Ian Anderson

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Ian Anderson

Ian Anderson.jpg
Anderson performing in Milan, Italy, 2006
Background information
Birth nameIan Scott Anderson
Born (1947-08-10) 10 August 1947 (age 71)
Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland
Origin Blackpool, Lancashire, England
Genres Progressive rock, folk rock, hard rock, blues rock
Occupation(s)Musician, composer, singer-songwriter
Years active1962–present
Labels Chrysalis, Fuel 2000, RandM, Angel, EMI
Associated acts Jethro Tull, Roy Harper, Dave Pegg, David Goodier, Doane Perry, Peter-John Vettese, Andrew Giddings, Martin Barre, Steven Wilson, Toto, Scott Hammond
Website IanAnderson.com

Ian Scott Anderson MBE (born 10 August 1947) is a Scottish-born musician, singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist best known for his work as the lead vocalist, flutist and acoustic guitarist of British rock band Jethro Tull. Anderson plays several other musical instruments, including keyboards, bass guitar, bouzouki, balalaika, saxophone, harmonica, and a variety of whistles. His solo work began with the 1983 album Walk into Light , and since then he has released another five works, including the sequel to the Jethro Tull album Thick as a Brick (1972) in 2012, entitled Thick as a Brick 2 .

Flute musical instrument of the woodwind family

The flute is a family of musical instruments in the woodwind group. Unlike woodwind instruments with reeds, a flute is an aerophone or reedless wind instrument that produces its sound from the flow of air across an opening. According to the instrument classification of Hornbostel–Sachs, flutes are categorized as edge-blown aerophones. A musician who plays the flute can be referred to as a flute player, flautist, flutist or, less commonly, fluter or flutenist.

Rock and roll is a genre of popular music that originated and evolved in the United States during the late 1940s and early 1950s from musical styles such as gospel, jump blues, jazz, boogie woogie, and rhythm and blues, along with country music. While elements of what was to become rock and roll can be heard in blues records from the 1920s and in country records of the 1930s, the genre did not acquire its name until 1954.

Jethro Tull (band) British rock band

Jethro Tull are a British rock band formed in Blackpool, Lancashire, in 1967. Initially playing blues rock, the band later developed their sound to incorporate elements of hard and folk rock to forge a progressive rock signature. The band is led by vocalist/flautist/guitarist Ian Anderson, and has featured a revolving door of lineups through the years including significant members such as guitarists Mick Abrahams and Martin Barre, keyboardist John Evan, drummers Clive Bunker, Barriemore Barlow, and Doane Perry, and bassists Glenn Cornick, Jeffrey Hammond, John Glascock, and Dave Pegg.


Early life

Ian Anderson was born in Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland, the youngest of three brothers. His father, James Anderson, ran the RSA Boiler Fluid Company in East Port, Dunfermline. [1] Anderson spent the first part of his childhood in Edinburgh. He was influenced by his father's big band and jazz records and the emergence of rock music, but was disenchanted with the "show biz" style of early American rock and roll stars like Elvis Presley. [2]

Dunfermline Town in Fife, Scotland

Dunfermline is a town and former Royal Burgh, and parish, in Fife, Scotland, on high ground 3 miles (5 km) from the northern shore of the Firth of Forth. The town currently has a recorded population of 50,380 in 2012, making it the most populous locality in Fife and the 11th most populous in Scotland.

Fife Council area of Scotland

Fife is a council area and historic county of Scotland. It is situated between the Firth of Tay and the Firth of Forth, with inland boundaries to Perth and Kinross and Clackmannanshire. By custom it is widely held to have been one of the major Pictish kingdoms, known as Fib, and is still commonly known as the Kingdom of Fife within Scotland. Fife is one of the six local authorities part of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland city region.

Scotland Country in Europe, part of the United Kingdom

Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Sharing a border with England to the southeast, Scotland is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, the North Sea to the northeast, the Irish Sea to the south, and the North Channel to the southwest. In addition to the mainland, situated on the northern third of the island of Great Britain, Scotland has over 790 islands, including the Northern Isles and the Hebrides.

