The Turn of a Friendly Card

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The Turn of a Friendly Card
The Alan Parsons Project - The Turn of a Friendly Card.jpg
Studio album by The Alan Parsons Project
Released March 1980
Recorded Late 1979 – Jan 1980
Studio Acousti Studio, Paris, France
Length 40:25
Label Arista
Producer Alan Parsons
The Alan Parsons Project chronology
The Turn of a Friendly Card
Eye in the Sky
(1982)Eye in the Sky1982
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic4.5/5 stars[1]
Rolling Stone2.5/5 stars[2]

The Turn of a Friendly Card is the fifth studio album by the British progressive rock band The Alan Parsons Project, released in March 1980 by Arista Records. The title piece, which appears on side 2 of the LP, is a 16-minute suite broken up into five tracks, with the five tracks listed as sub-sections. The Turn of a Friendly Card spawned the hits "Games People Play" and "Time", the latter of which was Eric Woolfson's first lead vocal appearance.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson.

Side one
No.TitleLead VocalsLength
1."May Be a Price to Pay"Elmer Gantry4:58
2."Games People Play"Lenny Zakatek4:22
3."Time"Eric Woolfson5:04
4."I Don't Wanna Go Home"Lenny Zakatek5:03
Side two
No.TitleLead VocalsLength
1."The Gold Bug"Instrumental4:34
2."The Turn of a Friendly Card
  • 1. The Turn of a Friendly Card, Pt. 1 (2:44)
  • 2. Snake Eyes (3:14)
  • 3. The Ace of Swords (2:57)
  • 4. Nothing Left to Lose (4:07)
  • 5. The Turn of a Friendly Card, Pt. 2 (3:22)"
Chris Rainbow (1,2,5) Eric Woolfson (4), Instrumental (3)16:24

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)


Produced and engineered by Alan Parsons
Executive producer: Eric Woolfson
Mastering consultant: Chris Blair
Sleeve concept: Lol Creme and Kevin Godley

Additional instrumentation[edit]

"The Gold Bug", which references the same-titled short story by Edgar Allan Poe, includes a whistling part by Parsons, who imitates the style of Ennio Morricone's legendary Spaghetti Western film themes,[3] and wordless vocals by Rainbow, while the main theme is played on an alto saxophone. The saxophone player, 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 saxophone part is a composite of several separate takes.[citation needed] Similarly, the accordion part on "Nothing Left to Lose" is credited in the liner notes to "An unidentified Parisian session player". 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

Certifications and sales[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
France (SNEP)[4] none 216,900[5]

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone


The album's title track was covered by German funeral doom metal band Ahab for their album The Boats of the "Glen Carrig" in 2015.