Alan Parsons

Last updated

Alan Parsons
OBE
Alan Parsons 2017-05-19 ap0033cwo.jpg
Parsons in 2017
Background information
Born (1948-12-20) 20 December 1948 (age 72)
Willesden, London, England, UK
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 OBE (born 20 December 1948 [1] ) is an English audio engineer, songwriter, musician, and record producer. Parsons's father was Parsons Code developer Alexander Denys Herbert (Denys) Parsons; his mother was Jane Kelty (Kelty) MacLeod. [2]

Contents

Parsons was involved with the production of several albums, including the Beatles' Abbey Road (1969) and Let It Be (1970), Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon (1973), and the eponymous debut album by Ambrosia in 1975. Parsons's own group, The Alan Parsons Project, as well as his subsequent solo recordings, have also been commercially successful. He has been nominated for 13 Grammy Awards, with his first win occurring in 2019 for Best Immersive Audio Album for Eye in the Sky (35th Anniversary Edition). [3]

Career

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 ]

Parsons 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 ]

Parsons also produced three albums by Pilot, a Scottish pop rock band, whose hits included "January" and "Magic". 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 albums. [4]

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.

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

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 thirteen Grammy Award nominations. In 2006 he received a nomination for Best Surround Sound Album for A Valid Path . In 2018 he finally won his first Grammy Award for Best immersive Audio Album for his remastered 35th anniversary edition of Eye in the Sky. [5]

Beginning in 2001 and extending for four years, Parsons 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 as 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. [6] 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). [7]

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. [8]

In 2010, Parsons released his single "All Our Yesterdays" through Authentik Artists. [9] 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. [10]

During 2010, several media reports, [11] [12] one of which included a quote from a representative of Parsons, [13] 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 17 November 2017.

On 19 July 2018, Parsons and engineer Noah Bruskin opened a new recording studio, ParSonics. ParSonics was used in the recording of Alan Parsons’ most recent album The Secret. [14] [15]

On 26 April 2019, Parsons released a new studio album, The Secret, his first album in 15 years. [16]

Personal life

Parsons was born in Willesden, London. He resides in Santa Barbara, California on an organic avocado ranch called Tres Vientos 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.

The film actor Oliver Reed was a first cousin once removed, although they never met. [17] [ better source needed ]

Discography

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 Arista13USAL 9518 (US LP) ARCD 8226 (US CD)
June 1982 Eye in the Sky Arista7US
1983 The Best of the Alan Parsons Project Arista53US
December 1983 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 [18] 88697043372
2010 The Collection Sony / Camden [19] 88697808482
23 March 2014 The Sicilian Defence (part of The Complete Albums Collection)Arista / Sony [20] 88697890552-11
as Solo Artist  Studio Albums
6 October 1993 Try Anything Once Arista122US
24 September 1996 On Air A&M/Digital Sound78US
28 September 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 [21] earMusic
as Solo Artist  Singles
15 June 2010 All Our Yesterdays / Alpha Centauri (2010) [22] Authentik Artists, Inc.
3 April 2014 Fragile / Luciferama [23] Mfp Music Productions
10 April 2015 Do You Live at All [24]
as Engineer
1969 Abbey Road (The Beatles)Apple1UK
US
1970 Atom Heart Mother (Pink Floyd) Harvest 1
55
UK
US
1971 Stormcock (Roy Harper)Harvest
1971 Wild Life (Wings) Apple 10
11
US
UK
1973 The Dark Side of the Moon (Pink Floyd)Harvest2
1
UK
US
1973 Red Rose Speedway (Paul McCartney and Wings) Apple 1
5
US
UK
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
2019 Jonathan Cilia Faro (Grown up Christmas List) NewArias Production USA, Italy
as Executive Producer / Mentor
1999 Turning the Tide (Iconic Phare)Carrera Records

Billboard Top 40 hit singles (US)

Canadian singles

Honours and awards

Parsons was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2021 Birthday Honours for services to music and music production. [25]

Nominations

Related Research Articles

The Alan Parsons Project

The Alan Parsons Project were a British 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 session players 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".

<i>The Dark Side of the Moon</i> 1973 studio album by Pink Floyd

The Dark Side of the Moon is the eighth studio album by the 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. The record was conceived as an album that focused on the pressures faced by the band during their arduous lifestyle, and dealing with the apparent mental health problems suffered by former band member Syd Barrett, who departed the group in 1968. 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 British 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.

"The Great Gig in the Sky" is the fifth track on The Dark Side of the Moon, the 1973 album by the English progressive rock band Pink Floyd. The song features music by Richard Wright and non-lexical vocals by Clare Torry.

Ambrosia (band) American rock band

Ambrosia is an American rock band formed in Los Angeles, 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", and top 20 hits "You're the Only Woman " and "Holdin' on to Yesterday". Most of the original band members have been active with the group continuously for over thirty years to the present day.

Eric Woolfson

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 awards, have been seen by over a million people, and have been performed in Germany, Austria, Korea and Japan.

