Q Magazine

Q Playlist: Sampling the Pre-'Project' Work of Alan Parsons

Among the artists Parsons worked with in the studio: The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Al Stewart, Ambrosia, the Hollies, and Pilot

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Source: MEGA

Alan Parsons, looking sternly at the assembled masses during his performance on the Moody Blues Cruise in 2018

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In 1976, the Alan Parsons Project released their debut album, Tales of Mystery of Imagination, kicking off a string of 10 albums - or 11 if you want to count the 1990 soundtrack to Freudiana (some do, some don't) - and a number of hit singles, including "I Wouldn't Want to Be Like You," "Games People Play," "Eye in the Sky," and "Don't Answer Me." But while this highly notable Project might've been the average listener's introduction to Parsons, it was actually his second career in the music business, having already made a name for himself behind the scenes.

Indeed, Parsons literally started his career at the top, working with no less than the Beatles and serving as assistant engineer on sessions for Abbey Road. When reflecting on the experience with Bullz-Eye in 2010, he admitted that he still got a little giddy when thinking about it.

"Who wouldn’t?" he said, laughing. "And I still remember the day that I walked into this room with Glyn Johns, George Martin, and four Beatles. I must’ve been so red-faced and shaking. But I got over it! But what a tremendous boost to anybody’s career in recording, to have done that."

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Source: Authentik Music

Alan Parsons, as pictured on the cover of his 2010 single 'All Our Yesterdays'

From there, Parsons mixed it up, doing a bit of engineering, a bit of mixing, and a bit of production as well, twiddling the knobs for a wide variety of artists up through 1976 (with standouts including Wings' Red Rose Speedway, five albums for the Hollies and, of course, Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon), when he stepped away from working with other artists in favor of working on his own...project.

Since today (Dec.20) is Parsons' birthday, Q is commemorating the occasion with a playlist filled with songs that Parsons was involved with in some capacity of other. It's not the end-all and be-all of his recording efforts during the pre-Project period, but it's definitely a solid sampling that'll give you a strong idea of what he was doing at the time, while also providing you with a nice soundtrack for your next three hours.


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