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THE ALAN PARSONS PROJECT

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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The Alan Parsons Project picture
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)

4.05 | 662 ratings
Tales Of Mystery And Imagination
1976
3.79 | 497 ratings
I Robot
1977
3.40 | 356 ratings
Pyramid
1978
2.73 | 286 ratings
Eve
1979
3.51 | 396 ratings
The Turn Of A Friendly Card
1980
3.33 | 428 ratings
Eye In The Sky
1982
2.95 | 238 ratings
Ammonia Avenue
1984
2.32 | 204 ratings
Vulture Culture
1984
2.75 | 206 ratings
Stereotomy
1985
3.04 | 217 ratings
Gaudi
1987
2.76 | 54 ratings
The Sicilian Defence
2014

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

2.20 | 11 ratings
Extended Versions
2004
3.96 | 15 ratings
Live In Colombia
2016

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

3.84 | 6 ratings
Live in Colombia
2016

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

2.55 | 45 ratings
The Best of Alan Parsons Project
1983
2.83 | 26 ratings
The Best of the Alan Parsons Project Vol. II
1988
2.76 | 33 ratings
The Instrumental Works
1988
4.24 | 8 ratings
Anthology
1991
3.52 | 24 ratings
The Definitive Collection
1997
3.04 | 4 ratings
Works
2002
4.00 | 6 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
5.00 | 1 ratings
The Collection
2010
3.60 | 5 ratings
I Robot (Legacy Edition)
2013
4.50 | 4 ratings
The Complete Albums Collection
2014

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

5.00 | 2 ratings
To One In Paradise
1976
4.09 | 3 ratings
(The System Of) Doctor Tarr And Professor Fether
1976
5.00 | 2 ratings
The Raven
1976
4.08 | 3 ratings
I Wouldn't Want To Be Like You
1977
2.91 | 4 ratings
Hyper-Gamma-Spaces
1978
4.00 | 1 ratings
Pyramania
1978
2.05 | 3 ratings
Lucifer
1979
4.00 | 1 ratings
Damned If I Do
1979
5.00 | 1 ratings
The Turn of a Friendly Card / May Be a Price to Pay
1980
5.00 | 1 ratings
The Gold Bug / Snake Eyes
1980
4.00 | 1 ratings
Games People Play / The Ace of Swords
1980
3.00 | 5 ratings
An Eye Opener 7'' flexi
1981
3.89 | 9 ratings
Time
1981
3.51 | 13 ratings
Eye In The Sky (single)
1982
4.00 | 1 ratings
Old and Wise
1982
0.00 | 0 ratings
Eye in the Sky / Gemini
1982
0.00 | 0 ratings
Psychobabble
1982
4.00 | 1 ratings
You Don't Believe / Lucifer
1983
4.00 | 1 ratings
Prime Time
1984
0.00 | 0 ratings
Days Are Numbers
1984
3.14 | 7 ratings
Let's Talk About Me
1985
5.00 | 1 ratings
Stereotomy
1985
4.00 | 1 ratings
La Sagrada Familia
1986
5.00 | 1 ratings
Standing On Higher Ground
1986

THE ALAN PARSONS PROJECT Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 I Robot by PARSONS PROJECT, THE ALAN album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.79 | 497 ratings

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I Robot
The Alan Parsons Project Crossover Prog

Review by patrickq

3 stars I Robot is well-classified as a 'crossover prog' album. It's good, solid 1970s pop-rock with occasional progressive flourishes. Most notably, the album contains four instrumental pieces (although each includes a choir or chorale).

One of the more superficial prog embellishments is the notion that this is a 'concept album.' According to the-alan-parsons- project.com, this album "originally was intended to relate to Isaac Asimov's classic story I Robot, but as Asimov had sold the rights some years previously, it was adapted to a more general theme of human versus artificial intelligence." To argue that the lyrics relate to this concept requires the theme to be stretched beyond any reasonable interpretation. The words to "I Wouldn't Want to Be Like You" echo the title phrase in variations (e.g., "if I had time to / I wouldn't want to talk to you;" "If I hit a mother lode / I'd cover anything that showed"). "Some Other Time" might be about a robot ("Like a mirror held before me / large as the sky is wide / and the image is reflected / back to the other side"), but I don't see "theme of human versus artificial intelligence.' And 'Breakdown' ends with these repeated lines: 'Freedom! Freedom! / we will not obey! / Freedom! Freedom! / take the wall away!' Again, maybe robots, but you'd never infer that without the album cover and title. So to me, the lyrics belie the idea that I Robot is a concept album; it's a collection of songs like most other rock albums.

