On Air (Alan Parsons album)
|Studio album by Alan Parsons|
|Released||24 September 1996|
|Recorded||December 1995 – June 1996|
|Alan Parsons chronology|
|Singles from On Air|
On Air is the second solo release by Alan Parsons following the split of The Alan Parsons Project; however, the album's chief creative force was the Project's long-time guitarist, Ian Bairnson. Its concept revolves around the history of airborne exploration.
Musically, this album is very different from Try Anything Once and the Alan Parsons Project albums, opting for more of a soft rock sound and a stable band line-up rather than the funky rhythms, symphonic flares, or rotating vocalists of the past.
With their newfound independence from Arista, Parsons and Bairnson decided early on that this release would be a work of art from start to finish where neither vision nor integrity would be subverted by commercial sensibility.
The album follows the history of airborne exploration, from the mythological flight of Daedalus and Icarus to escape the labyrinth of the Minotaur in "Too Close to the Sun", through Leonardo da Vinci's search to design a flying machine, or ornithopter, in long-time Project drummer Stuart Elliott's "One Day To Fly", until finally mankind's aspirations for space exploration placed on the shoulders of a single astronaut in "So Far Away" and the subsequent superpower race to put a man on the moon in "Apollo", a track backed by John F. Kennedy's famous speech of 25 May 1961.
The song "Brother Up In Heaven" remembers Ian Bairnson's cousin Erik Mounsey who was killed in a friendly fire incident above Iraq in 1994. The death of this young helicopter pilot is made even more haunting by the fact that he was an unarmed peacekeeper.
|1.||"Blue Blue Sky"||Ian Bairnson||Eric Stewart of The Mindbenders and 10cc||1:38|
|2.||"Too Close to the Sun"||Alan Parsons, Bairnson, Stuart Elliott||Neil Lockwood of ELO Part II||5:04|
|3.||"Blown by the Wind"||Bairnson||Eric Stewart||5:25|
|4.||"Cloudbreak"||Bairnson, Parsons, Elliott||Instrumental||4:39|
|5.||"I Can't Look Down"||Bairnson||Neil Lockwood||4:37|
|6.||"Brother Up in Heaven"||Bairnson||Neil Lockwood||4:02|
|7.||"Fall Free"||Bairnson, Elliott, Parsons||Steve Overland of FM and The Ladder||4:21|
|8.||"Apollo"||Elliott, Parsons, Bairnson||Instrumental with John F. Kennedy audio clips||6:06|
|9.||"So Far Away"||Bairnson||Christopher Cross||4:07|
|10.||"One Day to Fly"||Elliott, Scott English||Graham Dye of Scarlet Party||6:16|
|11.||"Blue Blue Sky"||Bairnson||Eric Stewart||4:24|
|Bonus track on Japanese release|
|12.||"Apollo Ambient Mix (Moon Boots)" (Remix by Solar Quest)||Elliott, Parsons, Bairnson||7:59|
- Alan Parsons – keyboards, mixing, engineering
- Andrew Powell – orchestral arranger and conductor
- Ian Bairnson – guitars, bass guitar, synthesizer
- John Giblin – bass guitar
- Stuart Elliott – drums, percussions
- Richard Cottle – saxophone
- Gary Sanctuary – keyboards
- Christopher Warren-Green – orchestra leader
- Eric Stewart – lead vocals (tracks 1, 3, 11)
- Neil Lockwood – lead vocals (tracks 2, 5, 6)
- Steve Overland – lead vocals (track 7)
- Christopher Cross – lead vocals (track 9)
- Graham Dye – lead vocals (track 10)
- Peter Beckett – backing vocals (track 6)
- Storm Thorgerson – cover design