Alan Parsons

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Alan Parsons
Alan Parsons 2017-05-19 ap0033cwo.jpg
Alan Parsons in 2017
Background information
Born (1948-12-20) 20 December 1948 (age 70)
London, England
Genres Rock, progressive rock
Occupation(s) Audio engineer, composer, musician, record producer, director
Instruments Keyboards, synthesizer, guitar, bass guitar, vocals, flute
Years active1967–present
Labels Legacy, Arista, Fox, Mercury, Frontiers [ citation needed ]
Associated acts The Alan Parsons Project
Website Alan Parsons Music

Alan Parsons (born 20 December 1948) [1] 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.

Audio engineer engineer who operates recording, mixing, sound reproduction equipment

An audio engineer helps to produce a recording or a live performance, balancing and adjusting sound sources using equalization and audio effects, mixing, reproduction, and reinforcement of sound. Audio engineers work on the "...technical aspect of recording—the placing of microphones, pre-amp knobs, the setting of levels. The physical recording of any project is done by an engineer ... the nuts and bolts." It's a creative hobby and profession where musical instruments and technology are used to produce sound for film, radio, television, music, and video games. Audio engineers also set up, sound check and do live sound mixing using a mixing console and a sound reinforcement system for music concerts, theatre, sports games and corporate events.

A songwriter is a professional that writes lyrics or composes musical compositions for songs. A songwriter can also be called a composer, although the latter term tends to be used mainly for individuals from the classical music genre and film scoring, but is also associated with writing and composing the original musical composition or musical bed. A songwriter that writes the lyrics/words are referred to as lyricist. The pressure from the music industry to produce popular hits means that songwriting is often an activity for which the tasks are distributed between a number of people. For example, a songwriter who excels at writing lyrics might be paired with a songwriter with the task of creating original melodies. Pop songs may be written by group members from the band or by staff writers – songwriters directly employed by music publishers. Some songwriters serve as their own music publishers, while others have outside publishers.

Musician person who performs or composes music

A musician is a person who plays a musical instrument or is musically talented. Anyone who composes, conducts, or performs music is referred to as a musician. A musician who plays a musical instrument is also known as an instrumentalist.



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.[ citation needed ] He considered himself to be a recording director, likening his contribution to recordings to what Stanley Kubrick contributed to film.[ citation needed ] 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.[ citation needed ] 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".[ citation needed ] 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.[ citation needed ]

Abbey Road Studios recording studio in London, England

Abbey Road Studios is a recording studio at 3 Abbey Road, St John's Wood, City of Westminster, London, England. It was established in November 1931 by the Gramophone Company, a predecessor of British music company EMI, which owned it until Universal Music took control of part of EMI in 2013.

Paul McCartney and Wings Band from England

Paul McCartney and Wings, also known simply as Wings, were a British-American rock band formed in 1971 by former Beatle Paul McCartney with his wife Linda on keyboards, session drummer Denny Seiwell, and former Moody Blues guitarist Denny Laine. Wings were noted for frequent personnel changes as well as commercial success, going through three lead guitarists and four drummers. However, the core trio of the McCartneys and Laine remained intact throughout the group's existence.

<i>Wild Life</i> (Wings album) 1971 studio album by Wings

Wild Life is the debut album by Wings and the third studio album by Paul McCartney following the breakup of the Beatles. The album was recorded during July–August 1971 at Abbey Road Studios by McCartney and his wife Linda along with session drummer Denny Seiwell, whom they had worked with on the previous album, Ram, and Denny Laine, formerly of the Moody Blues. It was released by Apple Records on 7 December, in both the UK and US, to lukewarm critical and commercial reaction.

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".

Pilot were a Scottish rock group, formed in 1973 in Edinburgh by David Paton and Billy Lyall. They are best known for their songs "Magic" and "January".

Pop rock is rock music with a greater emphasis on professional songwriting and recording craft, and less emphasis on attitude. Originating in the 1950s as an alternative to rock and roll, early pop rock was influenced by the beat, arrangements, and style of rock and roll. It may be viewed as a distinct genre field, rather than music that overlaps with pop and rock. The detractors of pop rock often deride it as a slick, commercial product, less authentic than rock music.

Ian Bairnson is a Scottish musician, best known for being one of the core members of The Alan Parsons Project. He is a multi-instrumentalist, who has played saxophone and keyboards, although he is best known as a guitarist. He is also known for preferring the sound of a sixpence to a plectrum.