But as long as prog-rock fans don't approach this album with expectations of deep progressiveness, I Robot will probably be enjoyable for many. To begin with, it sounds great (I'm reviewing the 2007 'expanded' remaster; I Robot was re- released, probably not for the last time, as a 35th-anniversary 'deluxe edition' in 2013). Alan Parsons was marketed as an engineer par excellence, and he lives up to the billing. The vocals and instruments are crisp, and they're mixed expertly. Audio effects are used all over the place, but they're deployed so as not to call attention to themselves - - except when they become part of an instrument, as on 'The Voice.'

The performances are good, although I would've appreciated more spontaneity in their execution. Eight of the ten songs feature an orchestra, a choir, or both, and generally these are integrated well with the rock instrumentation. And overall, the lead vocalists are good. In particular, Steve Harley nails 'The Voice.' Amazingly, lyricist, keyboardist, and executive producer Eric Woolfson - - one-half of the Alan Parsons Project - - is credited only once as a vocalist, as one of five backing singers on 'Day After Day (The Show Must Go On).' This is the guy who sang 'Don't Answer Me,' 'Eye in the Sky,' and 'Time.' But for whatever reason, he and Parsons selected well-known vocalists for each of the lead spots.

I Robot's compositions are good, though not great. There are several catchy pop tunes (e.g., 'Breakdown' and the melodious 'Don't Let it Show') intermixed with instrumental pieces. There aren't any classic Alan Parsons Project songs here, although 'I Wouldn't Want to Be Like You' hit #36 in the US and #22 in Canada, making it their biggest hit until 1979, and ensuring its inclusion on every one of the band's greatest-hits albums.

I Robot is a solid sophomore effort. While not the band's best, it's a pretty good representation of the Alan Parsons Project's work. Three stars.

 Tales Of Mystery And Imagination by PARSONS PROJECT, THE ALAN album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.05 | 662 ratings

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Tales Of Mystery And Imagination
The Alan Parsons Project Crossover Prog

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

5 stars For a band that would become famous for it's art pop style, Alan Parsons Project's debut album "Tales of Mystery and Imagination", inspired by Edgar Allen Poe, was a definite risky release, but it did bring a lot to the band, and started the project with a impressive debut. Of course, several fans knew that Alan Parson was responsible for some excellent production and engineering having had his hand on so many progressive albums like (of course) "Dark Side of the Moon", "Ambrosia"s debut album and his work with The Beatles. By now, most music lovers know this, but at the time, his name was not so well-known yet, though some knew to expect a production as huge as this album.

There have been so many opinions already made on this album, but most seem to rate it around 4 - 5 stars, which it definitely deserves. I remember falling in love with the music right away, at least the tracks on the first side, and then later developing a love for the orchestral masterpiece "The Fall of the House of Usher", which is based on a combination of classical composition, especially from the early 20th century style, and instrumental, rock styles and it was all merged together so beautifully and convincingly. The thing that so many listeners had problems with is the amount of dissonance in the orchestral sections of the track, but the style is authentic, following along the lines of orchestral works by composers such as Grofe (Grand Canyon Suite), Stravinsky (The Firebird) and Prokofiev (Romeo & Juliet, Peter and the Wolf). That might have been a little much for the rock audience, but progressive rock lovers should have been able to understand the influence. It took me some time to fully appreciate this track, but I now recognize it as an amazing achievement.

Of course, the other tracks here are quite memorable too, and the theme of the album does justice to it's inspirational material. My love for this album started with the single "The Raven" and the flip side of it "Dream Within a Dream". When I first heard it on the radio, I was hooked, and then when I played the flip side, it totally supported the fact that I had to buy this album. These songs are dreamy and wonderful with just that hint of darkness. Then of course there was the dramatic feel of "The Tell Tale Heart", the amazing "The Cask of Amontillado" and the heavy pop/rock song "(The System of) Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether". There is also the lush beauty of "To One in Paradise" that is tucked away after the expansive and cinematic "....Usher".

Even now, after all these years, this album always amazes me. I find it just as strong as it was when it was new, timeless and exciting. Yes it leaned a bit towards the pop art style that they would finally completely embrace, but this album was done before they had been sold on that idea completely. Alan Parsons Project would never rise above the pinnacle of this album, though "I, Robot" came close, and other albums had hints of genius in them, they were overall too much immersed in the pop side of things, which is where they really got their notoriety. I have been familiar with the works of Poe for quite a while, even before the release of this album, I had read these stories, and always felt that the music does Poe's works justice. This is definitely a 5 star affair, and the strongest album APP would release.

