The Alan Parsons Project

The Alan Parsons Project (APP) was an English symphonic/art-pop band led by the production/multi-instrumental team of Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson. The project began with the album Tales of Mystery and Imagination on 20th Century in 1976, followed by nine albums on Arista between 1977 and 1987.

Members: Alan Parsons (vocals, synthesizer, bass, acoustic guitar, flute, organ, programming, vocoder, projectron), Eric Woolfson (vocals, keyboards, piano, vocoder, organ, projectron), Ian Bairnson (guitar, bass, synthesizer, backing vocals, pedal steel, saxophone, keyboards, mandolin), David Paton (vocals, bass, acoustic guitar), Laurence Cottle (bass), John Miles (vocals), Colin Blunstone (vocals)

APP developed from a partnership between producer, engineer, and musician Alan Parsons (b. Dec. 20, 1948) and composer, producer, and pianist Eric Woolfson (1945–2009).

Parsons first worked as an assistant engineer at EMI, notching technical credits on the final two albums by The Beatles: Abbey Road (1969) and Let It Be (1970). With Pink Floyd, he worked as a tape operator on Atom Heart Mother (1970) and engineered their global breakthrough The Dark Side of the Moon (1973). Meanwhile, he engineered early ’70s albums by Mayfields Mule, Chris Spedding (Backwood Progression), Roy Harper (Stormcock), Wings (Wild Life), and The Hollies (Romany).

In 1974, Parsons produced Cockney Rebel‘s second album, The Psychomodo, in concert with orchestral conductor Andrew Powell, the arranger on most subsequent Parsons/APP projects. Over the next two years, Parsons produced albums by Pilot (From the Album of the Same Name, Second Flight), Al Stewart (Modern Times, Year of the Cat), Ambrosia (Ambrosia, Somewhere I’ve Never Travelled), John Miles (Rebel), and Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel (The Best Years of Our Lives), all united by Parson’s quasi-symphonic imprint.

Woolfson was first hired as a songwriter by Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham, penning material for the associated acts Chris Farlowe and Marianne Faithful, as well as beatsters The Tremeloes, French singer Joe Dassin, and Scottish psychsters Marmalade. Notable writer/producer credits from the period include the 1968 pop-psych singles “Room at the Top of the Stairs” (b/w “She Won’t See the Light”) by Timothy Blue and “Wooden Spoon” (b/w “In Your Tower”) by The Poets. In 1971, Woolfson masqueraded as Eric Elder on the Philips single “San Tokay” (b/w “Sunflower”), recorded at Manchester’s Strawberry Studios with backing by the future members of 10cc.

Parsons and Woolfson conceived APP as a producer’s project with a revolving-door cast of musicians and singers. This was in keeping with then-recent trends in the film industry, which had gone from an actors medium to one that emphasized name producers like Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, Brian De Palma, and Martin Scorsese. In Woolfson’s words, “We anticipated that music, which normally follows film, would become a producers’ medium just as the film business has become a directors’ medium.”[1]


  • Tales of Mystery and Imagination (1976)
  • I Robot (1977)
  • Pyramid (1978)
  • Eve (1979)
  • The Turn of a Friendly Card (1980)
  • Eye in the Sky (1982)
  • Ammonia Avenue (1984)
  • Vulture Culture (1985)
  • Stereotomy (1985)
  • Gaudi (1987)
  • The Sicilian Defence (2014, recorded 1979)



  1. Billboard: Stereotomy: Wide-Range Personality (3/15/86 p. 76)

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