He also mixed the debut album by the American band Ambrosia and produced their second album Somewhere I've Never Travelled. Parsons was nominated for a Grammy Award for both of these albums. [2]

Ambrosia (band) band

Ambrosia is an American rock band formed in southern California in 1970. Ambrosia had five Top 40 hit singles released between 1975 and 1980, including the Top 5 hits "How Much I Feel" and "Biggest Part of Me". Most of the original band members have been active with the group continuously for well over 25 years to the present day.

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.

<i>Wish You Were Here</i> (Pink Floyd album) 1975 studio album by Pink Floyd

Wish You Were Here is the ninth studio album by the English rock band Pink Floyd, released on 12 September 1975 through Harvest Records and Columbia Records, their first release for the latter. Based on material Pink Floyd composed while performing in Europe, Wish You Were Here was recorded over numerous sessions throughout 1975, at Abbey Road Studios in London.

The Alan Parsons Project British band

The Alan Parsons Project were an English rock band active between 1975 and 1990, whose core membership consisted of Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson. They were accompanied by a varying number of session musicians and some relatively consistent band members such as guitarist Ian Bairnson, arranger Andrew Powell, bassist and vocalist David Paton, drummer Stuart Elliott, and vocalists Lenny Zakatek and Chris Rainbow. Parsons was an audio engineer and producer by profession, but also a musician and a composer. A songwriter by profession, Woolfson was also a composer, a pianist, and a singer. Almost all the songs on the Project's albums are credited to "Woolfson/Parsons".

Eric Woolfson Scottish musician

Eric Norman Woolfson was a Scottish songwriter, lyricist, vocalist, executive producer, pianist, and co-creator of The Alan Parsons Project. Together they sold over 50 million albums worldwide. Following the 10 successful albums he made with Alan Parsons, Woolfson pursued a career in musical theatre. He wrote five musicals which won numerous awards, have been seen by over a million people, and have been performed in Germany, Austria, Korea and Japan.

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.

Time (The Alan Parsons Project song) song by the Alan Parsons Project

"Time" is a song released in 1981 as a single by the Alan Parsons Project. It was from their 1980 album The Turn of a Friendly Card. In the U.S., the song peaked at #15 on the Billboard Hot 100. On the U.S. Adult Contemporary chart, "Time" peaked at #10. In addition, "Time" spent two weeks at #14 on Cash Box, making it the group's second most successful single. Cash Box ranked it as the 94th biggest hit of 1981. Outside the US, the song peaked at #30 in Canada.

Of all his collaborators, guitarist Ian Bairnson worked with Parsons the longest, including Parsons' post-Project albums, Try Anything Once , On Air , and The Time Machine.

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.[ citation needed ] 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. [3]

In 2010, Parsons released his single "All Our Yesterdays" through Authentik Artists. [4] 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. [5]

During 2010, several media reports, [6] [7] one of which included a quote from a representative of Parsons, [8] 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. [9]

Personal life

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. [1] He has two sons, Jeremy (Jerry) and Daniel, from his previous marriage.


Studio albums

Full discography

DateTitleLabelChartedCountryCatalog Number
as part of The Alan Parsons Project
May 1976 Tales of Mystery and Imagination Mercury 38US
June 1977 I Robot Arista 9USSPARTY 1012
June 1978 Pyramid Arista26US
August 1979 Eve Arista13US
November 1980 The Turn of a Friendly Card Arista13US
June 1982 Eye in the Sky Arista7US
1983 The Best of the Alan Parsons Project Arista53US
February 1984 Ammonia Avenue Arista15US
February 1985 Vulture Culture Arista46US
November 1985 Stereotomy Arista43US
January 1987 Gaudi Arista57US
1988 The Best of the Alan Parsons Project, Vol. 2 Arista
1988 The Instrumental Works Arista
1990 Freudiana EMI
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 Arista88697016972
2007 the Essential (2 CD Compilation)Arista / Legacy [10] 88697043372
2010 The Collection Sony / Camden [11] 88697808482
as Solo Artist - STUDIO ALBUMS
6 October 1993 Try Anything Once Arista122US
24 Sept 1996 On Air A&M/Digital Sound78US
28 Sept 1999 The Time Machine Miramar71US
24 August 2004 A Valid Path Artemis 34US
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 Frontierse
Sept 2013 Alan Parsons LiveSpan MFP
June 2016 Alan Parsons Symphonic Project, Live in Colombia [12] earMusic
as Solo Artist - SINGLES
15 June 2010 All Our Yesterdays / Alpha Centauri (2010) [13] Authentik Artists, Inc.
3 April 2014 Fragile / Luciferama [14] Mfp Music Productions
10 April 2015 Do You Live At All [15]
as Engineer
1969 Abbey Road (The Beatles)Apple1UK
1970 Atom Heart Mother (Pink Floyd)Harvest1
1973 The Dark Side of the Moon (Pink Floyd)Harvest2
1974 Hollies (The Hollies)Polydor (UK), Epic (US)28US
1975 Another Night (The Hollies)132US
1975 Ambrosia (Ambrosia)20th Century22US
1976 Year of the Cat (Al Stewart)5US
1978 Time Passages (Al Stewart)10US
2013 The Raven That Refused to Sing (And Other Stories) (Steven Wilson)Kscope28UK
as Producer
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)171US
1976 Year of the Cat (Al Stewart)5US
1976 Somewhere I've Never Travelled (Ambrosia)20th Century79US
1978 Time Passages (Al Stewart)10US
1979 Lenny Zakatek (Lenny Zakatek)A&MUS
March 1984 Keats EMI
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)