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

I Robot is the second studio album by British 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 stories, exploring philosophical themes regarding artificial intelligence. It was re-released on vinyl and cassette tape in 1984 and on CD in 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 May 1982 by Arista Records. At the 25th Annual Grammy Awards in 1983, Eye in the Sky was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Engineered Album. In 2019, the album won the Grammy Award for Best Immersive Audio Album at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards.

<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.

<i>Vulture Culture</i> 1984 studio album by The Alan Parsons Project

Vulture Culture is the eighth studio album by The Alan Parsons Project, released in 1984 via the Arista label.

Ken Scott British record producer and engineer

Ken Scott is a British record producer and engineer known for being one of the five main engineers for the Beatles, as well as engineering Elton John, Pink Floyd, Procol Harum, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Duran Duran, the Jeff Beck Group and many more. As a producer, Scott is noted for his work with David Bowie, Supertramp, Devo, Kansas, the Tubes, Ronnie Montrose and Level 42, among others.

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. Married to Melissa Kathryn (Braun) Guthrie and parent of two cats, Bert & Jack. Original music and scoring.

Scarlet Party

Scarlet Party was formed in Essex, England, in the early 1980s. The founder members were, singer/songwriters Graham Dye, and brother Steven Dye, with drummer Sean Heaphy.

David Paton

David Paton is a Scottish bassist, guitarist and singer. He first achieved success in the mid-1970s as lead vocalist and bassist of Pilot, who scored hits with "Magic", "January", "Just a Smile" and "Call Me Round" before splitting in 1977. Paton is also known for his work in the original lineup of The Alan Parsons Project (1975-1985), and for working with acts such as Kate Bush, Camel and Elton John.

<i>Freudiana</i>

Freudiana is a rock opera by Eric Woolfson. It was to be the 11th album by The Alan Parsons Project, but during its development, Woolfson had creative differences with Alan Parsons. The production, released in 1990, 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) 1982 song by The Alan Parsons Project

"Eye in the Sky" is a song by British rock band the Alan Parsons Project. It was released as a single from their sixth studio album, Eye in the Sky (1982), in August 1982. It hit No. 3 on the Billboard charts in the U.S. in October 1982, No. 1 in both Canada and Spain, and No. 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.

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.

Haydn Bendall

Haydn Bendall is an English record producer, audio engineer and mixer. He was Chief Engineer at Abbey Road Studios for ten years and was awarded the Audio Pro Industry Excellence Award for Best Studio Engineer in 2009.

<i>Alan Parsons Live</i> 1994 live album by Alan Parsons

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.

References

  1. 1 2 "Alan Parsons – Bio FAQ Discography". 12 December 2009. Archived from the original on 12 December 2009. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
  2. "Denys Parsons". www.penguin.co.uk. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
  3. 1 2 "Alan Parsons". Grammy.com. 15 February 2019. Retrieved 2 June 2019.
  4. the Trades article Interview: Alan Parsons: The Artist and Scientist of Sound Recording
  5. "Alan Parsons". GRAMMY.com. 19 May 2020. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
  6. Live, Alan Parsons. "Bios". Alan Parsons Live. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
  7. "The Alan Parsons Symphonic Project - Live In Colombia". Discogs. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
  8. Parsons and Which One's Pink Archived 28 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  9. "iTunes – Music – All Our Yesterdays – Single by Alan Parsons". Itunes.apple.com. 15 June 2010. Retrieved 8 November 2011.
  10. "Alan Parsons' Art & Science of Sound Recording". Artandscienceofsound.com. Retrieved 8 November 2011.
  11. "Lady Antebellum vs. The Alan Parsons Project". Freshmilc.com. Retrieved 8 November 2011.
  12. "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.
  13. Rodgers, D. Patrick (11 November 2010). "Alan Parsons' Camp Alleges Lady Antebellum Rip-Off". Nashvillescene.com. Retrieved 8 November 2011.
  14. "Studio - ParSonics Recording Studio". ParSonics. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
  15. 26 Jul, Gail Arnold Thu; 2018 | 6:10am (26 July 2018). "Alan and Lisa Parsons Host Launch Party for New Studio". The Santa Barbara Independent. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
  16. "Alan Parsons Announces First New Album in 15 Years". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  17. "Family tree of Herbert Beerbohm Tree". Geneanet. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
  18. [ dead link ]
  19. "The Alan Parsons Project – The Collection". Discogs.com. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
  20. "The Alan Parsons Project : The Complete Albums Collection". Discogs.com. Retrieved 16 July 2019.
  21. "Live in Colombia". Smile.amazon.com. 10 February 2017. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
  22. "All Our Yesterdays". Smile.amazon.com. Retrieved 5 October 2017.[ permanent dead link ]
  23. "Alan Parsons – Fragile". Smile.amazon.com. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
  24. "Do You Live at All?". Smile.amazon.com. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
  25. "No. 63377". The London Gazette (Supplement). 12 June 2021. p. B13.
  26. "THE ALAN PARSONS PROJECT  'EYE IN THE SKY' 35TH ANNIVERSARY BOX SET EDITION  OUT NOW". We Are Sony Music Legacy. Retrieved 2 June 2019.