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The Alan Parsons Project

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The Alan Parsons Project The Best of Alan Parsons Project album cover
2.63 | 49 ratings | 12 reviews | 12% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 1983

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. I Wouldn't Want to Be Like You (3:12)
2. Eye in the Sky (4:36)
3. Games People Play (4:19)
4. Time (4:59)
5. Pyramania (2:43)
6. You Don't Believe (4:28)
7. Lucifer (4:12)
8. Psychobabble (4:52)
9. Damned If I Do (3:35)
10. Don't Let It Show (3:32)
11. Can't Take It with You (4:44)
12. Old and Wise (4:08)

Total Time 49:20

Line-up / Musicians

- Colin Blunstone / vocals
- Elmer Gantry / vocals
- Lenny Zakatek / vocals
- David Paton / bass, guitar, vocals
- Ian Bairnson / guitar
- Stuart Elliott / drums & percussion
- Dean Ford / vocals
- Jack Harris / vocals
- David Townsend / vocals
- Eric Woolfson / keyboards, vocals
- Alan Parsons / keyboards, vocals

Releases information

CD Arista ARCD-8193

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THE ALAN PARSONS PROJECT The Best of Alan Parsons Project ratings distribution

(49 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(12%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(31%)
Good, but non-essential (29%)
Collectors/fans only (21%)
Poor. Only for completionists (6%)

THE ALAN PARSONS PROJECT The Best of Alan Parsons Project reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by daveconn
3 stars Front-loaded with goodies, left sagging listlessly at the end, "The Best of The Alan Parsons Project" isn't exactly a cavalcade of hits. Still (and PROJECT-iles can cover their ears for this part) I don't think the band had twelve great songs in their career to choose from. There's no denying that the opening quartet of songs is classic PARSONS, inextricably connected to the progressive pop of the late '70s and early '80s but appreciable today nonetheless. And some pleasant songs follow, from the playful "Pyramania" to the purposeful "Can't Take It With You." But the slight attraction I've felt toward the band stems from their marriage of ambitious concepts, immaculate production value and mildly hypnotic instrumentals. You'll find those ingredients in various measures on their first six studio albums, but you won't find them here. "The Best of The Alan Parsons Project" focuses on their commercial singles, one facet of a multi-faceted outfit. ("Lucifer" is an instrumental track that hardly balances the proceedings.) While I've enjoyed these songs in their original context, it was the music that separated these songs ("Nucleus," "The Turn of a Friendly Card"," "Silence And I") that made the more commercial moments palatable. Here it's all too sweet. And the decision to exclude "Day After Day (The Show Must Go On)" or anything from their first album seems shortsighted. So it appears Arista was aiming at radio listeners who were familiar with THE PROJECT's popular hits and might be curious enough to buy an entire album of their music, rather than longtime fans who were looking for a succinct career summation. I've always had difficulty warming up to APP anyway, so maybe it's no wonder that "The Best of The Alan Parsons Project" leaves me cold.
Review by Guillermo
4 stars This is a good compilation of some high quality "commercial songs" or songs played in the Radio (or even used in T.V. ads for cars, as "Lucifer" in my country many years ago). But even if some songs were for Radio playing, I have to say that the recording and mixing of these songs is also of high quality, as expected from a recording engineer/producer like Alan Parsons. This album shows an equal production quality, even if the songs were taken from different albums. There are not tracks from APP`s first album, as this album was released by a different label. I bought this album mainly for "Time", a song I have listened in the Radio in the eighties. APP had very good musicians apart from Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson, and even if there are several changes of personnel in the tracks, the sound, "the concept" of the APP remains the same. Andrew Powell is a very good orchestral arrangement, and his work in "Time" is a good example of this. My favourite songs from this album are "Time", "Damned if I do", "Don`t let it show", "Can`t take it with you" and "Old and Wise". It seems that some of the songs are shorter than the original versions, like they were edited or cut to be included in this compilation, but it doesn`t matter. The CD version of this album has a very good sound quality.
Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Prog Specialist
3 stars I usually don't buy or review compilations, because simply lacks of sense to listen a song out of it's natural context (The way it was recorded in the original version and the tracks that are to be listened with it).

I'm even less interested when it's the case of a band like Alan Parsons Project that started their career strongly but turned weak and ultra commercial progressively with each new release (paradoxical way to use this term).

But there was something in this album that caught my attention, even when I believe that Eve is one of the worst albums ever recorded by an originally progressive band, Andrew Powell's Orchestral arrangements in Damned if I do are among my favorites, so the time I saw this album in the shelf of a store at the price of 3 bucks, decided to buy it instead of going with the terrible Eve.