His family moved to Blackpool, Lancashire, England, in 1959, where he was educated at Blackpool Grammar School. [3] In a 2011 interview, Anderson said he was asked to leave grammar school for refusing to submit to corporal punishment (still permitted at that time). [4] He studied fine art at Blackpool College of Art from 1964 to 1966 while living in Lytham St Annes. [5]

Lytham St Annes town in the Fylde district of Lancashire, England

Lytham St Annes is a seaside resort on the Fylde coast of Lancashire, England, south of Blackpool on the Ribble Estuary. The population at the 2011 census was 42,954.


Early career

While a teenager, Anderson took a job as a sales assistant at Lewis's department store in Blackpool, then as a vendor on a news stand.[ citation needed ]


Lewis's was a chain of British department stores that operated from 1856 to 2010. The parent companies of Lewis's have gone into administration many times over the years, including 1991. The first store, which opened in Liverpool city centre, became the flagship of the chain of stores operating under the Lewis's name. Several stores in the chain were bought in 1991 by the company Owen Owen and continued to operate under the Lewis's brand name for several years, but after the closure of the Manchester store in 2002, only the original Liverpool store continued to trade under the Lewis's name. This store was sold in 2007 to the Vergo Retail Ltd and closed in 2010.

In 1963, he formed The Blades from among school friends: Michael Stephens (guitar), John Evan (keyboards), Jeffrey Hammond (bass) and Barriemore Barlow (drums). This was a soul and blues band, with Anderson on vocals and harmonica – he had yet to take up the flute. They played their first show at the Holy Family Church Hall in North Shore. [5]

John Evan keyboard player (Jethro Tull)

John Evan is a British musician and composer. He is best known for having played keyboards for Jethro Tull from April 1970 to June 1980. He was educated at King's College London.

Jeffrey Hammond British musician

Jeffrey Hammond, sometimes credited as Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond, is an artist, musician, and former bass guitar player for the progressive rock band Jethro Tull.

Barrie "Barriemore" Barlow is an English musician, best known as the drummer and percussionist for the rock band Jethro Tull, from May 1971 to June 1980.

In late 1967, Anderson was still holding down a day job, namely cleaning the Ritz Cinema in Luton, including the toilets, in the mornings, "which took me half the day" he said in a later interview. He took an old, chipped urinal from the cinema storeroom and had it for a time after leaving the job. It was not, however, the urinal which "was bolted to the side of John Evan's Hammond organ on stage" and figured in early 1970s Tull performances. [6]

Luton Large town in Bedfordshire, England

Luton is a large town, borough and unitary authority area of Bedfordshire, in the East of England. It has a population of 214,700 (mid-2017 est.) and is one of the most populous towns without city status in the United Kingdom. The town is situated on the River Lea, about 30 miles (50 km) northwest of London. Earliest settlements in the Luton area can be traced back over 250,000 years, but the town's foundation dates to the sixth century as a Saxon outpost on the River Lea, from which Luton derives its name. Luton is recorded in the Domesday Book as Loitone and Lintone and one of the largest churches in Bedfordshire, St Mary's Church, was built in the 12th century. There are local museums which explore Luton's history in Wardown Park and Stockwood Park.

Urinal A sanitary fixture for urination

A urinal is a sanitary plumbing fixture for urination only. Urinals are usually used in a standing position and are popular with male users. Urinals can be with automatic or manual flushing, or without flush water as is the case for waterless urinals. They can be arranged as single sanitary fixtures or in a trough design without privacy walls.

Anderson performing with Jethro Tull, Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Canada 24 March 1977 Jethro Tull Ian.jpg
Anderson performing with Jethro Tull, Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Canada 24 March 1977

At this time Anderson abandoned his ambition to play electric guitar, allegedly because he felt he would never be "as good as Eric Clapton". As he himself tells it in the introduction to the video Nothing Is Easy: Live at the Isle of Wight 1970 , he traded his electric guitar in for a flute which, after some weeks of practice, he found he could play fairly well in a rock and blues style. According to the sleeve notes for the first Tull album, This Was (1968), he had been playing the flute only a few months when the album was recorded. His guitar practice did not go to waste either, as he continued to play acoustic guitar, using it as a melodic and rhythmic instrument. As his career progressed, he added soprano saxophone, mandolin, keyboards and other instruments to his arsenal.

