The Best Of The Alan Parsons Project

From the liner notes...
The mid 1970's was a musical era awash in the ashes of the late 60's and early 70's progressive rock movement. The New Wave from the American coasts and England had yet to appear and the new generation of mainstream artists were still in their infancy, if together at all. The musical euphoria and innovation which was so prevalent just a few years earlier had gotten a bit stagnant... but there were exceptions. A handful of new as well as veteran artists managed to forge ahead with continuing high standards of musicianship and expression. Clearly, among those exceptions was the Alan Parsons Project with wide screen, cinematic music that would "float like a butterfly and sting like a bee".

However, unlike many artists who attempt cinematic music, the Alan Parsons Project was able to combine rich orchestral textures with a sense of economy. The key has always been in the Project's ability to deliver a sense of balance. Complex arrangements were fitted to accessible melodies... Their musicianship has the highest standards, yet the frequently boring indulgences common to progressive artists were absent from the Project's music, and the overall feel of the songs was conducive to headphone listening as well as background listening.

Perhaps the greatest example of balance is in the founding members themselves. Alan Parsons was so blown away by hearing the Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" album in 1967 that he applied for and successfully landed a job at the famous Abbey Road Studios in London. Parsons worked with the Beatles on the "Abbey Road" album and continued his relationship with Paul McCartney, recording "Wild Life" and "Red Rose Speedway". He was also nominated for a Grammy for recording Pink Floyd's classic "Dark Side of the Moon".

In 1974 Alan Parsons met Eric Woolfson, who was soon to function as Alan Parsons' manager and shortly thereafter as his musical partner. Thus, the Project was born.

Although Woolfson has a lower profile than Parsons, his contributions as a song writer and conceptual collaborator have been critical to the Project's success through the years.

When Parsons and Woolfson aren't busy dreaming up ideas for their next release, or actually developing a piece, Woolfson might be found discussing world politics at his favourite English restaurant, while Parsons is coming to terms with some new piece of technology. It's the balance of personalities, as well as the balance of musical elements, as with so many great artists, that make it happen.

The Project has always been committed to its own musical concepts rather than trend and what may be fashionable at the time. At times their music has flown in the face of the mainstream and through it all, album after album, they have managed to please their fans, regardless of hit singles or marketing gimmicks. Since the Project has never toured, it seems refreshing to hear music that is based purely on sound and song rather than an image or an obsession with the latests novelty. They have managed to power themselves through the lat 70's stadium rock era, the early 80's Disco sound, and the present Euro-synthesiser/drum machine overkill.

Much of their magic has to be credited to their ability to be flexible musically without sacrificing their inherent sound. They have been funky on tracks like "Wouldn't Want To Be Like You", straight ahead on "Games People Play", and dreamy in an almost Technicolor way with "Nucleus". Again, the balance of Woolfson's pop sensibility with Parsons' trend setting production allows their music to stretch out, use unusual instrumentation and maintain accessibility.

Using regular musicians, yet not having the restrictions of certain people locked in certain functions, the Alan Parsons Project was among the pioneers of the concept of interchangeable band members, as previously found only in solo or orchestral situations.

The Project's first album was "Tales of Mystery and Imagination" which was recorded over a two year period. It met with good, though not overwhelming, public response. In 1977 the Project switched labels and began a new phase with a series of concept albums. The "I Robot" album was a view of tomorrow through the eyes of today. Both ethereal and funky, "I Robot" was a huge success.

In June 1978 a look at yesterday through the eyes of today was evident on the "Pyramid" album. By this point the Project had established a firm base of fans in North America, continental Europe and Australia. The "Eve" album followed in August of 1979, on the subject of women.

Their success continued with the release of "Turn Of A Friendly Card" in October 1980, an album about the subconscious versus the power of choice. As obscure as the theme may seem on the surface, the album stayed high on the charts for over a year and yielded two hit singles, "Time" and "Games People Play".

After a brief "rest", the Project resumed with "Eye in the Sky", a 1984-ish look at the future. The title track "Eye In The Sky" continued their string of widely played singles, although their intent was essentially to continue their conceptual approach rather than compromise for the sole benefit of commercial single success.

Some artists with new and innovative ideas run out of creative fuel after a time, but the Project has continued to evolve and to take their own music higher and further. While this compilation clearly documents the evolution of the Alan Parsons Project, there are already rumours emanating from their "home" studio at Abbey Road of another adventurous Project album, possibly with video connections, a medium in which Parsons and Woolfson have great interest.

But whatever the results, we're guaranteed another state of the art experience that will keep the spirit of progressive music alive.

-- By Lee Abrams, September 21 1983

A limited circulation of an in-depth book of The Alan Parsons Project is in preparation and will be published in 1984. If you wish to receive advance information, please send your name and address to The Alan Parsons Project, c/o PO Box 738, New York, N.Y. 10101

The liner notes mention an in-depth book on the APP. The book was barely started, and never finished.

- Wesley Chun

The best of the Alan Parsons Project, the first official compilation, includes only pre-released material, with the exception of "You don't believe" - also released as a single at the time - then included in Ammonia Avenue.

- Stefano Viezzoli

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The following notes have been recently added
simply the best !

- matthew laming

The following links have been recently added
  1. simply the best !

Track Listing
Time Track Title Vocalist
3:08I Wouldn't Want To Be Like YouLenny Zakatek
4:29Eye In The SkyEric Woolfson
4:14Games People PlayLenny Zakatek
4:57TimeEric Woolfson
2:40PyramaniaJack Harris
4:23You Don't BelieveLenny Zakatek
4:48PsychobabbleElmer Gantry
3:30Damned If I DoLenny Zakatek
3:28Don't Let It ShowDave Townsend
4:40Can't Take It With YouDean Ford
4:04Old And WiseColin Blunstone
Mastering Consultant: Chris Blair
Producer & Engineer: Alan Parsons
Executive Producer: Eric Woolfson
Arranger & Conductor [except You Don't Believe]: Andrew Powell
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