To be honest the album is not bad, mostly not progressive but the songs personally selection by Alan Parsons include some of the best from their commercial years plus a couple of tracks from the more prog' oriented I Robot and Pyramid it's also important to notice that the production is outstanding as in every album by this band.

The Best of Alan Parsons Project starts with "I Wouldn't Want to be Like You" from I Robot, somehow jazzy with an excellent guitar work, good but still not the best song from the album based on Isaac Asimov's novel, mostly because of the drumming that sounds too mechanical for my taste.

Eye in the Sky (Same title album) and Games People Play (Turn of a Friendly Card) are just weak songs recorded for commercial purpose that IMO don't deserve to be commented, except for the trivia fact that Eye in the Sky reached the top of the pop chart in various parts of the world.

"Time" also from The Turn of a Friendly Card is one of the highlights of the album, nothing more than a poppy ballad, but the performance of the band is extremely strong, the piano is delightful and the vocals by Ian Woolfson are very appropriate. Who said that only progressive songs can be good?

The next track "Pyramania" from the album Pyramid is just a joke about people's fascination with all the Ancient Egypt issues during the 70's, would be funny if the lead vocals by Jack Harris weren't absolutely annoying.

"You Don't Believe" is originally a hit single that was later included in the album Ammonia Avenue (Released one year after this compilation), simple but effective track with good vocals by Lenny Zakatek, a bit electronic for my taste, but not bad.

"Lucifer" from Eve is a track that doesn't deserve more comments than a word or two about the good choirs wasted by Andrew Powell in this mediocre song, something that can't be said about the even worst Psychobabble, there's nothing that saves this hybrid mixture of genres.

At last it's the turn of the song that made me buy this compilation, "Damned if I Do", a track that normally wouldn't ever caught my attention, but the very good vocals by Lenny Zakatek, a couple of dramatic changes but specially the amazing orchestral arrangements by the very competent Andrew Powell made of this track one of my guilty pleasures.

"Don't let it Show" is another excellent track from I Robot, a good and solemn ballad where the vocals by Dave Townsend (Don't understand why he didn't sung many APP tracks) are perfectly enhanced by the surprising piano and organ, an excellent song.

The next song, "Can't Take it with You" from Pyramid as most of the racks from this album has a clear Ancient Egyptian atmosphere that makes the music pleasant and mysterious, the strange whistle at the beginning and end (Probably flute or Ocarina, not sure though) makes the song unforgettable

The album is closed by "Old and Wise" not the best choice for this purpose, soft calmed with piano and the characteristic vocals of Colin Blunstone, but has the problem never reaches the climax required to close an album not even with the jazzy saxophone at the end of the track..

Sadly The Best of Alan Parsons Project doesn't include a single track from their excellent debut "Tales of Mystery and Imagination" so it doesn't give a complete idea of the evolution of the band (more precisely involution in the case of this band), but if you want to have some of their best songs without having to buy some really weak albums like Eve or Eye in the Sky, this is a good choice.

Three stars is the correct rating for one of the few compilations that could be considered better than the original albums.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Lazy

The trouble with any "Best of" collection when it comes to Alan Parsons is, it merely serves to accentuate the radio friendly, commercial appeal of selected tracks from each album. When part of the whole of the original studio albums, these tracks slip nicely into place. Placed consecutively on the same album though, they become something approaching a chart compilation.

Now don't misunderstand me, this music here is well composed, well performed, and highly enjoyable. At the risk of sounding like a prog nerd, the problem however is that there simply isn't any challenge to the listening. This is music to listen to while you're washing the dishes, going for a jog, etc. You can tap your toes to the lightly up-beat numbers, sing heartily to the ballads, and all the while not need to pay the slightest bit of attention to what you are hearing.

There can be no criticism of the tracks selected for this compilation, other than the fact that there are too few of them. A running time of 48 minutes for a CD compilation is simply not good enough, even if it was originally released in LP format. Anyone remotely familiar with the work of the Alan Parsons Project will know these songs well. Bizarrely though, there are no tracks from what many consider to be their best album, "Tales of mystery and imagination".

This is music for the masses. It is a lazy compilation which does nothing to promote the work of this fine band (or project, call it what you will).

Review by Chicapah
2 stars Considering that this studio group did their "best" progressive work on their first project and then proceeded bit by bit and song by song to slip farther into the mainstream as a literal hit machine then this, indeed, can be considered their best stuff (I reckon). Following their promising, prog-laden debut, most of their subsequent albums would have a featured tune earmarked for radio and the rest of the material would consist of tracks that more or less imitated whatever trend was "happening" when they recorded the LP and the bulk of those cuts would be quite lame. What I'm saying is if you want prog then procure a copy of "Tales of Mystery and Imagination - Edgar Allan Poe," but if you want a compilation of the greatest hits from the catalogue of compositions that followed then here ya go!