His tendency to stand on one leg while playing the flute came about by accident, as he had been inclined to stand on one leg while playing the harmonica, holding the microphone stand for balance. Anderson was known for his famous one-legged flute stance, and was once referred to as a "deranged flamingo". [7] This stance is on many album covers of Jethro Tull. During a long stint at the Marquee Club, a journalist described him, wrongly, as standing on one leg to play the flute, when in fact he was originally playing the harmonica on one leg. [8] He decided to live up to the reputation, albeit with some difficulty. His early attempts are visible in The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus (1968) film appearance of Jethro Tull. This was referenced in the facetious liner notes for Thick as a Brick in a quote about "the one-legged pop flautist, Ian Anderson".

Later career

Anderson with Jethro Tull at London's Hammersmith Odeon, March 1978 Jethro Tull 5.jpg
Anderson with Jethro Tull at London's Hammersmith Odeon, March 1978

Anderson already wished to start a solo career in 1980, when Jethro Tull was going to take a break after John Glascock's death. He wrote the album A as a solo record, but Martin Barre and Dave Pegg's participation led the album to be released under the Jethro Tull name, causing the old band to split. His first official solo album was Walk into Light , in 1983, in which Peter-John Vettese played an important role in the electronic direction of the music.

In the 1990s he began working with simple bamboo flutes. He uses techniques such as over-blowing and hole-shading to produce note-slurring and other expressive techniques on this otherwise simple instrument. Anderson said that around this time his daughter began taking flute lessons and noticed his fingering was incorrect, prompting him to relearn the instrument with the correct fingering. [9] In 1995, Anderson released his second solo album, Divinities: Twelve Dances with God , an instrumental work composed of twelve flute-heavy pieces pursuing varied themes with an underlying motif. The album was recorded with Jethro Tull keyboard player Andrew Giddings and orchestral musicians. Anderson released two further song-based solo albums, The Secret Language of Birds in 2000 and Rupi's Dance in 2003. In 2003, Anderson recorded a composition called "Griminelli's Lament", in honour of his friend, the Italian flutist Andrea Griminelli.

In 2011, with the end of Jethro Tull touring, and the question of his friend Derek Shulman (whatever happened to Gerald Bostock?), [10] Anderson begun to produce a sequel to Thick as a Brick (1972), entitled Thick as a Brick 2 or TAAB2, was released on 3 April 2012. It is billed as being performed by Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson instead of being a Jethro Tull album proper. Anderson toured performing both albums in their entirety. A trailer for TAAB2 was posted on YouTube. [11]

Anderson released a new album, Homo Erraticus , in May 2014. He described it as a progressive rock concept album blending rock, folk, and metal music.[ citation needed ] Peaking at No. 14 in the UK Albums Chart it is his most successful ever solo album.

In September 2017, Anderson announced plans for a tour to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of This Was, and a new studio album in 2019. The band line-up includes Anderson, Hammond, Opahle, O'Hara, and Goodier (all musicians of Anderson's solo band since 2012), [12] with Barre absent from the lineup.

On 2 January 2018, Ian Anderson published a New Year post on jethrotull.com, including a picture of Anderson with the caption "IA in the studio working on a new album for release March 2019. Shhhh; keep it a secret..." [13]

On 1 June 2018, Parlophone Records released a new (50-track) career collection celebrating the Jethro Tull's 50th anniversary featuring all 21 Tull albums, named 50 for 50 . In the notes of the 50 for 50 booklet it is said that the new album scheduled for 2019 will be a solo record by Ian Anderson and not a new album by Jethro Tull.


Anderson at the 2004 Cropredy Festival Ian-Anderson Cropredy.jpg
Anderson at the 2004 Cropredy Festival

In 1973, Anderson appeared, along with several other artists, on the cover of Time , for an article about new directions in early 1970s music. [14]

In recognition of his lifelong contribution to popular music, Anderson received two honours in 2006: the Ivor Novello Award for International Achievement and an honorary Doctorate of Literature at Heriot-Watt University, on 11 July 2006 [15]

Anderson was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2008 New Year Honours for services to music. [16]

He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate (Doctor of Letters) from Abertay University in July 2011. [17]

At the 2013 Progressive Music Awards, Anderson was presented with the "Prog God" award by fellow musician Rick Wakeman. [18]

Musical collaborations and other work

Anderson produced Steeleye Span's 1974 album Now We Are Six , as well as appearing on and producing Steeleye Span member Maddy Prior's first solo album Woman in the Wings (1978), for which Jethro Tull made most instrumental contributions.

