UK prog-rock band founded by Alan Parsons (1948- ) and Eric Woolfson (1945-2009). Parsons worked as a record producer, and remains best-known today as the sound engineer of Pink Floyd's album Dark Side of the Moon (1974); there is, indeed, an inescapably sub-Floyd feel to most of the work released by his own band. Each of the ten Alan Parsons Project albums develops a single "concept", often science-fictional, through a number of songs. The group's first release Tales of Mystery and Imagination (1976) turned four Edgar Allan Poe short stories (and two of his poems) into rock songs, with varying degrees of success. I Robot (1977) takes its title, but little else, from Isaac Asimov's collection. The songs, which develop a loose narrative about a future clash of wills between robots and men, are often strong. Weaker, although much more commercially successful, was The Eye in the Sky (1982), which is rather vaguely about a future dystopian world of oppressively intrusive surveillance, a theme rather undercut by the inappropriately harmonic and easy-listening flavour of the music. This album evinces no obvious connection, except in the title, to Philip K Dick's 1957 novel. After Woolfson left the group Parsons continued releasing albums on his own, including On Air (1996), a musical history of flight from Daedalus to the Apollo missions, with later tracks gesturing towards the future of space travel; and The Time Machine (1999), which takes (again) nothing more than the title from H G Wells's sf classic, although the songs do orient various clichés of time travel into palatable-enough musical structures. [AR]
- Tales of Mystery and Imagination (Charisma, 1976)
- I Robot (Arista Records, 1977)
- Pyramid (Arista Records, 1978)
- The Eye in the Sky (Arista, 1982)
- Ammonia Avenue (Arista, 1984)
- On Air (Digital Sound, 1996), as by "Alan Parsons"
- The Time Machine (Miramar, 1999), as by "Alan Parsons"
Previous versions of this entry