While "I Wouldn't Want to be Like You" isn't a horrible song in theory, it is pure disco from beginning to end and that inane, monotonous beat brings back too many awful memories of that excruciating era for me to handle. "Eye in the Sky" has a pleasant aura about it but it also tends to put me to sleep from lack of excitement in any way, shape or form. The most interesting tune on this whole thing is the energetic "Games People Play" with its sequenced synthesizer, spacey middle section and the exquisite Stratocaster guitar tone and performance on the lead break. A very good song but, unfortunately, it's the exception rather than the rule. "Time" is an example of their tendency to come off as Pink Floyd Lite in that the number has certain elements of that great band's sound but none of the adventurous spirit or depth of character. It should be played at every high school senior prom for its sappy, bittersweet "farewell" theme.

"Pyromania" is one of those baffling "greatest hits" inclusions because I've never heard the tune before in my life. It garnered absolutely no airplay in my region of the planet and, with its ridiculous "new wave" atmosphere, it's no wonder. It's putrid. "You Don't Believe" is another cut that's new to my ears but it's not as bad and at least sports some decent keyboards. It still falls short of being memorable. The poppy, upbeat instrumental "Lucifer" still mystifies me because it's anything but menacing. I keep trying to imagine the Prince of Darkness doing his best John Travolta moves on a multi-colored dance floor. "Psychobabble" has all the markings of being heavily influenced by the MTV virus of the 80s that reduced most pop music to its lowest common denominator. Yark.

"Damned if I Do" has the trademark Project sound but that wasn't necessarily a good thing by the time this song came out. The string arrangement is straight out of disco land and is as far from prog as you can get. Let's just say that Donna Summer could have covered this one. A cathedral organ opens the first verse of "Don't Let it Show" and that's refreshing for a while but then the drums come rumbling in and the tune becomes a mushy Barry Manilow mimic. Ugh. "Can't Take it With You" has a disco-ish spaghetti western intro complete with faux whistle and continues their habit of writing an entire song around a catchphrase. That's not how classics are born. "Old and Wise" is an okay track but it's too little too late and I'm pretty sure I'll always give up on this CD long before I get to this song.

I would give this the dreaded lone star but it does have a few redeeming qualities that lift it ever so gently out of the cellar. First of all, it sounds good (as you would expect from such a gifted engineer). Secondly, the guitar work is admirable and saves many of these tunes from slow, certain death. Thirdly, I love this cover! Take it from me, though, there's hardly a trace of progressive rock to be found here so don't buy this unless you're planning a disco dance party but don't want to debase yourself by playing KC & the Sunshine Band records. Get down. Get funky. 1.6 stars.

Review by progaardvark
COLLABORATOR Crossover/Symphonic/RPI Teams
2 stars If you're interested in the radio hits of the Alan Parsons Project, this collection should suit your needs. It contains nearly everything the APP released as a single or received some amount of radio play for. It covers their career from their I Robot album of 1977 through Eye in the Sky in 1982, plus the single You Don't Believe which would end up on their Ammonia Avenue album. Otherwise, it's mostly missing their most "progressive-styled" songs, and I use that term loosely. In addition, nothing from their debut appears on this album (which had two charted singles).

For the progressive rock fan interested in acquiring APP material, start with their debut, then consider getting I Robot, Turn of a Friendly Card, Eye in the Sky, and maybe Stereotomy. Getting any of those studio releases would be much more pleasing to the ears than this compilation. Besides, APP's songs are more fitting in their proper contexts from their respective albums. Two stars. For collectors only.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
1 stars Ok, this is NOT the best of Alan Parsons Project. Gosh! why a title like this one? Greatest Hits would be a better fitting and much less misleading than what they pretentiously called this CD. Not that I donīt like the songs themselves: they are good, even if some of them were quite overplayed (like Time). And some inclusions are a bit surprising (the instrumental Lucifer is one). But the band had far better stuff than what is shown here. I had to buy this record in the early 90īs because it was the only way to have something by APP in the CD format in the early 90īs in Brazil. Since I was a big fan I was quite angered by the fact so many great tracks were missing (thereīs nothing from their first and best album, Tales of Mystery And Imagination). And if it was for the radio hits, where is Winding Me Up?

