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THE ALAN PARSONS PROJECT

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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The Alan Parsons Project biography
Formed in 1975 - Somehow active until 1990 (last record release in 1987)

The ALAN PARSONS PROJECT is a "project" of acclaimed English producer Alan PARSONS, best known for his works with The BEATLES's "Abbey Road" and PINK FLOYD's "Dark Side of the Moon". Along with songwriter Eric WOOLFSON, PARSONS created a series of 10 (and counting) albums of progressive rock, employing a rotating cast of session musicians to do most of the performing. (PARSONS does play keyboard and sings on some tracks.). He creates the concept, writes some of the music and hires the artists, while WOOLFSON writes the lyrics, some of the music and sings on many tracks. Additionally, Andrew POWEL joined the project in 1976 as musical arranger.

"Tales of Mystery and Imagination" (1975): The theme of this album is inspired by he works of Edgar Allen Poe.
"I Robot" (1977): The story of the rise of machine and the decline of man, which paradoxically coincided with his discovery of the wheel.
"Pyramid" (1978): "Pyramid" examined the power of ancient myths.
"Eve" (1979): "You can't live with them. You can't live without them."
"The Turn of a Friendly Card" (1980): "a reflection of something that was going on in my subconscious. It's tied up with Monte Carlo, gambling there and taking risks generally."
"Eye in the Sky" (1982): "a cautionary tale about the loss of individualism."
"Ammonia Avenue" (1984): The title track was inspired in part by a Petro-Chemical plant in Middlesborough, England.
"Vulture Culture" (1984): "an unsparing look at modern society, at contemporary relationships and the business of popular culture."
"Stereotomy (1985)": The word Stereotomy comes from Poe's "The Murders in the Rue Morgue".
"Gaudi" (1987): This album was inspired by the life and works of Antonio Gaudi (1852-1926), a Catalan architect whose grand conception, The Sagrada Familia Cathedral in Barcelona.
"Freudiana" (1990): PARSONS and WOOLFSON planned an album called "Freudiana", about the psychiatrist Sigmund Freud.

See also:
- Eric Woolfson, Alan Parsons Band

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THE ALAN PARSONS PROJECT discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

THE ALAN PARSONS PROJECT top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.03 | 625 ratings
Tales Of Mystery And Imagination
1976
3.80 | 462 ratings
I Robot
1977
3.37 | 335 ratings
Pyramid
1978
2.72 | 271 ratings
Eve
1979
3.50 | 368 ratings
The Turn Of A Friendly Card
1980
3.31 | 401 ratings
Eye In The Sky
1982
2.95 | 224 ratings
Ammonia Avenue
1984
2.30 | 191 ratings
Vulture Culture
1984
2.75 | 194 ratings
Stereotomy
1985
3.03 | 205 ratings
Gaudi
1987
2.69 | 46 ratings
The Sicilian Defence
2014

THE ALAN PARSONS PROJECT Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.10 | 10 ratings
Extended Versions
2004
3.85 | 13 ratings
Live In Colombia
2016

THE ALAN PARSONS PROJECT Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.83 | 5 ratings
Live in Colombia
2016

THE ALAN PARSONS PROJECT Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.53 | 42 ratings
The Best of Alan Parsons Project
1983
2.81 | 23 ratings
The Best of the Alan Parsons Project Vol. II
1988
2.75 | 32 ratings
The Instrumental Works
1988
2.83 | 6 ratings
Anthology
1991
3.50 | 22 ratings
The Definitive Collection
1997
2.95 | 3 ratings
Works
2002
3.80 | 5 ratings
Anthology
2002
3.33 | 3 ratings
Silence and I: The very Best of
2003
4.07 | 16 ratings
The Essential Alan Parsons Project
2007
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Collection
2010
3.25 | 5 ratings
I Robot (Legacy Edition)
2013
4.50 | 2 ratings
The Complete Albums Collection
2014

THE ALAN PARSONS PROJECT Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
To One In Paradise
1976
4.00 | 1 ratings
(The System Of) Doctor Tarr And Professor Fether
1976
5.00 | 1 ratings
The Raven
1976
4.00 | 2 ratings
I Wouldn't Want To Be Like You
1977
0.00 | 0 ratings
Hyper-Gamma-Spaces
1978
2.50 | 4 ratings
An Eye Opener 7'' flexi
1981
3.81 | 7 ratings
Time
1981
3.44 | 11 ratings
Eye In The Sky (single)
1982
2.83 | 6 ratings
Let's Talk About Me
1985

THE ALAN PARSONS PROJECT Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Tales Of Mystery And Imagination by PARSONS PROJECT, THE ALAN album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.03 | 625 ratings

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Tales Of Mystery And Imagination
The Alan Parsons Project Crossover Prog

Review by WFV

4 stars For me, this is an album I have to be in the right mood to access properly. The overblown arrangements on some of the tracks can unnerve my senses and kill my mood.

