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artist information

Alan Parsons

Alan Parsons (born December 20, 1948 in London, England) is a British audio engineer, musician, and record producer.

Career in brief

Parsons first came to prominence as a studio engineer for such albums as The Beatles' Abbey Road and Pink Floyd's iconic The Dark Side of the Moon. He was known for going beyond what would normally be considered the scope of a recording engineer's duties. He considered himself to be a recording director, likening his contribution to recordings to what Stanley Kubrick did on film. This is obvious in his work with Al Stewart's Year of the Cat, where Parsons added the saxophone part and transformed the original folk concept into the jazz-influenced ballad that put Al Stewart onto the charts. It is also heard in Parsons' influence on the Hollies' He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother and The Air That I Breathe, sharp departures from their 60s pop Stay, Just One Look, Stop, Stop, Stop or "Bus Stop". Parsons also was known to have swapped shifts during the engineering of The Dark Side of the Moon so he could work entirely on the project.

Parsons also produced three albums by Pilot, a Scottish rock/pop band, whose hits included January and Magic, the band featuring future "Project" members Ian Bairnson on guitar, Stuart Tosh on drums and David Paton on lead vocals, guitars and bass.

Apparently inspired by his influential contribution to Stewart's work, he founded The Alan Parsons Project with producer and songwriter (and occasional singer) Eric Woolfson in 1975. The Project dissolved after 1987, and Parsons continues to release work in his own name and in collaboration with other musicians.

Although an accomplished vocalist, keyboardist, bassist and flautist, Parsons only sang infrequent and incidental parts on his albums. Whilst his keyboard playing was very prominent on Alan Parsons Project albums, very few recordings feature his flute.

Guitarist Ian Bairnson worked with Parsons the longest, through his post-Woolfson albums Try Anything Once, On Air, and The Time Machine.

Nowadays he tours under a revised name, The Alan Parsons Live Project (with Woolfson's permission). In the years 2004-2006 The Alan Parsons Live Project offered world-spanning concerts presenting some material from his most recent album A Valid Path (the earlier 2004-2005 shows offered vocalist P.J. Olsson's track More Lost Without You while the later 2006 shows presented The Crystal Method-featured We Play the Game and opened with Return to Tunguska) along with hits spanning the "Project" years.


  • The Alan Parsons Project song Sirius has been used for years by the Nebraska Cornhuskers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Chicago Bulls and the Kansas City Chiefs as background music for their home team player introductions. It was also used by professional wrestler Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat as his theme music during his first stint in the World Wrestling Federation in the 1980s. (In addition, the song the Bulls use as background music for the visiting team introductions is Pink Floyd's "On The Run", from "The Dark Side of the Moon", engineered by Parsons.)
  • Alan Parsons resides in the Santa Barbara, California area.
  • In May 2005, Alan Parsons appeared at the Canyon Club in Agoura Hills, California to mix "front of house" sound for Southern California based Pink Floyd tribute band "Which One's Pink" and their performance of "The Dark Side of the Moon" in its entirety.