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Music notes: Alan Parsons Project’s ‘Eye in the Sky’ re-released

SHARE Music notes: Alan Parsons Project’s ‘Eye in the Sky’ re-released

Back in 1982 the Alan Parsons Project released its most successful album to date — "Eye in the Sky."

The album, which was remastered and re-released this month, features the famous single "Eye in the Sky" and an extended introductory track, "Sirius" (which was used as Utah Jazz and Chicago Bulls introductory music).

The other single from the album was a little rock number called "Psychobabble."

It seemed there wasn't a time when the radio wasn't playing one or the other.

I was first introduced to the Alan Parsons Project as a casual listener. I had heard the song "The Raven," taken from the 1976 album "Tales of Mystery and Imagination — Edgar Allan Poe." And my favorite album became 1977's "I Robot," which was inspired loosely by Isaac Asimov's "I Robot" book series.

Parsons' other albums "Pyramid," "Eve" and "Turn of a Friendly Card" all had their charms, but it was "Eye in the Sky" that caught the public's attention.

The idea of "Eye in the Sky" was taken from the lost individuality in George Orwell's "1984." (Some rock-music protesters have argued that the title track was about Satan because of the lines, "I am the eye in the sky/Looking at you/I can read your mind. I am the maker of rules/Dealing with fools/I can cheat you blind. ... ")

A friend had the album and we would listen to it before our band practices. It was during those listening sessions that I fell in love with the song "Old and Wise."

The vocalist for the track was the Zombies' Colin Blunstone, who, along with Art Garfunkel, possesses some of the more lucid vocal abilities in pop music.

I loved that song and couldn't get enough of it. I decided then and there that "Old and Wise" would be sung at my funeral.

Nearly 15 years ago, when I met my wife, Tammy, I told her that I wanted the song sung at my funeral and she tracked down the sheet music. It was one of her favorite songs as well.

In 1996, I had the privilege of interviewing Alan Parsons. His band played Abravanel Hall that September.

Parsons, who had worked as an engineer on the Beatles' "Abbey Road" and Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon," just to name a couple, was a soft-spoken genius. "I never professed to be anything more than a strummer," he said of his songwriting abilities. "I've always said I've made records for years without picking up and instrument."

But he also said that it was impossible to work with some of the greatest bands "without something rubbing off on you."

I told Parsons that I wanted "Old and Wise" performed at my funeral and he laughed. "It's amazing at how many people have told me that," he said. "It was just a song we (Parsons and former musical partner Eric Wolfson) wrote. But it has had such an impact."

I immediately flashed back to the time when I first told my friend about having the song played at my funeral. He said, "I think 'Psychobabble' would fit your personality more."

E-mail: scott@desnews.com