Ian Anderson plays the Orchestral Jethro Tull - in Butzbach (Germany) 6 June 2007. Ian Anderson OJT 1200.jpg
Ian Anderson plays the Orchestral Jethro Tull – in Butzbach (Germany) 6 June 2007.

Anderson appeared as a guest on the song "All Along You Knew" from The Big Prize (1985), the second album by Canadian rock band Honeymoon Suite. This followed Jethro Tull's 1984 tour, on which Honeymoon Suite was one of the opening acts. Also in 1984, Anderson, along with Martin Barre, Dave Pegg and Peter-John Vettese recorded album A Classic Case with the London Symphony Orchestra, performing a selection of music from Jethro Tull. He was also a DJ on radio station Planet Rock, presenting his own two-hour show Under the Influence. He also appeared on stage with Joe Bonamassa playing Jethro Tull song "A New Day Yesterday" at the Hammersmith Apollo in May 2010.

Anderson plays flute on the Men Without Hats song "On Tuesday" from their album Pop Goes the World (1987), and on the Blackmore's Night song "Play, Minstrel, Play" from their debut album Shadow of the Moon (1997).

Anderson plays flute on the 1998 Roy Harper album The Dream Society . Anderson has acknowledged Harper as having a strong influence upon him. [19]

Ian Anderson performing 2016 at the blacksheep festival, Germany Ian Anderson blacksheep 2016 3921.jpg
Ian Anderson performing 2016 at the blacksheep festival, Germany

Anderson performs as a special guest on two Uriah Heep live albums: Acoustically Driven (2001) and Electrically Driven (2001), on both performing the same two songs of Uriah Heep repertoire: "Circus" and "Blind Eye".

Anderson plays flute on the track "Portmeirion" on Fairport Convention's 2001 album XXXV . Anderson has performed with Fairport Convention at their annual Cropredy Festival on several occasions since the mid-1980s, when their bass player Dave Pegg was also a member of Jethro Tull.

Anderson played flute and sang lead vocals on a version of "The Thin Ice" for the 2005 album Back Against the Wall , an all-star tribute album covering Pink Floyd's The Wall in its entirety.

In April 2011, Anderson performed a flute duet with astronaut Cady Coleman, during her mission aboard the International Space Station, in honour of the 50th anniversary of the first manned spaceflight by Yuri Gagarin. [20]

Anderson played the flute on the track "Cannonball" by The Darkness on their 2012 album, Hot Cakes . He played the flute on the track "Cry to the World" by Renaissance on their 2013 album, Grandine il vento . He also played the flute on "The Ocean at the End", the title track from The Tea Party's 2014 album.

Anderson plays flute in Zagreb, Croatia, on 13 October 2018. Jethro Tull u Zagrebu 2018 - Ian Anderson.jpg
Anderson plays flute in Zagreb, Croatia, on 13 October 2018.

He contributed flute on the song "Black Cherry Pie", the third single from JEFF the Brotherhood's 2015 album, Wasted on the Dream . [21]

On 24 March 2017 the studio album Jethro Tull – The String Quartets by Ian Anderson was released, featuring the Carducci String Quartet, conducted by John O'Hara.

Family and personal life

Anderson is the youngest of three brothers. The oldest of the three, Robin, became administrator of Scottish Ballet in 1973. [1]

From 1970 to 1974, Anderson was married to Jennie Franks, a photographer who is credited with some of the lyrics to the first couple of verses of the song "Aqualung". [22]

Anderson married Shona Learoyd in 1976, described by Rolling Stone magazine as a "beautiful convent-educated daughter of a wealthy wool manufacturer". [23] She had studied ballet for 10 years, though when Anderson met her she was working as a press officer at Jethro Tull's record label at the time, Chrysalis Records. She later became involved with the band's on-stage special effects.

