The Alan Parsons Project was 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 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”.
The Alan Parsons Project released eleven studio albums in its 15-year career (the twelfth, The Sicilian Defence, was originally recorded in 1979 and released in 2014), including the successful I Robot and Eye in the Sky. Some of their most notable songs are “The Raven”, “(The System of) Dr. Tarr and Professor Feather”, “I Wouldn’t Want to Be Like You”, “Games People Play”, “Time”, “Snake Eyes”, “Sirius”/”Eye in the Sky”, “Old and Wise”, and “Don’t Answer Me”. Here are all of The Alan Parsons Project albums ranked.
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10. Stereotomy (1985)
“I LOVE the keyboards so much here! Listen to all that stuff! It’s a really interesting exploration of the newer technology! This record is probably his best one in the 80’s. The vocals are very good, and if it is not extremely progressive, at least you have those keyboards to appreciate! Nothing complex on this record! The guitars are quite good too, and the compositions are never crap.” Listen to this subtle floating background keyboard on “Urbania” while the nervous stuff is in the front! On “where’s the walrus?”, the beat is almost like on “Welcome to the pleasuredome” by Frankie goes to Hollywood. “Chinese whispers” is another keyboards jewel intro.
9. Gaudi (1987)
“Gaudi was the Project’s tenth studio album & would be the last album of Project officially. It pales in comparison to their other efforts. Parsons & Woolfson would go their separate ways after this album. Woolfson would go on to do Broadway productions, you can hear some of that in this effort. Gaudi would peak at #57 on the charts & was the last Project album to chart. There weren’t any singles that cracked into any form of a Billboard chart.”
8. Vulture Culture (1985)
“On Vulture Culture, The Alan Parsons Project faced an interesting setting. It was a concept album about a cold era when no one cared and everyone thought just about themselves, and it was a suitable choice to play and produce the album in a contemporary, almost ultra-modern way. But what did you get if you took the concept off? An album full of contemporary, almost ultra-modern sounds. Is this the soundtrack of Knight Rider?”
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7. Eve (1979)
“This album captures the Alan Parsons Project at a turning point. For the fans of the first couple of albums this is where they left the bus, as the prog rock influenced instrumental passages were making way for shorter, commercial pop songs. On the other hand, for fans of the band’s pop albums from the first half of the 80s this is probably the oldest APP album they like. If you’ve never liked the Alan Parsons Project’s pop oriented stuff this is not for you. But if you’ve liked the band’s later hit albums and this one somehow passed you by, it’s definitely recommended.”
6. Ammonia Avenue (1984)
‘Here Alan Parsons is unleashed, this album been 100% commercial, but in a good way. Other commercial hits as “Don t answer me” , “Prime time” ,”You don t believe ” and ” Ammonia Avenue” nail this album. Unfortunately it is the last album very strong in compositions, some outstanding tracks and hits very famous still now. From now on all his future musical work will have just hits and except Freudiana nothing will remind how should sound an Alan Parsons Project album.”
5. Pyramid (1978)
“In this album story is changing. Start to look like a concept album, more complex, sophisticated and all tracks are very good. This is one of my favorites. This one same I have it as well on vinyl with an extraordinary presentation. Sound is fantastic, really an Alan Parsons master sound as in Pink Floyd ‘ s Dark Side of the Moon. Again a lot of instrumental works which blends with outstanding vocal tracks, in all one of the best albums of Parsons and Woolfson.”
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4. Tales of Mystery and Imagination: Edgar Allan Poe (1976)
“The Alan Parsons Project‘s first work is a concept album based on Edgar Allan Poe’s opus, with every track inspired by both famous and relatively obscure pieces. Despite the mostly dark nature of the source material, most of the songs are surprisingly catchy and accessible, almost pop-like, albeit with many classical and baroque influences (The Cask of Amontillado features a harpsichord, and the first part of the Usher suite is directly lifted from an unfinished work by classical composer Claude Debussy) mixed with modern technology (the vocoder in The Raven). The melodies and the singing vary from relaxed to eerily calm to frantic to downright deranged, in perfect harmony with the madness theme common in Poe’s works (case in point: the entirety of The Tell-Tale Heart). Likely not what you might expect thinking of Edgar Allan Poe, still a very catchy and enjoyable album.”
3. Eye in the Sky (1982)
‘Well, as it turns out, it’s a better album than my memory was telling me. Of course, everyone knows ‘Sirius/Eye in the Sky’, the first part famously used by the Chicago Bulls to introduce their starting line-up. Less famously, the Perth Wildcats from my home town also started using Sirius in the 1990s (perhaps they should’ve been known at the Perth Copycats, haha). The other track I readily recalled was the closing ballad, ‘Old and Wise’, sung by Colin Blunstone of The Zombies. This song has an almost sad atmosphere, so the album doesn’t exactly leave you on a high. There are a few more upbeat tracks though, ‘You’re Gonna Get Your Fingers Burned’ and ‘Step By Step’, both sung by Lenny Zakatek.”
2. The Turn of a Friendly Card (1980)
‘I tend to think of this album as “I Robot III”. I think I ROBOT, PYRAMID, and TURN as almost a continuing work. To some degree I think of “On Air” as I ROBOT IV”. These 4 albums seem to have some kind of special cohesiveness that they share, I cannot put my finger on it enough to describe it better than that. I think TURN is just a great album, music good for all occasions, this particular one is very nice to put on when you are alone late at night, working on something. Very nice quiet time music. Very nice in headphones. Good car music, a must have for AP fans.”
1. I Robot (1977)
“This is one of my favorite albums…one which brings back memories of my teen years and beyond. Outstanding music from the title song, through to the final song on side 2. I believe I went through 2 albums before switching over to cd. This may have been my first “space rock” or “art rock” album in my collection, but it Is truly a work of genius, and I highly recommend it to anyone who might like the 70’s style of music that has multiple labels slapped on it. You might just call it “progressive” and be done with it.”