Fairbairn was active as a producer from 1976 to 1999. His most successful productions are Slippery When Wet and New Jersey by Bon Jovi, Permanent Vacation, Pump, and Get a Grip by Aerosmith, The Razors Edge by AC/DC, and Balance by Van Halen, each of which sold at least five million copies. He was a trumpet player, then started a career as a record producer for the Canadian rock band Prism. He won the Canadian music industry Producer of the Year Juno Award three times. He produced albums for many well-known international artists such as Loverboy, Blue Öyster Cult, Bon Jovi, Poison, Aerosmith, AC/DC, Scorpions, Van Halen, Chicago, The Cranberries, INXS, Kiss and Yes.
Fairbairn died suddenly on May 17, 1999 due to unknown causes.