|Born||20 December 1948|
Willesden, London, England
|Genres||Rock, progressive rock|
|Occupation(s)||Audio engineer, composer, musician, record producer, director|
|Instrument(s)||Keyboards, synthesizer, guitar, bass guitar, vocals, flute|
|Labels||Legacy, Arista, Fox, Mercury, Frontiers|
|Formerly of||The Alan Parsons Project|
Parsons was the sound engineer on 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).
After getting a job working in the tape duplication department at EMI, Parsons heard the master tape for the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, and decided to try talking his way into a job at Abbey Road Studios. In October 1967, at the age of 18, Parsons went to work as an assistant engineer at Abbey Road. He was a tape operator during the Beatles' Get Back sessions, and 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 Awards nomination.
"It was a bit of a frustration for me that I didn't get all the engineering credit," Parsons remarked of Dark Side of the Moon, "because Chris [Thomas] came in as mixing supervisor… I had been working on the album for a year and I obviously knew it inside-out by the mixing stage… There were times when I thought Chris was wrong, particularly about the use of limiting and compression on the mix, which I've never been a fan of… Although, later, I got the opportunity to mix the album the way I wanted when I did the quadraphonic version."
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.
In 1975, he declined Pink Floyd's invitation to work on Wish You Were Here – the follow-up to Dark Side – 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.
Chris Thompson joined Alan Parsons' band for his first solo album after the split of The Alan Parsons Project and was also one of the two frontmen on the ensuing tour, which was captured on the album Alan Parsons Live. For the U.S. release of this album in 1995 (retitled The Very Best Live), the band added three new studio recordings, recorded in February 1995. One of these was "You're the Voice", which marked the first time a version featuring the original songwriter (Thompson) had been released. "You're the Voice" was then performed at the World Liberty Concert in May 1995 by The Alan Parsons Band, Chris Thompson, and Metropole Orkest. The only official release associated with that concert was a single, featuring a radio edit of the live version of "You're the Voice" (faded out after four minutes). The B-side was a live recording of "White Dawn", which was performed by the Metropole Orkest and Gelders Opera and Operetta Gezelschap (GOOG) choir. The song was arranged by Andrew Powell and conducted by Dick Bakker.
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 was nominated for Best Surround Sound Album for A Valid Path. In 2019, he won his first Grammy Award for Best immersive Audio Album for his remastered 35th anniversary edition of Eye in the Sky.
Beginning in 2001 and extending for four years, Parsons led a Beatles tribute show called A Walk Down Abbey Road featuring 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 the 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. 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? as they performed The Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety.
In 2010, Parsons released his single "All Our Yesterdays" through Authentik Artists. 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.
During 2010, several media reports (one of which included a quote from a representative of Parsons), 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 15 July 2022, Parsons released a new studio album, From the New World.
Family and personal life
His father was Denys Parsons, the grandson of the actor Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree. Denys Parsons was a scientist, a film maker, and the press officer for the British Library, as well as a talented pianist and flautist. He developed the Parsons Code as a means of classifying musical melody and was the author of The Directory of Tunes and Musical Themes (1975, revised 2008).
