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Alan Parsons (born 20 December 1948) is an English audio engineer, songwriter, musician, and record producer. He was involved with the production of several significant albums, including the Beatles' Abbey Road and Let It Be, and the art rock band Ambrosia's debut album Ambrosia as well as Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon for which Pink Floyd credit him as an important contributor. Parsons' own group, the Alan Parsons Project, as well as his subsequent solo recordings, have also been successful commercially.
Alan Parsons in 2017
|Born||20 December 1948|
|Genres||Rock, progressive rock|
|Occupation(s)||Audio engineer, composer, musician, record producer, director|
|Instruments||Keyboards, synthesizer, guitar, bass guitar, vocals, flute|
|Labels||Legacy, Arista, Fox, Mercury, Frontiers|
|Associated acts||The Alan Parsons Project|
|Website||Alan Parsons Music|
In October 1967, at the age of 18, Parsons went to work as an assistant engineer at Abbey Road Studios, where he earned his first credit on the LP Abbey Road. He became a regular there, engineering such projects as Wings' Wild Life and Red Rose Speedway, five albums by the Hollies, and Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon, for which he received his first Grammy Award nomination. He was known for doing more than what would normally be considered the scope of a recording engineer's duties. He considered himself to be a recording director, likening his contribution to recordings to what Stanley Kubrick contributed to film. This is apparent in his work with Al Stewart's "Year of the Cat", where Parsons added the saxophone part and transformed the original folk concept into the jazz-influenced ballad that put Stewart onto the charts. It is also heard in Parsons' influence on the Hollies' "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" and "The Air That I Breathe", sharp departures from their popular 1960s hits "Stay", "Just One Look", "Stop! Stop! Stop!" or "Bus Stop". Parsons was also known to have swapped shifts during the engineering of Dark Side of the Moon so he could work entirely on the project.
Parsons also produced three albums by Pilot, a Scottish pop rock band consisting of Ian Bairnson on guitar, Stuart Tosh on drums, and David Paton on lead vocals, guitars, bass and William (Billy) Lyall, on piano and keys. Their hits included "January" and "Magic".
In 1975, he declined Pink Floyd's invitation to work on the follow-up for Dark Side, Wish You Were Here, and instead initiated the Alan Parsons Project with producer, songwriter, and occasional singer Eric Woolfson, whom he had met at Abbey Road. The Project consisted of a revolving group of studio musicians and vocalists, most notably the members of Pilot and (on the first album) the members of Ambrosia. Unlike most rock groups, the Alan Parsons Project never performed live during its heyday, although it did release several music videos. Its only live performance during its original incarnation was in 1990. It released ten albums, the last in 1987. The Project terminated in 1990 after Parsons and Woolfson split, with the Project's intended 11th album released that year as a Woolfson solo album. Parsons continued to release work in his own name and in collaboration with other musicians. Parsons and his band regularly toured many parts of the world.
Although an accomplished vocalist, keyboardist, bassist, guitarist and flautist, Parsons only sang infrequent and incidental parts on his albums, such as the background vocals on "Time". While his keyboard playing was very audible on the Alan Parsons Project albums, very few recordings feature his flute. He briefly returned to run Abbey Road Studios in its entirety. Parsons also continued with his selective production work for other bands.
In 1998, Parsons became Vice-President of EMI Studios Group, including the Abbey Road Studios. He soon left the post, deciding to return to more creative endeavours. Parsons remained as a creative consultant and associate producer for the group.
As well as receiving gold and platinum awards from many nations, Parsons has received ten Grammy Award nominations for engineering and production. In 2007 he received a nomination for Best Surround Sound Album for A Valid Path.
Beginning in 2001 and extending for four years, Parsons conceived and led a Beatles tribute show called A Walk Down Abbey Road featuring a group of headlining performers such as Todd Rundgren, Ann Wilson of Heart, John Entwistle of the Who, and Jack Bruce of Cream. The show structure included a first set where all musicians assembled to perform each other's hits, and a second set featuring all Beatles songs.
Since 1999 he has toured under a revised name, the Alan Parsons Live Project (with Woolfson's permission). The band currently features lead singer P. J. Olsson, guitarist Jeff Kollman, drummer Danny Thompson, keyboardist Tom Brooks, bass guitarist Guy Erez, vocalist and saxophonist Todd Cooper, guitarist and vocalist Dan Tracey, along with Parsons on rhythm guitar, keyboards and vocals. This band performed live in Medellín, Colombia in 2013 as Alan Parsons Symphonic Project in a performance recorded for Colombian television and also released on CD (live 2-CD) and DVD (May 2016).
In May 2005, Parsons appeared at the Canyon Club in Agoura Hills, California, to mix front-of-house sound for Southern California-based Pink Floyd tribute band Which One's Pink? and their performance of The Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety.
In 2010, Parsons released his single "All Our Yesterdays" through Authentik Artists. Parsons also launched a DVD educational series in 2010 titled The Art and Science of Sound Recording (ASSR) on music production and the complete audio recording process. The single "All Our Yesterdays" was written and recorded during the making of ASSR. The series, narrated by Billy Bob Thornton, gives detailed tutorials on virtually every aspect of the sound recording process.
