Arista-Legacy Set To Release 'The Alan Parsons Project: The Complete Albums Collection'

Feb 11, 2014 12:28 PM


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photo of Alan Parsons CDs

Arista Records and Legacy Recordings, the catalog division of Sony Music Entertainment, will release The Alan Parsons Project: The Complete Albums Collection on March 31, 2014.

The new release is an 11-CD box set that covers the APP's complete history from 1976 to 1987, marking the first time all 10 of the group's art rock studio masterpieces—including the 1976 debut, Tales of Mystery and Imagination: Edgar Allan Poe (from 20th Century/Mercury/Universal) alongside nine Arista classics from 1977's I Robot through 1987's Gaudi—have been assembled under one roof. The masters used for The Alan Parsons Project: The Complete Albums Collection were overseen by Parsons and each of the albums is presented, in facsimile vinyl replica wallet sleeves, with original album track-listings intact.

The deluxe library box includes notes by Alan Parsons and rare photos, many previously unpublished.

The Alan Parsons Project: The Complete Albums Collectionoffers fans and collectors a chance to finally experience The Sicilian Defence, the notorious never-released fifth APP album. Taking its name from a series of opening chess moves, The Sicilian Defence was an aggressive musical response to stalled contract negotiations. Composed and recorded over an intense 3-day marathon session at Super Bear Studios in France (during the same period Eve was made), The Sicilian Defence is a complex and challenging work, full of atonality and dissonance. Delivered to Arista in March 1981, the masters were locked away and the controversial recordings unheard for three decades. While an edited version of one of the album's tracks, "Elsie's Theme", was included as a bonus track on an expanded edition of Eve, The Sicilian Defence is being released for the first time in its entirety for this collection.

The Alan Parsons Project formed around the nucleus of Parsons (audio engineer, producer, musician) and Eric Woolfson (songwriter, singer, pianist, executive producer). The pair defined the contours and extended the possibilities of progressive art rock through a series of monumental concept albums released from 1976 to 1987.

When Parsons first met Woolfson in the Abbey Road Studios canteen in the summer of 1974, Alan had worked as assistant engineer on the Beatles' Abbey Road and Let It Be and engineered Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon. Woolfson, a composer and manager, had written songs for a concept album based on the writings of Edgar Allan Poe. The pair hit it off immediately and began a series of ventures in the music industry. With Woolfson managing Parsons as a producer and engineer, they enjoyed a string of successes with other artists including Pilot, Ambrosia, Cockney Rebel, Al Stewart, John Miles and others (some of whom would become involved with APP recordings).

The Scottish rock band Pilot provided the core group of musicians for the Alan Parsons Project with Ian Bairnson (guitar) playing on every APP album, David Paton (bass and vocals) appearing on all albums except Gaudi, and Stuart Tosh (drums) playing drums on Tales of Mystery and Imagination and I Robot before joining 10cc and being replaced by Stuart Elliott (Cockney Rebel drummer). Pilot keyboardist Billy Lyall (Pilot keyboardist) also played on the first two APP albums. Parsons had produced the Pilot debut album, which included the international smash single, "Magic," and went on to produce two more albums for the band including the Number One hit, January.

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