That said, in the right mood, this album can blow me away. I can see how this is the favorite of some and loathsome in the eyes of others.

I've come to appreciate the style I call poprog, and this album belongs at the top of that list. I'm not very familiar anymore with anything but the outline of the most famous Poe stories, but this production is obviously lovingly detailed and functions as a great concept album for the initiated and the neophyte. Highlights for me include the first two tracks and Dr. Tarr on side A, and Pavane on the flip. Dr. Tarr is a great poprog single and points the way to Parsons best, most accessible work in the poprog realm.

I'm lucky to have the 3CD 40th anniversary edition that adds skeleton tracks and unreleased tracks to the first disc, as well as a short radio spot with orson welles and a seperate interview with Parsons and Woolfson. I'm not so into Woolfson's songwriting processes on Disc II, but disc III with all the tracks in their initial phases is sublime.

 Tales Of Mystery And Imagination by PARSONS PROJECT, THE ALAN album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.03 | 625 ratings

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Tales Of Mystery And Imagination
The Alan Parsons Project Crossover Prog

Review by martindavey87

2 stars The Alan Parsons Project is not a typical band per se, but more of an in-studio collaboration lead by music producer Alan Parsons, working with a huge array of different musicians as and when possible. It wasn't a touring outfit, and the style of music varies from song to song. While the "group" are often loosely considered progressive rock, the music in this, their debut, is mostly straightforward rock or symphonic music.

First and foremost, 'Tales of Mystery and Imagination' is a collection of songs based upon works by renowned author Edgar Allan Poe, of which, I must say, I have absolutely no knowledge or interest in. I can only judge this album based solely on the quality of the music, of which it's a fairly mixed bag.

The record is mostly divided into two parts. The first, being some rather standard rock songs, is easily the highlight for me, with 'The Tell-Tale Heart' and '(The System of) Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether' being the only two songs I like. They're rocking and catchy, with some infectious vocal melodies and hooks.

The second half is a prog-inspired symphonic piece called 'The Fall of the House of Usher'. It's broken into five individual parts, and to be honest none of them really do anything for me. There's some big, orchestral sounding parts, and sections that sound reminiscent of Mike Oldfield's work, but other than the odd melody here-and-there, there really isn't anything going on that interests me.

And that's pretty much all there is to it! I'm a fan of Alan Parsons (and his project), but this debut release is fairly lacklustre to me. Maybe I'd appreciate it more if I was a fan of the source material, but I'm not. Onto the next album!

 Live in Colombia by PARSONS PROJECT, THE ALAN album cover DVD/Video, 2016
3.83 | 5 ratings

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Live in Colombia
The Alan Parsons Project Crossover Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This relatively recent DVD is the only one listed under The Alan Parsons Project (the word 'Project' hasn't been used on the releases after the end of the Woolfson/Parsons partnership; So, how to act with the moniker "The Alan Parsons Symphonic Project"? Since the CD version of this concert was already here instead of ALAN PARSONS, I placed the DVD here, too). Compared to the 2010 DVD "Eye 2 Eye - Live in Madrid" (found on the ALAN PARSONS artist page), this release is notably more luxurious and more grandiose in performance, dating from 2013. Not only because there's a symphony orchestra + choir involved, but also because the set is approximately 40 minutes longer. From the visual point of view, neither of the concerts feature lavish screen visualisations la Pink Floyd or other theatrics. That's not anything to be missed actually; the camera work and the lights are pretty well done. The excellent performance of the music itself, as well as the warm response from the Colombian audience, are captured vividly.

The 104-minute / 21-track set list is pretty good, featuring the obvious hits along the less predictable, strong material from each Project album (except the weakest one, Stereotomy, 1985). No, it's not a dream set of the most prog-minded fans though. For example the superb and highly ambitious Poe-themed debut, best loved by us progheads, is represented only by 'The Raven' - which is abridged and tied together with 'Breakdown'. From the second album I Robot come also the title instrumental as the opening number and 'I Wouldn't Want to Be Like You'. Sadly the Pyramid album (1978) is represented by 'What Goes Up...' only. The entire second side of The Turn of a Friendly Card ("you remember the vinyl?") is played on one continuity.

