The Turn of a Friendly Card

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The Turn of a Friendly Card
Studio album by The Alan Parsons Project
Released November 1980
Recorded Late 1979 – mid 1980 at Acousti Studio, Paris
Genre Progressive rock, pop rock
Length 40:32
Label Arista
Producer Alan Parsons
The Alan Parsons Project chronology
The Turn of a Friendly Card
Eye in the Sky
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[1]
Rolling Stone 2.5/5 stars[2]

The Turn of a Friendly Card is the fifth album by progressive rock band The Alan Parsons Project, released in 1980. It focuses on gambling, and loosely tells the tale of a middle-aged man who grows restless and takes a chance by going to a casino and betting all he has, only to lose it all. The album has a 16-minute title piece, which was broken up into five tracks (except the West German CD pressing), with the five sub-tracks listed as sub-sections. The Turn of a Friendly Card spawned the moderate hits "Games People Play" and "Time", the latter of which was Eric Woolfson's first lead vocal appearance.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson.

Side one
  1. "May Be a Price to Pay" (Lead vocal: Elmer Gantry (Dave Terry)) – 4:58
  2. "Games People Play" (Lead vocal: Lenny Zakatek) – 4:22
  3. "Time" (Lead vocal: Eric Woolfson; backing vocal: Alan Parsons) – 5:04
  4. "I Don't Wanna Go Home" (Lead vocal: Zakatek) – 5:03
Side two
  1. "The Gold Bug" (Instrumental) – 4:34
  2. "The Turn of a Friendly Card" – 16:24
    1. "The Turn of a Friendly Card (Part One)" (Lead vocal: Chris Rainbow) – 2:44
    2. "Snake Eyes" (Lead vocal: Rainbow) – 3:14
    3. "The Ace of Swords" (Instrumental) – 2:57
    4. "Nothing Left to Lose" (Lead vocal: Woolfson) – 4:07
    5. "The Turn of a Friendly Card (Part Two)" (Lead vocal: Rainbow) – 3:22

Though numbered as a single work, "The Turn of a Friendly Card" is split into five tracks.

The Turn of a Friendly Card was remastered and reissued in 2008 with the following bonus tracks:

  1. "May Be a Price to Pay" (Intro/demo)
  2. "Nothing Left to Lose" (Basic backing track)
  3. "Nothing Left to Lose" (Chris Rainbow overdub compilation)
  4. "Nothing Left to Lose" (Early studio version with Woolfson's guide vocal)
  5. "Time" (Early studio attempt)
  6. "Games People Play" (Rough mix)
  7. "The Gold Bug" (Demo)


Additional instrumentation[edit]

  • "The Gold Bug", which loosely references the same-titled short story by Edgar Allan Poe, is listed as "instrumental" on the tracklist; however, it features a whistling part by Parsons, who imitates the style of Ennio Morricone's legendary Spaghetti Western film themes, and wordless vocals by Rainbow, while the main theme is played on an alto saxophone by an as-yet-unidentified player (see following note).
  • The saxophone player on "The Gold Bug", originally credited as Mel Collins, is instead credited on the liner notes for the remastered edition as "A session player in Paris whose name escapes us"; this refers to the fact that the apparently unified saxophone part is actually a composite of several separate takes. Similarly, the accordion part on "Nothing Left to Lose", also credited in the liner notes to "An unidentified Parisian session player", was likely played by Woolfson.
  • Also on "The Gold Bug", the newer liner notes credit a "Harmonized Rotating Triangle" to drummer Stuart Elliott. This refers to the phasing sound effects heard throughout the rhythm-free introduction to the piece.


Year Chart Position
1980 The Billboard 200 13
1980 UK Albums Chart 38
1980 Norway 11
1981 Canada 16