 Lucifer by PARSONS PROJECT, THE ALAN album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1979
2.05 | 3 ratings

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Lucifer
The Alan Parsons Project Crossover Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

2 stars This single contains two tracks from The Alan Parsons Project's fourth album Eve (1979); it also shares the same cover picture with the album, which has an underlying theme of women and the problems they face in the world of men. Thinking of the Biblical title, it feels appropriate that the album's opening instrumental piece is called 'Lucifer'. [As the listeners of this "band" probably remember, they had a tradition of opening their albums with an instrumental, and I think in most cases those pieces are excellent, and summarize the whole essence of The Alan Parsons Project.]

'Lucifer' became a hit in Europe. How often do you see a rock instrumental in the charts? I guess not very often. Together with the strong title, the catchy, rhythmic music creates a dramatic (if not quite Satanic) atmosphere very effectively. In comparison to e.g. 'Voyager' (Pyramid, 1978) 'Lucifer' is a rather straight-forward composition from start to finish, with no ambience-oriented slow intros or notable progressive nuances. In other words, it COULD have been worked into a more exciting proggy instrumental -- but then again, it hardly would have been released as a single and become a hit in that case.

The B-side has 'I'd Rather Be a Man' which is sung by David Paton. Now as I'm listening to it on YouTube I'm not wondering at all that I had no memories of it. I have listened to the Eve album some long long time ago, as a library loan, and this uncomfortably noisy song didn't please me enough to have a second listen. And it sure doesn't please me now either. It's a good reminder why Eve is generally seen as a weak APP album, especially as a follower of such fine album as Pyramid.

Strange that the beautiful ballad 'If I Could Change Your Mind' sung by Clare Torry (yes, the voice gracing Pink Floyd's 'Great gig in the Sky') didn't make it into a single, not even as a B-sider... 'Lucifer' is a fairly good piece but this single is pretty useless.

 Live In Colombia by PARSONS PROJECT, THE ALAN album cover Live, 2016
3.96 | 15 ratings

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Live In Colombia
The Alan Parsons Project Crossover Prog

Review by BrianS

4 stars This is "Alan Parsons Project after Woolfson" who was their main vocalist (although most albums have a number of singers) and constant composer. (Through the years the most common composition credit is E. Woolfson/A. Parsons, indeed that is the credit given for all tracks on this album.). There are no new tracks here so his compositional abilities aren't really missed. Indeed this is one of the better live "symphonic" albums, so somebody (Parsons?) knows how to transpose music for an orchestra.

P.J. Olsson does a good job on the vocals of most of the tracks (there are a couple where he's not completely covering the range of the song). A live performance is always a little unkind to singers and magnifies minor faults but overall he does well. With over 20 tracks. I'm not going to cover every one, just short mentions.

The concert opens with an unbelievable version of I Robot. The Orchestra and backing vocals are simply superb. 5/5

The Raven (track 5) is the first time I feel Olsson falls short of the mark but the performance is saved by some really skillful acoustic piano playing that has been added to the piece. 3/5

La Sagrada Familia (track 8) is the standout piece of the whole concert. I was totally blown away by this, far more proggy than much of their work, and absolutely luscious to listen to. The orchestra, the vocals, the arrangement, all perfect. 5/5 (I went and bought "Gaudi" because of this track; and boy was I disappointed; the studio recording is a pale reflection of the live performance.)

The next few tracks are side two of "Turn Of A friendly Card". Has some pleasant orchestration but again Olsson struggles with a couple of songs. 4/5

What Goes Up... opens CD2 and is another track that is well-handled, Olsson strains but gets there. The orchestration is very restrained here and are not really heard until the 2 minute mark. A very polished piece of work. 5/5

Luciferama is another symphonic instrumental triumph. 5/5

Silence and I is Olsson's worst performance, not sure why they included it 2/5

Games People Play closes the concert and is performed pretty straight, with the whole band supplying vocals. It has really top class guitar and sax solos. 5/5

If you like The Alan Parsons Project this album is a must. I would buy it just for La Sagrada Familia (and probably for I Robot and Luciferama as well). They have updated a number of tracks and made them a little more proggy, while retaining ballads like Silence and I & Old and Wise. There is very little crowd noise during the Concert (which I consider a plus). Overall 4/5

 Anthology by PARSONS PROJECT, THE ALAN album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1991
4.24 | 8 ratings

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Anthology
The Alan Parsons Project Crossover Prog

Review by tdfloyd

5 stars A very good compilation from the Alan Parsons Project. It has the biggest hits, a pair of its instrumentals, songs that highlight their use of an orchestra and a choir. All of the Arista released albums are featured here, but that means their first album, 'Tales of Mystery and Imagination' is not. As with any single disc collection from a group with 9 albums to choose from, there is always so who will want to tinker with the track selection. I'm also in this group but I believe this a very good overview of the Alan Parsons Project.

A very solid 4 for the Alan Parsons Project.