The band is on top form. Alistair Greene shines on guitar solos and Guy Erez on bass. Most vocals are sung faultlessly by P. J. Olsson (as in "Eye 2 Eye") but quite a many band member, Parsons himself included, shares vocal duties. The original APP vocalists are not heard, but I have no complaints about the vocals either. The Medellin Philharmonic perhaps could have been a bit more audible on some tracks, but on songs such as 'La Sagrada Familia' and 'Silence And I' the orchestra is essential. All in all, this is a strong four-star release that easily stands multiple viewings.

 (The System Of) Doctor Tarr And Professor Fether by PARSONS PROJECT, THE ALAN album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1976
4.00 | 1 ratings

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(The System Of) Doctor Tarr And Professor Fether
The Alan Parsons Project Crossover Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
4 stars "Poe was preoccupied with entombment. Many of his characters have been incarcerated in some form or other - in coffins, brick walls or under floorboards. We came up with the 'taped' man - a mummy-like figure who is wrapped, not in bandages, but in 2" recording tape. (...) the 2" tape appropriately suggests that the album is done by a producer in a studio, as opposed to a band recording material they will play on stage. Although the clients were intrigued by this idea they did not desire a pictorial cover but preferred instead a precise graphic representation. The narrow strip of illustration shows a long shadow of the taped man." - Storm Thorgeson of Hipgnosis.

The taped man appears properly on the cover of this single, one of the three that were taken from the wonderful debut album Tales of Mystery and Imagination, in which all music is inspired by the horror tales and poems of Edgar Allan Poe. I'd say it's not only by far the best achievement of The Alan Parsons Project, but one of the finest rock albums of its time. '(The System of) Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether' is the most rocking song in it, sung by John Miles (my favourite A.P. Project vocalist, who also appears on 'Cask of Amontillado'). The story is set in a mental institution where the roles of the patients and the staff have been turned upside down. Due to the heaviness and a relatively repetitive structure the song is not among my personal faves, but it definitely works like hell on the album and increases the pure rock energy.

For the B-side was chosen the instrumental 'A Dream Within a Dream' that serves as a perfect opener for the album. Four stars must be given. As a separate release this single -- which reached No. 37 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and No. 62 in Canada -- is not strictly necessary, because one really has to get the whole album.

 Gaudi by PARSONS PROJECT, THE ALAN album cover Studio Album, 1987
3.03 | 205 ratings

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Gaudi
The Alan Parsons Project Crossover Prog

Review by ctasan

4 stars This is the album which I started to progressive. With some emotion, I can say this is the best of The Alan Parsons Project. Eric Woolfson comes back here! And don't ever forget John Miles' legendary vocal!

Opening song "La Sagrada Familia" is one of the striking songs I have even heard. Excellent orchestra and shifting melody/rhythm here! When it comes to "Too Late", our album loses breath despite proven vocal of Zakatek: this song is far from theme! "Closer to Heaven" is a slow ballad, reinforced by saxophone and Woolfson. "Standing on Higher Ground" is a song intended to be hit, with synth and Geoff Barradale vocal. "Money Talks" is a failure. Failure of being a Money (Pink Floyd) clone.

Then "Inside Looking Out" comes. Best part of album except opening song. Slowness, sense, fragileness, hope, obscurity... All things what you look for is here! Song closes with bells and Paseo de Gracia finishes the album, with being instrumental of first song.

Conclusion: It hardly crosses the line... but it crosses and you'll love it. 7/10

 Eve by PARSONS PROJECT, THE ALAN album cover Studio Album, 1979
2.72 | 271 ratings

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Eve
The Alan Parsons Project Crossover Prog

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Considered controversial at the time of release, and saddled with a reputation that has been hard to shake, The Alan Parsons Project's 1979 album 'Eve' is, for many reasons, considered one of the group's lesser works.

A kind of quizzical concept album about the nature of woman kind - conceived and written by two men we must add - 'Eve' features a selection of songs that meditate on both the positive and negative aspects of the fairer sex, and features cover art despicting two models wearing veils. Only look a bit closer, and the glamourous women are revealed to have beauty-blighting facial scars.

Along with the concept, the cover was one of the many ill-conceived ideas featured on an album that was, sadly, symptomatic of it's era. The late seventies was still a time of overt male rule in the workplace, and despite the best intentions of both Alan Parsons and his erstwhile writing partner Eric Woolfson, 'Eve' as a concept is, at best, a clumsy mistake.

