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Brian Thomas Ray (January 4, 1955) is an American musician, composer and singer, best known for his work as guitarist, bassist and producer of the British musician Paul McCartney, although he has also worked with a long list of artists.
Brian Ray grew up in California, United States, and when he was nine, he started playing the guitar. His older sister Jean, from duo Jim and Jean, instilled in Brian his interest in rock music through his record collection. Jean invited Brian to play at LA Troubadour when he was 15 years old. She was, in her own words, “probably the most important and influential person” in Ray’s life.
In 1973, shortly after graduating, Ray began playing with Bobby Pickett and The Crypt Kicker Five, playing “Monster Mash” at a charity concert organized by and for Phil Kaufman. Kaufman contacted Ray and later introduced him to the singer Etta James in an essay at the Troubadour club.
During his work with James, Ray also shared the stage with musicians such as Keith Richards, Santana, Joe Cocker, Bonnie Raitt, John Lee Hooker and Bo Diddley, among others. During this time he also began composing his own songs. Ray spent much of the late 1980s collaborating with musicians such as Peter Frampton, Rita Coolidge and Steve LeGassick, who collaborated frequently with Ray when composing songs. His partnership with LeGassick produced “One Heartbreak,” a Smokey Robinson hit that garnered more than 2,000,000 radio broadcasts.
Ray joined Paul McCartney’s band during the recording of the album Driving Rain (2001) and on the album promotion tour. Since then, he has appeared on numerous recordings of the musician Back in the World, Back in the U.S. and Memory Almost Full, as well as feature-length films and documentaries such as Paul McCartney in Red Square, The Space Within US and Good Evening New York City.
In addition to his work as a session musician, Ray has also worked as a Producer with Artists such as Kelly Clarkson, Shakira with the Album Eyes So, Juanes Loco de Amor and Paul McCartney with the Album NEW in 2015, he has also worked for feature film soundtracks such as Heartbreakers (1984) and The Failures (2002) In 2011, Ray formed the band The Bayonets with Oliver Leiber.
In 2006, after several decades working as a session musician, Ray published Mondo Magneto, his first solo album. According to his words: “People always asked me when I was going to do my own work, I guess I was very busy.” Mondo Magnetto had the collaboration of musicians such as Scott Shriner, Davey Faragher, Abe Laboriel, Jr., Wix Wickens and Rusty Anderson.
In 2009, he revealed that he was working on a second album, titled This Way Up.
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