“The Bulls loved it immediately. Michael Jordan loved it”: He appeared on smash hits by Kate Bush and Paul McCartney, but this unsung session guitar hero's most popular solo can be heard in one of the most iconic sports anthems of all time

Ian Bairnson performs with the Alan Parsons Project at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, California on October 11, 1996
(Image credit: Jim Steinfeldt/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Ian Bairnson is one of those session guitar greats whose name may not ring a bell, but whose playing is nothing short of ubiquitous.  

Bairnson – who sadly passed away last April – played a dazzling guitar solo on Kate Bush's groundbreaking hit, Wuthering Heights, lent electric guitar work to albums by Kenny Rogers and Tom Jones, served as a live guitarist for Sting and Stanley Clarke, and even appeared on Paul McCartney's chart-topping Mull of Kintyre (on backing vocals).

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Jackson Maxwell

Jackson is an Associate Editor at GuitarWorld.com. He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player. Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder and Unrecorded. Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.