I found this collection not only with a wrong title but also with a dubious tracklist. Sure, the obvious hits are here, but not in chronological order and then there are some stuff included that were not hits and canīt say they are APPīs best in any way. So I donīt recommend this compilation to anyone, except those looking for the radio hits (and even those wonīt be too satisfied either). 1,5 stars (half star more for the inclusion of an instrumental track, one of their strong points).

Review by memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Oh, this brings me so good memories!

If you ask me what was my first meeting with progressive rock, I would probably answer The Wall by Pink Floyd, but if I think straight, then I would realize that actually my first meeting was with this compilation album by The Alan Parsons Project, of course, when I was a child I had no idea about what progressive rock was, not even my father, who introduced me to this band.

I have so good memories, because I remember being an eight-year old kid who loved singing "Eye in the Sky" or "Games People Play" (probably the two most successful (commercially speaking) songs of them) sit in my parent's bed, or in the car when we used to travel. I believe this was one of the albums most played in my childhood, or at least one that I clearly remember, maybe because of my current musical tendencies. Nowadays, I keep that old cassette with me and though I don't play it frequently, when I do it, I enjoy it. But well, that is probably because of the memories it brings, because being objective, I think we all know this compilation is not really an example of the best music The Alan Parsons Project offered, not at all. What this album has is just a sum of their better known songs and top sellers, so if you don't know the band deeper, then you may feel please listening to tunes such as "Games People Play", "Time", "Old and Wise", "Psychobabble" or the classic "Eye in the Sky".

In terms of my feelings, I would give this album at least three (if not four) stars, but honestly it deserves less, so musically talking "The best of Alan Parsons Project" will have two stars as my final grade. Better to buy their studio albums if you are interested in their music. Anyway?

Enjoy it!

Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars This was the first thing I ever got from the Alan Parsons Project, mainly for the song "Eye In The Sky". Later on I got the first two albums, which I like. Apart from a song here and there, I don't really care much for their later albums. APP was formed by Mr. Parsons after his successful engineering work on Abbey Road and DSOTM. APP, along with Steely Dan and Supertramp, made some of the best sounding albums of the 1970s.

This is more of a 'greatest hits' than a 'best of'. Mostly focused on singles and more commercial album tracks. The good instrumental "Lucifer" is included however. I still think that both "I Wouldn't Want To Be Like You" and "Time" are really great songs. Nothing very proggy on this compilation; the first album was the most proggy, with each album getting less and less so. The singles here are the radio versions, meaning that, for example "Eye In The Sky" is not segued into by the instrumental "Sirius".

Although I never owned it, The Definitive Collection would be a better purchase, based on the tracklist. You get some good album tracks along with the instrumentals that lead up to some of the more popular songs. If you want to hear APP at their most prog sounding, get Tales Of Mystery And Imagination and listen to it on headphones. This I will give 2 stars.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Having released six studio albums: Tales of Mystery and Imagination (1976), I Robot (1977), Pyramid (1978), Eve (1979), The Turn of a Friendly Card (1980), Eye in the Sky (1982) - it's about time to release a compilation album. It's not a bad idea at all. For those who never heard the band actually I always recommend them to start with the debut Tales and also The Turn of a Friendly Card as they would see how the collaboration of two gentlemen: Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson in the canteen of Abbey Road Studios in the summer of 1974 was finally making a debut album considered very good by most people. Parsons had already acted as assistant engineer on the Beatles' Abbey Road and Let It Be, had recently engineered Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon.

Looking at the track list you wuill understand exactly that most of them are the ones with main orientation toward pop music with some soundscape that is the main characteristic of Alan Parsons. No one would hate Eye in the sky (4:29) for example as it's quite simple and very easy listening; as well as Games people play (4:14). The most popular Time (4:57) has a memorable melody and it creates particular nuance of the early eighties. The other excellent tracks are Don't let it show (3:28) that was very popular at that time and of course the melodic Old and wise (4:04).

Recommended for newbies and it's a good collection for whoever loves music as there is no complex music presented here. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Latest members reviews

4 stars After 6 studio albums released by Arista It's the time of "The Best Of Alan Parsons project", a good compilation. First of all, it must be said that the style is a sort of truly intriguing Progressive POP because the writing is fresh and engaging. There are no virtuosity or moments when the phra ... (read more)

Report this review (#2413393) | Posted by OLD PROG | Tuesday, June 16, 2020 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This a fine starting point for any listener not yet familiar with the project...This disc is not everything to all people by any means...Any disc with psycobable(elmer gantry does justice on vocals)cant be all bad...Once again this collection leaves something to be desired...I'd suggest stayin ... (read more)

Report this review (#30316) | Posted by | Sunday, January 23, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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