The couple have lived in a 16th-century redbrick farmhouse on the 500-acre (2.0 km2) Pophleys Estate in Radnage, England, in Kilmarie House on their Strathaird Estate on the Isle of Skye in Scotland, as well as a short time in Montreux, Switzerland. They currently live in Wiltshire, England, and have a house again in Switzerland, near Montreux. They have two children: James Duncan Anderson, also a musician; and Gael, who works in the film industry and is married to actor Andrew Lincoln, star of the US TV drama series The Walking Dead . [24]

Anderson is a survivor of deep vein thrombosis, and has done several public service announcements to raise awareness of the disease. [25]

Among his interests Anderson lists protecting wild cats, especially those that have been rescued from harsh captivity; cameras, chiefly Leicas; and Indian cuisine – he has written a beginner's guide, thus far published only on the internet. [26]

Anderson describes himself as being "somewhere between deist and pantheist" religiously, according to his foreword to the pamphlet for his 2006 St Brides charity concerts for the homeless. [27]

Other business activities

Anderson has owned several salmon farms in the UK. His Strathaird concern, [28] based on his estate on the Isle of Skye, operated until the late 1990s, when parts of it were sold off. [29]

Anderson is a director of four companies: Jethro Tull Production Limited, Calliandra Productions Limited, Ian Anderson Limited, and the Ian Anderson Group of Companies Limited. [30]

Solo discography

Studio albums

YearNameLabelPeak chart position
US UK [31] GER
1983 Walk into Light Chrysalis/EMI Records 20278
1995 Divinities: Twelve Dances with God Angel/EMI Records
2000 The Secret Language of Birds Fuel 2000/Varèse Sarabande/Universal Records 26
2003 Rupi's Dance RandM Records 40
2012 Thick as a Brick 2 [32] Chrysalis/EMI Records 553513
2014 Homo Erraticus [33] Kscope 1111413

Live albums

YearNameLabelPeak chart position
US UK [31] GER
2005 Ian Anderson Plays the Orchestral Jethro Tull ZYX Music 68 (CD)
3 (DVD)
2014 Thick as a Brick - Live in Iceland Eagle Rock 22


As guest

Related Research Articles

<i>Thick as a Brick</i> 1972 studio album by Jethro Tull

Thick as a Brick is the fifth studio album by the British rock band Jethro Tull, released in March 1972. The album contains a continuous piece of music, split over two sides of an LP record, and is a parody of the concept album genre. The original packaging, designed like a newspaper, claims the album to be a musical adaptation of an epic poem by fictional eight-year-old genius Gerald Bostock, though the lyrics were actually written by the band's frontman, Ian Anderson.

<i>Aqualung</i> (Jethro Tull album) 1971 studio album by Jethro Tull

Aqualung is the fourth studio album by the rock band Jethro Tull, released in 1971. It is regarded, despite the band's disagreement, as a concept album featuring a central theme of "the distinction between religion and God". The album's "dour musings on faith and religion" have marked it as "one of the most cerebral albums ever to reach millions of rock listeners". Aqualung's success signalled a turning point in the band's career, which went on to become a major radio and touring act.

<i>A Passion Play</i> 1973 album by Jethro Tull

A Passion Play is the sixth studio album by Jethro Tull, released in July 1973 in both UK and US. Like its predecessor, Thick as a Brick (1972), it is a concept album comprising individual songs arranged into a single continuous piece of music. The theme of the concept is apparently the spiritual journey of one man in the afterlife. In the original tour to support the album, three videos were used: one for the intro of the "play", a second for "The Story of the Hare Who Lost His Spectacles", and a final short segment to conclude the act. The whole of the concert was the high water mark of Jethro Tull's elaborate stage productions.

<i>A</i> (Jethro Tull album) 1980 studio album by Jethro Tull

A is the 13th studio album by Jethro Tull. It was released on 29 August 1980 in the UK and 1 September of the same year in the United States. The album was recorded in the summer of 1980 using Maison Rouge Mobile and Maison Rouge Studios in Fulham, London. Eddie Jobson guested on the album, playing keyboards and electric violin. The album was produced by Ian Anderson and Robin Black.

