Music Group, BMG, 2017) with the ''Carducci String Quartet'' As guest * Honeymoon Suite (band), Honeymoon Suite: ''The Big Prize'' (Warner Music Canada, 1986); Anderson plays flute on "All Along You Knew" * Men Without Hats: ''Pop Goes The World'' (Mercury Records, 1987); Anderson plays flute on the track "On Tuesday" * Six and Violence, The Six and Violence: ''Lettuce Prey'' (Fist Records, 1990); Anderson plays on "Bursting Bladder" and "Theological Guns" * Blackmore's Night: ''Shadow of the Moon'' (Edel SE & Co. KGaA, Edel, 1997); Anderson plays flute on "Play Minstrel Play" * James Taylor Quartet: ''Room at the Top'' (Sanctuary Records, 2002); Anderson plays flute on "Free" * Magellan (band), Magellan: ''Hundred Year Flood'' (Magna Carta Records, 2002); Anderson plays flute on "Family Jewels" * Silverwood Quartet: ''The Classic Rock Album'' (2005); Anderson plays flute on "Bourrée" * Billy Sherwood: ''Back Against the Wall'' (Cleopatra Records, 2005); Anderson plays flute and sings lead vocals on "Thin Thin Ice" and plays flute on "Is There Anybody Out There?" * Various Artists: ''Asia and Progressive Rock Friends'' (2008); Anderson sings and plays flute on "The Thin Ice" * Eric Brooke: ''The Road to Here'' (2011); Anderson plays flute on "O.K.(Live) " * Saori Jo: ''Home 2.17 AM'' (2012); Anderson plays flute on "Fairy World" * Unnur Birna: ''Sunshine'' (2013); Anderson plays flute on "Sunshine" * Anna Phoebe: ''Between the Shadow and the Soul'' (2014); Anderson plays flute on "A Moment's Deception" * Boris Grebenshchikov: ''Salt'' (2014); Anderson plays flute on "Любовь во время войны" * Renaissance (band), Renaissance: ''Symphony of Light'' (2014); Anderson plays flute on "Cry to the World" * Tiles (band), Tiles:
Pretending 2 Run
' (Laser's Edge, 2016); Anderson plays flute on "Midwinter" * Helen Andrews: ''Circling Highs, Unravelling Lows'' (2016); Anderson plays flute on "Behind the Glass" * John Cooper Clarke & Hugh Cornwell: ''This Time It's Personal (John Cooper Clarke and Hugh Cornwell album), This Time It's Personal'' (2016); Anderson plays flute on "MacArthur Park" * Tim Bowness: ''Lost in the Ghost Light'' (2017); Anderson plays flute on "Distant Summers" * Tinkara: ''Cuori di ossigeno'' (2017); Anderson plays flute on "Maldamore" * Steeleye Span: ''Est'd 1969'' (2019); Anderson plays flute on "Old Matron" * Heather Findlay: ''Wild White Horses'' (2019); Anderson plays flute on "Winner" * Mandoki Soulmates: ''Living in the Gap + Hungarian Pictures'' (2020); Anderson sings and plays flute on "Let the Music Show You the Way" * Louise Patricia Crane: ''Deep Blue (Louise Patricia Crane album), Deep Blue'' (Peculiar Doll Records, 2020); Anderson plays flute on "Snake Oil" and "Ophelia" * Steve Bailey: ''Carolina'' (2020); Anderson plays flute on "Bourrée" * Robby Steinhardt: ''Not In Kansas Anymore / A Prog Opera'' (2021); Anderson plays flute and pennywhistle on "Pizzacato (A Slice For Baby Boy Flynn)"


External links

Jethro Tull - The Official Website of the Legendary Classic Rock Band
Ian Anderson's biography by Stephen Thomas Erlewine, discography and album reviews, credits & releases
at AllMusic.com
Ian Anderson's discography, album releases & credits
at Discogs, Discogs.com
Ian Anderson's solo albums to be listened
as stream at Spotify, Play.Spotify.com {{DEFAULTSORT:Anderson, Ian Jethro Tull (band) members Angel Records artists Anglo-Scots British rock flautists British folk rock musicians 20th-century Scottish male singers Scottish male singer-songwriters Scottish baritones Scottish flautists Scottish rock guitarists Scottish male guitarists Scottish folk musicians Scottish multi-instrumentalists Scottish rock singers 21st-century Scottish male singers Chrysalis Records artists EMI Records artists Island Records artists People educated at Blackpool Grammar School Progressive rock guitarists Progressive rock musicians Members of the Order of the British Empire Ivor Novello Award winners People from Blackpool People from Dunfermline Musicians from Edinburgh 1947 births Living people British deists Pantheists