During 2010, several media reports, one of which included a quote from a representative of Parsons, alleged that the song "Need You Now" by country music group Lady Antebellum used the melody and arrangement of "Eye in the Sky".
Parsons produced Jake Shimabukuro's album, Grand Ukulele, which was released on 2 October 2012. Also in 2012, he contributed lead vocals and performed keyboards and guitar on the track "Precious Life" by German electronic music duo Lichtmond, and appeared with many other noted progressive-rock musicians on The Prog Collective album by Billy Sherwood, singing lead on "The Technical Divide."
Parsons engineered the third solo album by Steven Wilson, The Raven that Refused to Sing (And Other Stories), released on 25 February 2013.
In late 2013, a live album recorded on tour in Germany and Austria with the title LiveSpan was released, accompanied by a single called "Fragile" with Simon Philips on drums.
Legacy Recordings, the catalogue division of Sony Music Entertainment, celebrated the 35th anniversary of Eye in the Sky, with the worldwide release of a definitive deluxe collector’s box set, featuring rare and unreleased material, on November 17, 2017.
In August 2018, Parsons announced that he will be releasing a studio album in 2019. The album titled “The Secret” will be his first in 15 years.
Parsons was born in London. He resides in Santa Barbara, California, with his wife Lisa and her two daughters, Tabitha and Brittni, as well as numerous pets. He has two sons, Jeremy (Jerry) and Daniel, from his previous marriage.
- with The Alan Parsons Project:
- as a solo artist:
|as part of The Alan Parsons Project|
|May 1976||Tales of Mystery and Imagination||Mercury||38||US|
|June 1977||I Robot||Arista||9||US||SPARTY 1012|
|November 1980||The Turn of a Friendly Card||Arista||13||US|
|June 1982||Eye in the Sky||Arista||7||US|
|1983||The Best of the Alan Parsons Project||Arista||53||US|
|February 1984||Ammonia Avenue||Arista||15||US|
|February 1985||Vulture Culture||Arista||46||US|
|1988||The Best of the Alan Parsons Project, Vol. 2||Arista||–||–|
|1988||The Instrumental Works||Arista||–||–|
|9 October 1989||Pop Classics||Arista||–||–|
|1995 (6/2004)||Extended Versions: The Encore Collection Live||–||–|
|15 July 1997||The Definitive Collection||–||–|
|27 July 1999||Master Hits - The Alan Parsons Project||–||–|
|2 August 1999||Alan Parsons Project - Greatest Hits Live = Best of Live||–||–|
|3 August 1999||Eye in the Sky – Encore Collection||–||–|
|9 May 2000||Alan Parsons Project - Gold Collection||BMG International||–||–|
|22 August 2002||Works||Audiophile Legends||–||–|
|23 March 2004||Ultimate||–||–|
|2006||Days Are Numbers||Arista||–||–||88697016972|
|2007||the Essential (2 CD Compilation)||Arista / Legacy||–||–||88697043372|
|2010||The Collection||Sony / Camden||88697808482|
|as Solo Artist - STUDIO ALBUMS|
|6 October 1993||Try Anything Once||Arista||122||US|
|24 Sept 1996||On Air||A&M/Digital Sound||78||US|
|28 Sept 1999||The Time Machine||Miramar||71||US|
|24 August 2004||A Valid Path||Artemis||34||US|
|26 April 2019||The Secret||Frontiers||US|
|as Solo Artist - LIVE ALBUMS|
|27 June 1995||The Very Best Live||RCA||–||–|
|6 April 2010||Eye 2 Eye: Live In Madrid||Frontiers||e|
|Sept 2013||Alan Parsons LiveSpan||MFP|
|June 2016||Alan Parsons Symphonic Project, Live in Colombia||earMusic|
|as Solo Artist - SINGLES|
|15 June 2010||All Our Yesterdays / Alpha Centauri (2010)||Authentik Artists, Inc.|
|3 April 2014||Fragile / Luciferama||Mfp Music Productions|
|10 April 2015||Do You Live At All|
|1969||Abbey Road (The Beatles)||1||UK
|1970||Atom Heart Mother (Pink Floyd)||Harvest||1
|1973||The Dark Side of the Moon (Pink Floyd)||Harvest||2
|1974||Hollies (The Hollies)||Polydor (UK), Epic (US)||28||US|
|1975||Another Night (The Hollies)||132||US|
|1975||Ambrosia (Ambrosia)||20th Century||22||US|
|1976||Year of the Cat (Al Stewart)||5||US|
|1978||Time Passages (Al Stewart)||10||US|
|2013||The Raven That Refused to Sing (And Other Stories) (Steven Wilson)||Kscope||28||UK|
|1974||From the Album of the Same Name (Pilot)||EMI|
|1974||The Psychomodo (Cockney Rebel)||EMI|
|1975||The Best Years of Our Lives (Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel)||–||–|
|1975||Second Flight (Pilot)|
|1975||Modern Times (Al Stewart)|
|1976||Rebel (John Miles)||171||US|
|1976||Year of the Cat (Al Stewart)||5||US|
|1976||Somewhere I've Never Travelled (Ambrosia)||20th Century||79||US|
|1978||Time Passages (Al Stewart)||10||US|
|1979||Lenny Zakatek (Lenny Zakatek)||A&M||US|
|1985||Ladyhawke (OST by Andrew Powell)||Atlantic Records|
|1993||Symphonic Music of Yes||RCA|