<i>Minstrel in the Gallery</i> 1975 studio album by Jethro Tull

Minstrel in the Gallery is the eighth studio album by British band Jethro Tull, recorded in April and released in September 1975. The album goes in a different direction from their previous work War Child (1974), with the orchestration being replaced by a string quartet conducted by David Palmer. The band also returned to the blend of electric and acoustic pieces, in a manner closer to their early '70s albums such as Benefit (1970), Aqualung (1971) and Thick as a Brick (1972), and for the first time since their two concept albums of Thick as a Brick (1972) and A Passion Play (1973), they recorded a song of more than ten minutes, which occupies almost all of the second side of the record.

<i>War Child</i> (album) 1974 studio album by Jethro Tull

War Child is the seventh studio album by Jethro Tull, released in October 1974. It was released almost a year and a half after the release of A Passion Play. The turmoil over criticism of the previous album surrounded the production of War Child, which obliged the band to do press conferences and explain their plans for the future.

Martin Barre British guitarist

Martin Lancelot Barre is an English rock musician best known for his work with progressive rock band Jethro Tull, with whom he recorded and toured from their second album in 1969 to the band's initial dissolution in 2012. In the early 1990s he went solo, and has recorded four studio albums and made several guest appearances.

Clive William Bunker is a British rock drummer. He was the original drummer in the British band Jethro Tull. Never a self-professed technical drummer, Bunker's technique was based on a throbbing, gritty engagement with the essence of blues and rock and roll, and he was influenced by Ginger Baker and Mitch Mitchell. He was also inspired by Buddy Rich and The Hollies' Bobby Elliott.

Jonathan Noyce British musician

Jonathan Mark Thomas Noyce is an English musician. He plays electric bass instruments and is primarily known as a member of British rock group Jethro Tull, with whom he toured and recorded as a member from 1995 until 2007. Noyce is also known for his long association with guitarist Gary Moore.

David Goodier English musician

David Goodier is an English musician. He has been the bassist for the rock band Jethro Tull from 2007 until the band went on a hiatus in 2012, and again from 2017 when Ian Anderson started to tour again using the Jethro Tull name, with Goodier and keyboardist John O'Hara the only former Jethro Tull members to join Anderson.

<i>Live at Madison Square Garden 1978</i> 2009 video by Jethro Tull

Live at Madison Square Garden 1978 is a concert video and an album by English Rock band Jethro Tull, released in 2009. It was recorded on 9 October 1978 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

<i>Thick as a Brick 2</i> 2012 studio album by Ian Anderson

Thick as a Brick 2, abbreviated TAAB 2 and subtitled Whatever Happened to Gerald Bostock?, is the fifth studio album by Jethro Tull frontman Ian Anderson, released in 2012 as a follow-up of Thick as a Brick, Jethro Tull's highly acclaimed 1972 parody concept album. It entered the Billboard chart at No. 55.

Scott Hammond (musician) British musician

Scott Hammond is an English freelance drummer. He plays with Ian Anderson and has also toured with Jethro Tull itself. He has been described as a "Jazz drummer with rock influences".

Florian Opahle is a German rock musician, best known for his work with progressive rock artist Ian Anderson of band Jethro Tull, with whom he has played since 2003. From 2017 he is in a new line-up of Jethro Tull.

Ryan O'Donnell was born in November 1982 in Halifax, Yorkshire, but grew up in Germany. After earning a degree in animation at the Surrey Art Institute he joined the metal band 2 Degree Field as a singer and guitarist. The band broke up when all the members finished college. He then went to study acting at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, where he met his mentor, the conductor John O'Hara.

The Witch's Promise is a single by the British rock band Jethro Tull, released in January 1970, on the Chrysalis label. It reached No. 4 in the UK Singles Chart, and was promoted by an appearance on the British chart show Top of the Pops. The B-side was "Teacher", which later appeared on the US release of the album Benefit. In the United States the single was released on the Reprise label.

Songs from the Wood (song)

"Songs from the Wood" is the title track off of English rock band Jethro Tull's album Songs from the Wood. Written by frontman Ian Anderson, it features a folk-rock style that characterizes the Songs from the Wood album.


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