The duo's fourth album following 'Tales of Mystery & Imagination', 'I Robot' and 'Pyramid', 'Eve' was a calculated break from the progressive pop imprint of it's predecessors, and was the first Alan Parsons album not to start with an instrumental opener. Instead, this was a song-based album that sought to widen the group's appeal, a ploy that didn't work as well as intended.

Fronted by guest vocalists Chris Rainbow and Lenny Zakatek, and with Parsons and Woolfson once again backed by three quarters of the Scottish rock group Pilot, 'Eve' features the usual crisp production values, yet at first listen seems rather unexceptional.

However, like all good albums, 'Eve' needs multiple listens to fullt grasp.

The strength of the Parsons and Woolfson creative team was always the outstanding mix of first-grade production skills and hook-laden songwriting, and their ability to graft catchy melodies onto deceptively progressive music. Whilst the latter is largely absent here, it only goes to accentuate the former.

Tracks such as the groove-laden opener 'Lucifer', which postulates about the vices of woman, kicks proceedings off with a surprisingly tangy guitar-led sound, and features strong vocals from Rainbow, whilst the edgy 'Damned If I Do' powers along with sharp guitars and snapping snare drums.

There are less impressive moments.

'I'd Rather Be A Man' borders on the downright offensive, whilst also sounding like the kind of sub R'n'B-schtick Gloria Gaynor ended up doing in the mid-eighties, and the jerky 'Secret Garden' is beyond maudlin.

But the album actually holds together, even if the subject matter jars badly in the moden era.

There are few better at concocting string melodic progressive pop, which is both thoughtful and popular, than The Alan Parsons Project, and even on an album considered one of their weakest, their are still many strong songs, all once again brough out by the crystal clear production.

Parsons started as an Abbey Road engineer of course, working on Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side of the Moon' album in 1972 before becoming a fully-fledged in-house producer, overseeing albums for Steve Harley, Ambrosia, Al Stewart and The Hollies.

A songwriter, Woolfson worked for Andrew Loog Oldham's Immediate label, before leaving to conceive his dream project, a musical based on the works of noted horror author Edgar Allan Poe.

Their combined skills, and the unique nature of the group, which saw musicians brought in on an album-by-album basis to play the music written by Parsons and Woolfson, meant every album had it's unique concept, and it's own sound.

'Eve' is certainly one of their more mediocre efforts, yet there is still much to recommend.

STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2016

 The Instrumental Works by PARSONS PROJECT, THE ALAN album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1988
2.75 | 32 ratings

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The Instrumental Works
The Alan Parsons Project Crossover Prog

Review by Modrigue
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Good works

Although my feelings are always mixed concerning their poppy sung compositions, I really enjoy most ALAN PARSONS' PROJECT instrumentals. That's why I don't have many complaints about this disc. It compiles extracts from 1977 to 1987 albums, except "Eve", their least convincing effort of the 70's. No track from the debut opus indeed, but two instrumentals from "I Robot" and "Stereotomy".

A nice and playful collection... There is one noticeable missing piece though... why not the glorious "Lucifer" - or even the lesser-known upbeat space-disco "Hyper-Gamma-Spaces" from "Pyramid" - instead of the average dated "Hawkeye"? A tale of mystery...

Apart from this little mistake, "Instrumental Works" remains overall a pretty good compilation and a representative overview of APP's colorful tunes. And in case you don't know the band, I still advise you to give this record a listen, especially if you enjoy deliciously vintage electronic melodies...

 I Wouldn't Want To Be Like You by PARSONS PROJECT, THE ALAN album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1977
4.00 | 2 ratings

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I Wouldn't Want To Be Like You
The Alan Parsons Project Crossover Prog

Review by thwok

4 stars Once again, I'm surprised that no one has even rated this single. This is one of the APP's best. I sometimes wonder what thought process went into Alan and Eric's (assuming it was their decision) choice of singles. Some of their music is terrifically entertaining; some of it is the aural equivalent of wallpaper. "I Wouldn't Want To Be Like You" is a great song, and "Nucleus" is a worthy B side. I've only listened to the band's output up to the early 80's, so that is my frame of reference. This single shows the band's skills as musicians and songwriters at their finest. Furthermore, Alan and Eric deserve credit simply for exposing the superb singing of Lenny Zakatek to the world!
 Pyramid by PARSONS PROJECT, THE ALAN album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.37 | 335 ratings

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Pyramid
The Alan Parsons Project Crossover Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars For me, Pyramid is where the early Alan Parsons Project formula begins to wear thin. Whilst it was a nice breath of fresh air on Tales of Mystery and Imagination, and the group had successfully retooled the sound to suit the needs of I, Robot, on Pyramid I find that, at least in the early phases of the album they seem to be doing it by the numbers, with some nice moments here and there which unfortunately are doing things which the group accomplished better on the previous two releases.

