top of page

Don Airey

Although he is currently recognized as a member of "Deep Purple", his keyboards playing can be heard on over three hundred albums (!!!), which places him as one of the most recorded musicians of all time.

(Photo: Flickr)

Ladies and gentlemen today we are going to tell you about legendary keyboardist Don Airey, who was part of so many lineups and contributed his talent to a long line of masterpiece albums. Here are some interesting facts about him:

1. He was born in Sunderland England on June 21, 1948, as Donald Smith Airey.

2. He was greatly influenced by his father Norman Airey's love of music and began playing the piano at the age of 3. As a teenager, Airey switched to other keyboard instruments including the Hammond organ.

3. Although he studied classical music, he also specialized in other musical styles, performing in local clubs with rock and jazz ensembles.

4. He continued his musical education at the University of Nottingham, where he graduated with a degree in music and also received a diploma from The Royal Northern College of Music.

5. In 1971 he traveled the world playing on cruise ships, to Africa, the USA, and the Far East.

6. His first major appearance in a rock band was with Cozy Powell's band, whom he joined in 1974.

7. In 1976, Don joined the fusion band "Colosseum II" and recorded the albums "Strange New Flesh", "Electric Savage" and "Wardance" with them.

8. Don later briefly joined "Black Sabbath" and played keyboards on the album "Never Say Die!".

9. He will then respond to Cozy Powell's call and join "Rainbow". He was a member of the band for 3 years and took part in the albums "Down to Earth" and "Difficult to Cure".

10. At the end of his tour with "Rainbow", in 1980, Don played in Ozzy Osbourne's "Blizzard Of Ozz" album and among other things created the masterful intro to the song "Mr. Crowley".

11. Don will board Ozzy's "Crazy Train" and stay with him for another three years, during which he will play in the albums "Diary of a Madman", "Speak of the Devil" and "Bark At The Moon".

12. During the 80's Don became a sought-after session player for many artists and among other things participated in the albums "Out In The Fields" by Gary Moore and the album "1987" by "Whitesnake".

13. In 1987, Don joined "Jethro Tull" touring Europe and the United States.

14. He left "Jetro Tull" in January 1988 to compose his solo album "K2", recorded with Gary Moore and Cozy Powell. Since then Don has released 5 more studio albums as part of his solo career.

15. From 1989 to 1991, he returned to work with Gary Moore and among other things played keyboards and served as arranger on the album "Still Got the Blues", which became the best-selling blues album ever.

16. In 1991 he also participated in the "Painkiller" album of "Judas Priest" and later also in the albums "Demolition" and "Nostradamus".

17. In 1997 he adapted and conducted "Love Shine a Light" for "Katrina and the Waves" and helped them win the Eurovision Song Contest as representatives of the United Kingdom.

18. In 2001 came the opportunity to join "Deep Purple". Don managed - on a day's notice - to replace his friend Jon Lord ahead of "Deep Purple's" tour.

19. Since then Don has participated in all of "Deep Purple's" studio albums and he continues to perform with them to this day, around the world.

20. As we wrote at the beginning, Don has recorded hundreds of albums, including those of the following artists: "ELO", Brian May, Bernie Marsden, Graham Bonnet, "Wishbone Ash" Tony Iommi, Bruce Dickinson, Uli Jon Roth, "UFO" and more.

Follow us on Facebook or Subscribe to our website

"Face/Off" - Israel's Rock Blog & Podcast


Enjoying the Blog? Subscribe to get it right to your mail!

Thank you !!

bottom of page