|as part of the Alan Parsons Project|
|May 1976||Tales of Mystery and Imagination||Mercury||38||US|
|June 1977||I Robot||Arista||9||US||SPARTY 1012|
|November 1980||The Turn of a Friendly Card||Arista||13||US||AL 9518 (US LP) ARCD 8226 (US CD)|
|June 1982||Eye in the Sky||Arista||7||US|
|1983||The Best of the Alan Parsons Project||Arista||53||US|
|December 1983||Ammonia Avenue||Arista||15||US|
|February 1985||Vulture Culture||Arista||46||US|
|1988||The Best of the Alan Parsons Project, Vol. 2||Arista||–||–|
|1988||The Instrumental Works||Arista||–||–|
|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||Arista||–||–||88697016972|
|2007||The Essential (2 CD compilation)||Arista / Legacy||–||–||88697043372|
|2010||The Collection||Sony / Camden||88697808482|
|23 March 2014||The Sicilian Defence (part of The Complete Albums Collection)||Arista / Sony||–||–||88697890552-11|
|as Solo Artist – Studio Albums|
|6 October 1993||Try Anything Once||Arista||122||US|
|24 September 1996||On Air||A&M/Digital Sound||78||US|
|28 September 1999||The Time Machine||Miramar||71||US|
|24 August 2004||A Valid Path||Artemis||34||US|
|26 April 2019||The Secret||Frontiers||US|
|15 July 2022||From the New World||Frontiers||US|
|as Solo Artist – Live Albums|
|27 June 1995||The Very Best Live||RCA||–||–|
|6 April 2010||Eye 2 Eye: Live in Madrid||Frontiers||e|
|Sept 2013||Alan Parsons LiveSpan||MFP|
|June 2016||Alan Parsons Symphonic Project, Live in Colombia||earMusic|
|5 November 2021||The Neverending Show - Live in The Netherlands||Frontiers|
|11 February 2022||One Note Symphony – Live In Tel Aviv||Frontiers|
|as Solo Artist – Singles|
|15 June 2010||All Our Yesterdays / Alpha Centauri (2010)||Authentik Artists, Inc.|
|3 April 2014||Fragile / Luciferama||Mfp Music Productions|
|10 April 2015||Do You Live at All|
|1969||Abbey Road (The Beatles)||Apple||1||UK
|1970||Atom Heart Mother (Pink Floyd)||Harvest||1
|1971||Stormcock (Roy Harper)||Harvest|
|1971||Wild Life (Wings)||Apple||10
|1973||The Dark Side of the Moon (Pink Floyd)||Harvest||2
|1973||Wizzard Brew (Wizzard) (Partial)||Harvest||29||UK|
|1973||Red Rose Speedway (Paul McCartney and Wings)||Apple||1
|1973||Boulders (Roy Wood) (Partial)||Harvest||15||UK|
|1974||Hollies (The Hollies)||Polydor (UK), Epic (US)||28||US|
|1975||Another Night (The Hollies)||132||US|
|1975||Ambrosia (Ambrosia)||20th Century||22||US|
|1976||Year of the Cat (Al Stewart)||5||US|
|1978||Time Passages (Al Stewart)||10||US|
|2013||The Raven That Refused to Sing (And Other Stories) (Steven Wilson)||Kscope||28||UK|
|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)||171||US|
|1976||Year of the Cat (Al Stewart)||5||US|
|1976||Somewhere I've Never Travelled (Ambrosia)||20th Century||79||US|
|1978||Time Passages (Al Stewart)||10||US|
|1979||Lenny Zakatek (Lenny Zakatek)||A&M||US|
|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)
- 1976 – "(The System of) Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether" – No. 37
- 1977 – "I Wouldn't Want to Be Like You" – No. 36
- 1979 – "Damned If I Do" – No. 27
- 1980 – "Games People Play" – No. 16
- 1981 – "Time" – No. 15
- 1982 – "Eye in the Sky" – No. 3
- 1984 – "Don't Answer Me" – No. 15
- 1984 – "Prime Time" – No. 34
- 1976 – "(The System of) Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether" – No. 62
- 1977 – "I Wouldn't Want to Be Like You" – No. 22
- 1980 – "Damned If I Do" – No. 16
- 1981 – "Games People Play" – No. 9
- 1981 – "Time" – No. 30
- 1982 – "Eye in the Sky" – No. 1
- 1983 – "You Don't Believe" – No. 43
- 1984 – "Don't Answer Me" – No. 20
- 1985 – "Let's Talk About Me" – No. 89
Honours and awards
- 1973 – Pink Floyd – The Dark Side of the Moon – Grammy Nomination for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical
- 1975 – Ambrosia – Ambrosia – Grammy Nomination for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical
- 1976 – Ambrosia – Somewhere I've Never Travelled – Grammy Nomination for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical
- 1976 – The Alan Parsons Project – Tales of Mystery and Imagination – Grammy Nomination for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical
- 1978 – The Alan Parsons Project – Pyramid – Grammy Nomination for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical
- 1978 – Alan Parsons – Producer of the Year, Grammy Nomination for Producer of the Year
- 1979 – Ice Castles – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack – Grammy Nomination for Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture
- 1979 – The Alan Parsons Project – Eve – Grammy Nomination for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical
- 1981 – The Alan Parsons Project – The Turn of a Friendly Card – Grammy Nomination for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical
- 1982 – The Alan Parsons Project – Eye in the Sky – Grammy Nomination for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical
- 1986 – The Alan Parsons Project – "Where's The Walrus?" – Grammy Nomination for Best Rock Instrumental Performance
- 2007 – Alan Parsons – A Valid Path – Grammy Nomination for Best Surround Sound Album
- 2018 – Alan Parsons, Dave Donnelly, & PJ Olsson – "Eye in the Sky – 35th Anniversary Edition" – Grammy Award for Best Immersive Audio Album – Alan Parsons, surround mix engineer; surround mastering engineers; Alan Parsons, surround producer (The Alan Parsons Project)
- "Alan Parsons Undergoes 'Urgent Spinal Surgery'". Ultimateclassicrock.com.