Canadian singles

Awards and nominations


Related Research Articles

<i>The Dark Side of the Moon</i> studio album by Pink Floyd

The Dark Side of the Moon is the eighth studio album by English rock band Pink Floyd, released on 1 March 1973 by Harvest Records. Primarily developed during live performances, the band premiered an early version of the record several months before recording began. New material was recorded in two sessions in 1972 and 1973 at Abbey Road Studios in London.

<i>Tales of Mystery and Imagination</i> (Alan Parsons Project album) 1976 studio album by The Alan Parsons Project

Tales of Mystery and Imagination is the debut studio album by English rock band The Alan Parsons Project. It was released on 1 May 1976 in the United States by 20th Century Fox Records and on 1 June 1976 in the United Kingdom by Charisma Records. The lyrical and musical themes of the album, which are retellings of horror stories and poetry by Edgar Allan Poe, attracted a cult audience. The title of the album is taken from the title of a collection of Poe's macabre stories of the same name.

<i>Delicate Sound of Thunder</i> 1988 live album by Pink Floyd

Delicate Sound of Thunder is the first entirely live album by the English progressive rock band Pink Floyd. It was recorded over five nights at the Nassau Coliseum on Long Island, New York in August 1988 and mixed at Abbey Road Studios in September 1988. It was released on 22 November 1988, through EMI Records in the United Kingdom and Columbia Records in the United States.

<i>I Robot</i> (album) 1977 studio album by The Alan Parsons Project

I Robot is the second studio album by English progressive rock band The Alan Parsons Project, released on 1 June 1977 by Arista Records. The album draws conceptually on author Isaac Asimov's science fiction Robot trilogy, exploring philosophical themes regarding artificial intelligence. It was re-released on vinyl and cassette tape in 1984 and on CD 2007.

<i>Eye in the Sky</i> (album) 1982 studio album by The Alan Parsons Project

Eye in the Sky is the sixth studio album by English rock band The Alan Parsons Project, released in June 1982 by Arista Records.

<i>Pyramid</i> (The Alan Parsons Project album) 1978 studio album by The Alan Parsons Project

Pyramid is the third album by progressive rock band The Alan Parsons Project, released in 1978. It is a concept album centred on the pyramids of Giza. At the time the album was conceived, interest in pyramid power and Tutankhamun was widespread in the US and the UK. Pyramid was nominated for the 1978 Grammy Award for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical.

<i>Stereotomy</i> 1985 studio album by The Alan Parsons Project

Stereotomy is the ninth studio album by The Alan Parsons Project, released in 1985.

Tim Renwick British musician

Timothy John Pearson Renwick is an English guitarist. He is best known for his association with Al Stewart in his early career and for his long-standing role as lead guitarist for The Sutherland Brothers and Quiver. He also performed with Pink Floyd on their 1987 and 1994 tours, as well as accompanying the band at their Live 8 performance.

James Guthrie (record producer) English record producer

James K.A. Guthrie is an English recording engineer and record producer best known for his work with the progressive rock band Pink Floyd, serving as a producer and engineer for the band since 1978. He is the owner and operator of das boot recording in Lake Tahoe, California.

<i>Freudiana</i> album

Freudiana is a rock opera by Eric Woolfson. It was to be the 11th album by The Alan Parsons Project, but during its development, Eric Woolfson had creative differences with Alan Parsons. The production utilizes the Project's personnel as well as many guest vocalists. Alan Parsons later began his career as a solo artist with his 1993 album Try Anything Once, which was musically in a direction more or less continued from that of the Project's 1987's Gaudi.