 The Sicilian Defence by PARSONS PROJECT, THE ALAN album cover Studio Album, 2014
2.76 | 54 ratings

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The Sicilian Defence
The Alan Parsons Project Crossover Prog

Review by tdfloyd

3 stars Released only as a bonus for fans who bought The 'Alan Parsons Project' box set which contained all of the official APP studio albums. 'The Sicilian Defence' is a classic chess opening and as such, it was a clever name for the album APP turned in after 'Eve'. They knew full well it would be rejected and they could now get down to serious negotiations for their next contract.

As an album, it is totally unlike the previous albums. There are no vocals, live drums, guitars, or orchestra. There are a few electronic workouts which are appealing, mixed between solo piano. Again, they are nice but none of this has much commercial appeal.

It must have worked as the Alan Parson Project went on to release six more studio albums and a bunch of compilations for Arista.

3 stars

 Eye In The Sky by PARSONS PROJECT, THE ALAN album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.33 | 428 ratings

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Eye In The Sky
The Alan Parsons Project Crossover Prog

Review by gdogcentaur

3 stars After Alan Parsons came out with their conceptual masterpieces: "iRobot" and "Tales of Mystery and Imagination-- Edgar Allen Poe", I got to say that I was a bit disappointed with "Eye in the Sky". Much like Genesis, I feel like Alan Parsons Project's music got worse as they shifted into the new, pop "electronic age" of the 80's. The album is by no means bad though, I just expected more out of the audio engineers of the greatest album of all time ("The Dark Side of the Moon"). The entire album didn't seem very planned out, almost like all of the tracks were just experimenting with individual themes and ideas; sometimes a little bit boring.
 Stereotomy by PARSONS PROJECT, THE ALAN album cover Studio Album, 1985
2.75 | 206 ratings

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Stereotomy
The Alan Parsons Project Crossover Prog

Review by sgtpepper

2 stars Stereotomy is not more catchy and pop-oriented than "Vulture Culture"; it goes less into mainstream. However, songwriting crisis is inevitably to be heard here. The first long track looks promising with its 7:30 minutes, however there is not much beneath the surface apart from a good melody and a few instrumental ideas. "Urbania" is one of the best APP instrumental tracks with soaring guitar and keyboard "riffs", any progrock band would happily have such track in 1985. "Where is the walrus" stands by as another prime instrumental composition.

"Limelight" is a highlight sung by the great Procol Harum leader Gary Brooker. He gives another dimension to the decent melody and synth layers. "In the real world" is a non-distinguishable 80's throwaway track. Ballads are not particularly strong on this album "Limelight" and "Light of the world" are decent but not too memorable.

Despite more willingness to experiment, I can't give more than two stars to this record.

 Vulture Culture by PARSONS PROJECT, THE ALAN album cover Studio Album, 1984
2.32 | 204 ratings

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Vulture Culture
The Alan Parsons Project Crossover Prog

Review by sgtpepper

2 stars Downstream goes on! APP couldn't save going downhill on this record. Instead of waiting for better ideas to come, two more albums came out in a short time, Vulture Culture and Stereotomy. Out of two, Vulture Culture is inferior. "Talk about me" is only interesting because of yet another influence - the traces of Supertramp can be found here. "Separate lives" is an underdeveloped APP track with typical sound but not very strong invention. "Days are numbers" is a too generic 80's ballad unrecognizable from others. "Sooner or later" with Eric Woolfson borrows equally from Beatles and ELO - it is catchy and easy to chew but not with a large depth beneath. The title track belongs to the weakest ones on the album. At last "Hawkeye" and "The same old sun" save the album to deserve 2 stars.
 Ammonia Avenue by PARSONS PROJECT, THE ALAN album cover Studio Album, 1984
2.95 | 238 ratings

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Ammonia Avenue
The Alan Parsons Project Crossover Prog

Review by sgtpepper

2 stars Ammonia Avenue is a pleasant pop album with enough compositional quality from Alan Parson and Eric Woolfson. However, there is hardly any progressive element left even though the studio quality remains top.

Some tracks rock harder than in the 70's and keyboards are not always prominent as they used to be, which is suprising for this period of the 80's. Good pop tracks are "Prime time" and "One good reason". Great sentimental ballads include "Since last goodbye" and "Don't answer me" with its excellent saxophone solo. Another ballad, "Ammonia avenue" is an attempt at grandiose arrangements and the timing at the end of the album fits it. "You don't believe" is fully compliant to the New Wave movement with its electronic drums, bass and textures. The only instrumental track and a pretty average one, is "Pipeline" - it does not bring anything new in comparison to the old better ones. Certainly not one of the best ones from APP in the 80's.

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

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