It Was Fifty Years Ago Today
Kiva Auditorium | Albuquerque, New Mexico
Alan Parsons was born into a family with an impressive history in entertainment. His great-grandfather was the celebrated actor/manager Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree. His mother was an actress, professional folk singer and harpist and his father, Denys Parsons, an accomplished pianist and flautist as well as the author of many books. The late Oliver Reed, film actor was a cousin. His uncle, David Tree was also a film and stage actor.
Alan had dabbled with live performance in his late teens as a folk/blues acoustic player and as a lead guitarist with a blues band called The Earth in the late sixties in his hometown of London. (Their only album, Elemental surfaced recently and was released by Record Collector Magazine in 2016.) But as soon as he landed a job at the famous Abbey Road Studios at the age of 19, it became clear that the world of sound recording was to dominate his career.
Abbey Road: He was fortunate enough to work as assistant engineer on the last two albums by The Beatles and after he qualified as a fully-fledged recording engineer, he went on to work with Paul McCartney and The Hollies among many others. But it was his contribution as engineer on Pink Floyd’s classic The Dark Side Of The Moon that really got him world attention. That soon led to striking successes as a producer – notably with Pilot’s Magic, John Miles’ Highfly and Music and Steve Harley’s (Come Up And See Me) Make Me Smile. He also produced the hugely successful Year Of The Cat album with Al Stewart and two albums with American prog rock band Ambrosia.
In 1975 he met Eric Woolfson who not only became his manager, but joined forces with Alan as a songwriting and performing partner for what became known as The Alan Parsons Project. The APP’s debut album, Tales Of Mystery And Imagination based on the works of Edgar Allan Poe paved the way for a signing to Clive Davis’ newly launched Arista label and a string of hit albums, namely I Robot (1977), Pyramid (1978), The Turn of a Friendly Card (1980), Eye in the Sky (1982), Ammonia Avenue (1984), Vulture Culture (1985), Stereotomy (1986) and Gaudi (1987).
Eric Woolfson and Alan Parsons: A brief venture into musical theatre resulted in Freudiana in 1990.The show ran for over a year in the historic Theater An Der Wien in Vienna. Eric and Alan then went separate ways. Eric devoted his career to the musical theatre while Parsons felt the need to bring his music to the live concert stage and to continue to record ambitious symphonic rock music.
With his long-standing previous APP collaborators, guitarist Ian Bairnson, drummer Stuart Elliott and orchestral arranger Andrew Powell, Alan dropped the “Project” identity for Alan Parsons’ -Try Anything Once – in 1994. The partnership continued for On Air in 1996 and The Time Machine in 1999. During this time the first incarnation of “Alan Parsons Live Project” toured to sell out audiences throughout the globe. Following Alan’s relocation to California in 1999 with his American girlfriend, Lisa, and a divorce from Smokey, his first wife, a brand-new Live Project band was formed in 2003. That same year Lisa and Alan were married. Another band reshuffle happened in 2010. The current live band consists of Alan on acoustic guitar, keyboards and vocals, P.J. Olsson on vocals, Tom Brooks on keyboards, Guy Erez on bass, Jeff Kollman on guitar and vocals, Danny Thompson on Drums, Todd Cooper on sax, percussion and vocals, Dan Tracey on guitar and vocals and Tyson Montgomery Leonard on violin.
The album A Valid Path, Alan’s foray into electronica was released in 2004 and featured Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour, The Crystal Method, Shpongle, Uberzone, P.J. Olsson and Alan’s son, Jeremy. 2008 saw the reissue of all the Alan Parsons Project albums in expanded form, containing never-before-heard bonus material and a 2-CD compilation called The Essential Collection. One of the most familiar Project tracks is Sirius, perhaps best known as the Chicago Bulls theme. It was also used as the walk-on music for The New Orleans Saints at their triumphant Super Bowl game in 2010 and at the 2012 European Cup soccer matches. Sirius has also been featured at countless other sporting events, commercials and in the movies Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs and Beerfest.
In 2010, Alan felt the need to share his extensive knowledge and expertise with the rest of the music industry. With the help of fellow Brit Julian Colbeck, Alan wrote and produced a comprehensive instructional video series about recording called The Art & Science Of Sound Recording (ASSR). It features contributions from a myriad of celebrity artists, engineers and producers and is narrated by Billy Bob Thornton. There is also a companion book. See www.artandscienceofsound.com. All Our Yesterdays, a song written especially for the series, features some of LA’s finest musicians and a rare performance by Alan on lead vocals. Alan has been supporting ASSR with a series of lectures and Master Class Training Sessions (MCTS) all over the world. It has been a great opportunity for the attendees to witness Alan at work in the studio and to participate actively in the making of a possible future hit.
Alan has received a large number of awards including 11 Grammy nominations, The Les Paul Award in 1995 and The Diva Hall Of Fame Lifetime Achievement Award in Munich, Germany in June 2012. He is in demand as a public speaker and was keynote speaker at the 2014 Audio Engineering Society Convention in Los Angeles and was the opening speaker at the TEDx Conejo conference in California in April 2012.
Alan has been leading the way regarding technology, blending tech with art for his craft as a recording engineer and producer-performer. Compiling years of expertise into his book (and DVD set), “The Art & Science of Sound Recording, he has created a work unlike anything else available in the marketplace.
Alan’s longtime hobby has been performing magic, and he regularly attends the legendary Magic Castle in Hollywood where he is a magician member.
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