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Updated 05/09/2013


Piper Alpha
Eric Rigler

The Piper Alpha was a North Sea oil production platform operated by Occidental Petroleum (Caledonia) Ltd. It accounted for around ten per cent of the oil and gas production from the North Sea at the time. The platform began production in 1976, first as an oil platform and then later converted to gas production. An explosion and resulting fire destroyed it on July 6, 1988, killing 167 men, 62 men were pulled from the sea. To date it is the world's worst offshore oil disaster in terms of lives lost and impact to industry.

Eric Rigler (above) is an American player of the Uilleann pipes, Great Highland Bagpipes, and tin whistle. He plays on his own and with the band Bad Haggis, and has been featured on a number of movie soundtracks.  He has been described as "the most recorded bagpiper of all time".  He has been playing all forms of bagpipes and tin whistles since he was a child, performing solo, with bagpipe bands and other musical groups. It has been said that if one hears bagpipes in a movie or on television, it is most likely to be Eric Rigler. His playing was recently featured in a commercial for Titleist Golf and episodes of Battlestar Galactica.

He has been featured playing Great Highland bagpipes, Uilleann pipes and tin whistle on numerous movie soundtracks, including Titanic, Million Dollar Baby, Road to Perdition, Braveheart, Cinderella Man, Robots, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, DreamWorks's The Prince of Egypt, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World and critically acclaimed South Korean TV series Jewel in the Palace. He can also be regularly heard playing whistles and Uilleann pipes on the NBC show Crossing Jordan, and his arrangement of an Irish tune was used as the theme song during the first season.  He was also featured on TV's USA Network in the 2006 Victoria's Secret fashion show, playing the bagpipes for the Highland romance sequence and for the AFI Lifetime Achievement celebration for Sean Connery.

Rigler played "Amazing Grace" at former President Ronald Reagan's funeral in 2004.

Rigler has performed with numerous musicians of many different styles, most famously with Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser and Skyedance. His work can be heard on CDs by Keith Urban, Barbra Streisand, Rod Stewart, Josh Groban, Phil Collins, Rubén Blades, Meat Loaf and others.

Rigler plays pipes and whistles in the Celtic World Fusion band he formed, Bad Haggis, based in Southern California. He occasionally performs with L.A. Irish Rockers The Young Dubliners. Rigler wrote the tunes "The B-52" and "Walking the Plank", which are performed by World Pipe Band Champion Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band of Northern Ireland, the Los Angeles Scottish Pipe Band, and other top level bagpipe bands throughout the world.