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Don Airey Biography

  • August 4, 2012 4:19 PM EDT



    Born in Sunderland, in 1948, Don Airey turned professional upon graduating from the Royal Northern College of Music in 1972. After touring the club and cruise ship circuit he moved to London, where he joined Cozy Powell's band Hammer in 1974. In 1975 he joined jazz/rock actColosseum II, recording three albums with them between 1975-78, and also working with Andrew Lloyd-Webber on the theme music for the 'South Bank Show' TV arts programme.
     

    In December 1978 Don joined up with Cozy Powell for a second time, this time in Rainbow. His tenure included the band's most commercially successful years from 1979-1981, playing on the hit singles 'Since You Been Gone', 'All Night Long' and 'I Surrender'.
     

    He joined Ozzy Osbourne's band until 1985, having already played on the 'Blizzard Of Ozz' album in 1980 (and also Black Sabbath's 'Never Say Die' in 1978) . He was next drafted in to play keyboards on Whitesnake's enormously successful '1987' album, and later its follow up 'Slip Of The Tongue'. Don also contributed (both live and in the studio) to such acts as Alaska, Jethro Tull, and Gary Moore, as well as recording a solo album, K2, in 1988.
     

    The 90's saw him composing music for corporate ID's (everything from British Airways to Glenfiddich Whiskey) , as well as playiing on sessions, and group projects such as Quatermass IIwith Nick Simper, and Silver with ex-Gillan guitarist Bernie Torme. In 1997 he arranged the Eurovision Song Contest winner 'Love Shine A Light' for Katrina & The Waves. He also toured with Uli Jon Roth, ELO II, Brian May, Colin Blunstone, The Bonnet / Airey Band, and from 1998-2001Company of Snakes (reliving former glories with Whitesnake!).
     

    In August 2001, Deep Purple invited Don to temporarily replace Jon Lord for a European tour. That invitation was extended to a permanent residency in 2002. Just like Purple bandmate Steve Morse, Airey often has different group and solo projects on the go, so it was no great surprise when he teamed up with Steve, plus his old Ozzy Osbourne bandmates Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake for the (still ongoing) Living Loud project in 2003.


    Source:  http://www.deep-purple.net/tree/don-airey.htm