One More River, however, steps in to turn things around - from this point on, there's occasional injections of New Wave ideas creeping in here and there to the band's sound which offer a bit more of a hard edge than anything offered on I, Robot. (Indeed, they hadn't rocked quite that hard since The Telltale Heart on the debut). Part of me wonders whether album might have been a favourite of early neo-prog group Quasar, since several sections of it sound like a bit like the sort of material they might have been deliver on their debut Fire In the Sky had it not suffered a truly horrible production job.

On top of that, the concept is rather clever - if you piece it together carefully, it's less a story about the Great Pyramids themselves so much as (as the cover art hints) a man who becomes fascinated with the supposed esoteric wisdom encoded in them and the whole Pyramid Power thing (a hot topic when the album was recorded), to the point where his life and personal relationships disintegrate and he has nothing to show for it but crank theories and a worrying obsession. (Comparisons between this and being a prog fan I suggest you keep to yourself!)

 The Turn Of A Friendly Card by PARSONS PROJECT, THE ALAN album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.50 | 368 ratings

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The Turn Of A Friendly Card
The Alan Parsons Project Crossover Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

4 stars First, I have to say that in the late seventies (when I first listened to this band) I initially didn't like their music. But with the passing of time my views about their music changed. Maybe one of the things that I didn't like then was that this band didn't seem to me to be a 'real' band as it was really the project of two persons who (as I didn't know then) were not very known in the musical field. I was wrong. It was until I discovered Alan Parson's name as recording engineer in the credits of PINK FLOYD'S 'The Dark Side of the Moon' album from 1973 that I really knew then that he really was an important person in the music industry, with that album having a very good recording and mixing. Later, I also realized that he also has worked with a lot of very good musicians like THE BEATLES (in their 'Abbey Road' and 'Let It Be' albums), PAUL McCARTNEY, etc. Eric Woolfoson, the other main partner in this musical project, maybe was not very known in the music industry then, but he proved to be a very good musician and songwriter with THE ALAN PARSONS PROJECT. The band's line-up was not very clear, apart from Parsons and Woolfson, but they had a very good team of musicians who very often appeared in their albums: Andrew Powell (orchestrations), Ian Bairnson (guitars), David Paton (bass and occasional lead singer), Stuart Elliott (drums and percussion), Chris Rainbow and Lenny Zakatek (lead vocals), etc. They also had some other guest lead singers and musicians in their albums. Maybe Eric Woolfson was the main composer of the songs (despite the joint credit 'Wollfson-Parsons' in the credits) and Parson's role was more of a producer and arranger, apart of playing some instruments in their albums. But the team worked very well until 1990, when they decided to split the band due to musical differences. Another main contributor was Andrew Powell with his orchestrations. Without him maybe this project could not have been as good as it was.

This album is another conceptual album from this band. This time the concept is about gambling and luck. Musically, the album is very Progressive, with some influences from Classical music, but this band also had some commercial music influences from Pop and Disco music (sounding a bit like ELO in some places, like in 'May Be a Price to Pay' and 'Games People Play'), some Funky music influences ('I Don't Wanna Go Home'). Maybe it was one of the things that some people like me didn't like from this band then. But this mixture of styles also made their music to be very accessible, and with the passing of time I finally realized that after all it was a good combination of musical styles. 'The Gold Bug' is an instrumental piece of music with maybe some New Age music influences and very good vocals from Chris Rainbow. 'Time' is a very good song, maybe my favorite from them, with very good orchestral arrangements and very good vocals arrangements, with Woolfson singing lead vocals, Parsons singing a bit of backing vocals, and with Rainbow singing backing vocals. The main musical piece in this album is the title track, which is divided in five parts. This is maybe the most Progressive part of this album, with the use of harpsichord and Classical music influenced orchestral arrangements.

'Time' and 'Games People Play' were played a lot in the radio in my country (and still are played in some oldies FM Radio stations in my city). 'Time' was the song that changed my views about this band, and I started to really like their music.

The recording and mixing of this album is very good. The overall sound in this and other of Parsons's production jobs is very clear. Of course, all the musicians are very good, and this album is very good. As a team, THE ALAN PARSONS PROJECT was a very good band.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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