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 November 1980
Recorded Late 1979 – mid 1980 at Acousti Studio, Paris
Genre Progressive rock, rock, pop rock
Length 40:25
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. The title piece of the album, which appears on Side 2 of the LP, is a 16-minute suite, which was broken up into five tracks (except on the West German CD pressing), with the five sub-tracks listed as sub-sections. The Turn of a Friendly Card album spawned the moderate hits "Games People Play" and "Time", the latter of which was Eric Woolfson's first lead vocal appearance.

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

The entire Side 2 suite of "The Turn of a Friendly Card" was played live by the Alan Parsons Symphonic Project (see Alan Parsons Project in their Colombia shows in 2013 and features on the 2016 live 2-CD set and DVD of one of those concerts.

Track listing[edit]

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

Side one
No. Title Lead Vocals Length
1. "May Be a Price to Pay"   Elmer Gantry 4:58
2. "Games People Play"   Lenny Zakatek 4:22
3. "Time"   Eric Woolfson 5:04
4. "I Don't Wanna Go Home"   Lenny Zakatek 5:03
Side two
No. Title Lead Vocals Length
1. "The Gold Bug"   Instrumental 4:34
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


  1. ^ The Turn of a Friendly Card at AllMusic
  2. ^
  3. ^ Ennio Morricone's main theme for the 1964 film A Fistful of Dollars (as heard here: similarly features a whistled melody over an arpeggiating acoustic guitar.