- "Alan Parsons – Bio FAQ Discography". Archived from the original on 12 December 2009. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
- "Alan Parsons". Grammy.com. 15 February 2019. Retrieved 2 June 2019.
- Masley, Ed. "At 19, Alan Parsons recorded the Beatles. How that 'life-changing' experience shaped him". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved 7 November 2022.
- Cunningham, Mark (January 1995). "The other side of the moon". Making Music. p. 18.
- Honigmann, David (10 May 2021). "Year of the Cat — the long, slow evolution of Al Stewart's best-known song". Financial Times. Retrieved 4 August 2022.
- the Trades article Interview: Alan Parsons: The Artist and Scientist of Sound Recording
- "Alan Parsons – The Very Best Live". Discogs. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
- "Alan Parsons – You're The Voice". Discogs. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
- "Alan Parsons". GRAMMY.com. 19 May 2020. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
- Live, Alan Parsons. "Bios". Alan Parsons Live. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
- "Parsons and Which One's Pink". Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 21 September 2022.
- "iTunes – Music – All Our Yesterdays – Single by Alan Parsons". Itunes.apple.com. 15 June 2010. Retrieved 8 November 2011.
- "Alan Parsons' Art & Science of Sound Recording". Artandscienceofsound.com. Retrieved 8 November 2011.
- "Lady Antebellum vs. The Alan Parsons Project". Freshmilc.com. Archived from the original on 7 November 2011. Retrieved 8 November 2011.
- "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.
- Rodgers, D. Patrick (11 November 2010). "Alan Parsons' Camp Alleges Lady Antebellum Rip-Off". Nashvillescene.com. Archived from the original on 7 November 2011. Retrieved 8 November 2011.
- "Studio – ParSonics Recording Studio". ParSonics. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
- Gail Arnold (26 July 2018). "Alan and Lisa Parsons Host Launch Party for New Studio". The Santa Barbara Independent. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
- "Alan Parsons Announces First New Album in 15 Years". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
- "ALAN PARSONS ANNOUNCES NEW STUDIO ALBUM 'FROM THE NEW WORLD' TO BE REL | News". Alanparsons.com. Retrieved 21 September 2022.
- "Denys Parsons". Penguin.co.uk. Retrieved 21 September 2022.
- "Alan Parsons biography". Alanparsons.com. Archived from the original on 18 September 2019. Retrieved 21 September 2022.
- Cai, Yang (9 January 2017). Instinctive Computing. Springer London. p. 177. ISBN 9781447172789.
- Griffiths, Lisa Marie (14 May 2000). "To Mom, with love, from California". York Sunday News (Pennsylvania). p. 19.
- "Live in Colombia". Smile.amazon.com. 10 February 2017. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
- "All Our Yesterdays". Smile.amazon.com. Retrieved 5 October 2017.[permanent dead link]
- "Alan Parsons – Fragile". Smile.amazon.com. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
- "Do You Live at All?". Smile.amazon.com. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
- "No. 63377". The London Gazette (Supplement). 12 June 2021. p. B13.
- "THE ALAN PARSONS PROJECT – 'EYE IN THE SKY' 35TH ANNIVERSARY BOX SET EDITION – OUT NOW". We Are Sony Music Legacy. Retrieved 2 June 2019.