Eye in the Sky (song) song

"Eye in the Sky" is a 1982 song by the British rock band The Alan Parsons Project from the album Eye in the Sky. It hit #3 on the Billboard charts in the U.S. in October 1982, #1 in both Canada and Spain, and #6 in New Zealand and was their most successful release. The instrumental piece entitled "Sirius" segues into "Eye in the Sky"' on the original recording.

Andrew Brook "Andy" Jackson is a British recording engineer best known for his work with the British progressive rock band Pink Floyd. He is also the owner and operator of Tube Mastering, a private studio specializing in recorded music mastering.

Peter Mew is a retired British music audio engineer. He worked at Abbey Road Studios, where he was the senior mastering engineer. He came to Abbey Road in 1965 as a tape operator and has since worked with many artists at the studio. Kevin Ayers of Soft Machine has called Mew "the best engineer I've ever worked with".

<i>The Alan Parsons Project That Never Was</i> 2009 studio album by Eric Woolfson

Eric Woolfson sings The Alan Parsons Project That Never Was is an album by the progressive rock musician Eric Woolfson, co-creator with Alan Parsons of The Alan Parsons Project, as well as main songwriter and manager of the band. Released in 2009, this was Woolfson's final album before he died of cancer in December of that year. The album includes songs that remained unreleased since the Project time for various reasons; however, as Woolfson himself remarks in the booklet, Parsons' dislike for some of Woolfson's compositions would have often caused them to be excluded from a Project album in its very early stages - such as, for example, "Steal Your Heart Away", an "unashamedly commercial" song with a conventionally sentimental lyric, which Parsons, in Woolfson's words, would have absolutely detested. "Somewhere in the Audience" and "Immortal" are slightly re-arranged and re-recorded versions of two of Woolfson's demos for his 2003 musical about Edgar Allan Poe; the final versions of these songs, sung by the musical's protagonist Steve Balsamo, are featured on the album Poe: More Tales of Mystery and Imagination. "Train to Wuxi" was the original version of "Train to Freedom", which is also included in the Poe musical and features Woolfson's one and only guitar solo.

Haydn Bendall English record producer and sound engineer

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Doug Sax American mastering engineer

Doug Sax was an American mastering engineer from Los Angeles, California. He mastered three of The Doors' albums, including their 1967 debut; six of Pink Floyd's albums, including The Wall; Ray Charles' multiple-Grammy winner Genius Loves Company in 2004, and Bob Dylan's 36th studio album Shadows in the Night in 2015.

Alan Parsons Live is the first live album by Alan Parsons, recorded in May 1994 during his European tour, and released late that year by Arcade Records in Europe. RCA/BMG added three new studio tracks and changed the cover art when releasing the album in the rest of the world in 1995, renaming it The Very Best Live; stylized on the cover with "The Very Best" in a smaller font between Alan Parsons and Live. The live performances on the album are all songs from his years with The Alan Parsons Project.


  1. 1 2 "Alan Parsons - Bio FAQ Discography". 12 December 2009. Archived from the original on 12 December 2009. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
  2. the Trades article Interview: Alan Parsons: The Artist and Scientist of Sound Recording
  3. Parsons and Which One's Pink Archived 28 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  4. "iTunes – Music – All Our Yesterdays – Single by Alan Parsons". 15 June 2010. Retrieved 8 November 2011.
  5. "Alan Parsons' Art & Science of Sound Recording". Retrieved 8 November 2011.
  6. "Lady Antebellum vs. The Alan Parsons Project". Retrieved 8 November 2011.
  7. "People accusing Lady Antebellum of stealing Alan Parson song". 18 November 2010. Archived from the original on 6 November 2011. Retrieved 8 November 2011.
  8. Rodgers, D. Patrick (11 November 2010). "Alan Parsons' Camp Alleges Lady Antebellum Rip-Off". Retrieved 8 November 2011.
  9. "Alan Parsons Announces First New Album in 15 Years". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  10. [ dead link ]
  11. "The Alan Parsons Project - The Collection". Retrieved 5 October 2017.
  12. "Live in Colombia". 10 February 2017. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
  13. "All Our Yesterdays". Retrieved 5 October 2017.
  14. "Alan Parsons - Fragile". Retrieved 5 October 2017.
  15. "Do You Live at All?". Retrieved 5 October 2017.