Guitar that accompanied Kate Bush’s debut to be sold at auction

Guitarist Ian Bairnson, who played the Wuthering Heights solo with his arm in a plaster cast after breaking it, died last year.

Rod Minchin
Monday 20 May 2024 12:05 BST
The guitar on which Ian Bairnson played the solo at the end of Kate Bush’s classic debut hit Wuthering Heights is expected to sell for up to £10,000 at auction (Gardiner Houlgate/PA)
The guitar on which Ian Bairnson played the solo at the end of Kate Bush’s classic debut hit Wuthering Heights is expected to sell for up to £10,000 at auction (Gardiner Houlgate/PA)

The guitar on which the solo at the end of Kate Bush’s classic debut hit Wuthering Heights was played is expected to sell for up to £10,000 at auction.

Guitarist Ian Bairnson, who played the piece with his arm in a plaster cast after breaking it, died last year aged 70, and his collection of instruments is being auctioned by his family.

The guitar, a 1974 Les Paul Custom, will be sold at Gardiner Houlgate auctioneers in Wiltshire and is expected to attract bids of up to £10,000.

It is part of a collection of 12 guitars and equipment belonging to the late musician.

Wuthering Heights was Bush’s breakthrough single in 1978 and was at number one in the charts for four weeks.

In addition to working with Bush, Bairnson was the guitarist with 1970s British pop band Pilot, whose top 20 single Magic appears in the Adam Sandler film Happy Gilmore.

He also played with the Alan Parsons Project, featuring on a number of their hits, including Eye In The Sky.

Originally a session musician, Bairnson worked on albums by performers such as Joe Cocker and Mick Fleetwood and toured with Sting, Eric Clapton and Beverley Craven.

Auctioneer Luke Hobbs said: “Ian Bairnson was a musician’s musician and his guitar used on Wuthering Heights is a very relevant to today’s market, considering the enduring appeal of Kate Bush.

“We’re selling his collection of 12 guitars, amps and equipment, which I think could fetch up to £30,000 in total.”

The use of Bush’s track Running Up That Hill in the Netflix series Stranger Things in 2022 led to a new generation of fans discovering the British singer-songwriter.

Music streaming service Spotify reported that the song achieved more than one billion streams.

The auction will also feature guitars from the estate of Whitesnake guitarist Bernie Marsden, an Eric Clapton-used prototype 000-28EC acoustic guitar, two of Gary Moore’s Gibson Les Paul guitars, two guitars once owned by Fleetwood Mac’s Peter Green, a Jaco Pastorius-used Zemaitis bass, and other artist-owned gear.

They will go under the hammer on Tuesday June 11.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in