|2012||Grand Ukulele (Jake Shimabukuro)||Mailboat Records|
|2017||Blackfield V (Blackfield)||Kscope||UK, Israel|
|as Executive Producer / Mentor|
|1999||Turning the Tide (Iconic Phare)||Carrera Records||–||–|
Billboard Top 40 hit singles (US)Edit
- 1976: "(The System of) Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether" - #37
- 1977: "I Wouldn't Want to Be Like You" - #36
- 1979: "Damned If I Do" - #27
- 1980: "Games People Play" - #16
- 1981: "Time" - #15
- 1982: "Eye in the Sky" - #3
- 1984: "Don't Answer Me" - #15
- 1984: "Prime Time" - #34
- 1976: "(The System of) Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether" - #62
- 1977: "I Wouldn't Want to Be Like You" - #22
- 1980: "Damned If I Do" - #16
- 1981: "Games People Play" - #9
- 1981: "Time" - #30
- 1982: "Eye in the Sky" - #1
- 1983: "You Don't Believe" - #43
- 1984: "Don't Answer Me" - #20
- 1985: "Let's Talk About Me" - #89
Awards and nominationsEdit
- 1973 – Pink Floyd – The Dark Side of the Moon – Grammy Award for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical
- 1975 – Ambrosia – Ambrosia – Grammy Award for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical
- 1976 – Ambrosia – Somewhere I've Never Travelled – Grammy Award for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical
- 1976 – The Alan Parsons Project – Tales of Mystery and Imagination – Grammy Award for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical
- 1978 – The Alan Parsons Project – Pyramid – Grammy Award for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical
- 1978 - 21st Annual Grammy Awards - Producer Of The Year nomination, Producer Of The Year
- 1979 – Ice Castles – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack – Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media
- 1979 – The Alan Parsons Project – Eve – Grammy Award for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical
- 1981 – The Alan Parsons Project – The Turn of a Friendly Card – Grammy Award for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical
- 1982 – The Alan Parsons Project – Eye in the Sky – Grammy Award for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical
- 1986 – The Alan Parsons Project – "Where's The Walrus?" – Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance
- 2007 – Alan Parsons – A Valid Path – Grammy Award for Best Surround Sound Album
- 2018 - 61st Annual Grammy Awards - Nomination Best Immersive Audio Album - "Eye In The Sky - 35th Anniversary Edition" -- Alan Parsons, surround mix engineer; Dave Donnelly, PJ Olsson & Alan Parsons, surround mastering engineers; Alan Parsons, surround producer (The Alan Parsons Project)
- "Alan Parsons - Bio FAQ Discography". 12 December 2009. Archived from the original on 12 December 2009. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
- the Trades article Interview: Alan Parsons: The Artist and Scientist of Sound Recording
- Parsons and Which One's Pink Archived 28 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
- "iTunes – Music – All Our Yesterdays – Single by Alan Parsons". Itunes.apple.com. 15 June 2010. Retrieved 8 November 2011.
- "Alan Parsons' Art & Science of Sound Recording". Artandscienceofsound.com. Retrieved 8 November 2011.
- "Lady Antebellum vs. The Alan Parsons Project". Freshmilc.com. Retrieved 8 November 2011.
- "People accusing Lady Antebellum of stealing Alan Parson song". Tampabay.com. 18 November 2010. Archived from the original on 6 November 2011. Retrieved 8 November 2011.
- Rodgers, D. Patrick (11 November 2010). "Alan Parsons' Camp Alleges Lady Antebellum Rip-Off". Nashvillescene.com. Retrieved 8 November 2011.
- "Alan Parsons Announces First New Album in 15 Years". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
- [dead link]
- "The Alan Parsons Project - The Collection". Discogs.com. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
- "Live in Colombia". Smile.amazon.com. 10 February 2017. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
- "All Our Yesterdays". Smile.amazon.com. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
- "Alan Parsons - Fragile". Smile.amazon.com. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
- "Do You Live at All?". Smile.amazon.com. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Alan Parsons|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Alan Parsons.|
- Alan Parsons Music Official Site
- Alan Parsons Project Official Site
- Alan Parsons at AllMusic
- Alan Parsons discography at Discogs
- Alan Parsons on IMDb
- The Avenue, The Official Alan Parsons Fan Club
- Crawdaddy! "Parsons Knows: The Tale of Alan Parsons and Edgar Allan Poe"
- Alan Parsons NAMM Oral History Program Interview (2011)