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Key to keys

Don Airey was a guest on Rick Wakeman’s Key to Keys this Wednesday, December 21, which aired on BBC Radio 2.

In this first show Rick also chats to fellow rock pianist Don Airey. Keyboard player with Deep Purple since 2002 he has also written and played keyboards for artists like Gary Moore, Ozzy Osbourne, Rainbow and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Rick and Don chat about how he started his career playing on a cruise ship before being spotted playing live in a London club and being invited to play with Cozy Powell. Don also treats us to a live version of one of his own compositions on the Elton John piano.

Lots of hilarious anecdotage in this one, from the story of Jon Lord meeting Brian Wilson, to the 5-minute audition for Purple, to “I surrender, I surrender, livin’ down the road from our Brenda”.

The show is also available via BBC iPlayer (and will be available there until January 20th). Don’s interview starts at approximately 32 minutes into the show, right after Hush.

Thanks to Nigel Young for the info and the clip.

15 Comments to “Key to keys”:

  1. 1
    Andy says:

    Two Greats!!! 😉

  2. 2
    Nigel Young says:

    Wednesday, 21st.

  3. 3
    Nick Soveiko says:

    oops! thanks.

  4. 4
    Blackwood Richmore says:

    Splendiferous. Don, you da man!. Merry Christmas to you & to everyone reading this. Well, I have a little something for you all….





    Enjoy!. Now don’t say I never gave you anything….. Lol.

    BTW, ex Black Sabbath singer Tony Martin has a Christmas song on youtube called ‘Who Put The Devil In Santa?’. It’s a corker, but I don’t have the https address for it.

    Happy holidays everybody & smiles to ya.

  5. 5
    Tommy H. says:

    What Don is doing in Purple is already great but I must say I kind of start to realise that his previous projects impress me even more, as well as the easiness he seems to have when he approaches the music of all these different bands. One must be blessed with loads of talent to do this. Though I miss his very own signature when I listen to his music because I fail to identify it – it seems to be snowed under. The only thing which is really missing in his impressive CV is that he had never founded a successful band himself (e.g. like Jon did with Purple) nor had he been part of a band being on top at that time (e.g. Deep Purple Mark II, Rainbow with Dio, etc.). I’m sure that he would have left a much bigger footprint. Instead it seems that he always jumped in after someone else already set the tone which is quite an invidious task for a man of his talents. Still a career like this is simply awesome.

  6. 6
    scottbuster2000 says:

    With Jon, Keith Gone these are the Last two Standing

  7. 7
    Adel says:

    Don is a nice guy but he is too nice to make his mark among other artists. look at Roger he is too nice too and not too many people talk about him. They are both the quiet ones.
    Everyone still talks about how Richie and Ian never got on and their bitter in fights.
    Talent and odd character makes you famous. The nice normal ones they tend to fade away.
    ‘To notice such things’ what a great work by Jon Lord. I bet you if Jon Lord was an odd charter it would have been compared to work by Mozart or Bach!!!

  8. 8
    Michael says:

    Rick Wakeman is a hero!!! Love his work with Yes!

  9. 9
    KC1961 says:

    Enjoyed listening to that. Wish it’d been longer.

  10. 10
    standa says:

    I am always surprised that few people only visit great shows Don Airey & Friends. (Around 200 people). And then during Deep Purple shows thousands and thousands celebrate his virtuosity. I’m not sure if fans prefer the “brand Deep Purple” more than the ability of individual members. I’m glad to see next year in Prague, all of my heroes: Deep Purple Don Airey, Glenn Hughes.
    Long Live Rock n’Roll.

  11. 11
    Ole says:

    Would love to hear a ballad written by Don and Ian Gillan.

  12. 12
    Tracy(Zero the Hero)Heyder says:

    Blackwood Richmore @ 4;

    Got your back bro…


  13. 13
    Albertz says:

    Great interview.

    Can’t recommend Colosseum II’s Electric Savage & Wardance albums too highly – phenomenal musicianship. Seek out the short BBC Sight & Sound thing they did – genuinely up there with best show I’ve ever heard.

  14. 14
    Jeff Summers says:

    Dons role in DP is that of a full member. He is making his mark as an individual (like Steve) but still tipping his hat to the great Jon Lord. I saw Don many times live with Colloseum II An amazing band (especially when they had Mike Starrs on vocals) Don had a similar role then Swapping licks and solos with the late great Gary Moore. Don’s way to great a musician and composer to just be a sideman. HAPPY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!!!

  15. 15
    Dave Alder says:

    Fantastic interview… Not heard “Dark Side…” for god knows how long…

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