Alan Parsons Project
Given his background with thematic productions it was only a matter of time before Parsons teamed up with vocalist Eric Woolfson and a revolving group of musicians, including ex-Hollie Allan Clarke and ex-Zombie Colin Blunstone, to create his own concept albums.
The first attempt, "Tales of Mystery and Imagination," used the poetry of Edgar Allen Poe for inspiration and included a version of "The Raven." Issac Asimov's sci-fi served as a touchstone for the next, and more accomplished effort, "I Robot." "The Turn of a Friendly Card" with a gambling theme was released in '80 and yielded the group's first hit "Games People Play." The Alan Parsons Project reached it's commercial peak in '82 with "Eye In The Sky." The somber title track nailed the #3 spot on the pop charts. Though "Ammonia Avenue" went gold, the Parson's Project began a steep decline. Subsequent albums, "Sterotomy," "Vulture Culture,"
"Guadi," "On Air" and "Time Machine" came and went with little notice.
It may sound interesting to put Edgar Allen Poe's work to music, but in Alan Parsons Project's hands, it isn't. So skip "Tales of Mystery and Imagination" and go to "I Robot" with "I Wouldn't Want To Be Like You" and "Breakdown." "The Turn of a Friendly Card" is both engaging and accessible while "Eye In The Sky" is a boring song from a lackluster album of the same name. It was their greatest commercial success, so go figure. After that, Alan Parsons Project albums seem stuck between remoteness and pretentiousness. Not a good place.
"The Definitive Collection" goes too deep and costs too much. "Best Of The Alan Parsons Project" or "Master Hits" covers the necessary material and are far better options.