1984 Alan Parsons Project – Don’t Answer Me
Abbey Road Studios hired Alan Parsons as an assistant engineer in 1967. In the next few years he worked on a few albums: Abbey Road, Let It Be, and Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon.
Songwriter Eric Woolfson had written songs for many artists in the UK in the mid-sixties and had expanded his career to include producing recordings as well. He was working on an album of songs based on the writings of Edgar Allan Poe.
In 1974, Alan met songwriter Eric in the Abbey Road canteen and the two determined to work together. Eric became Alan’s manager, and the two produced recordings for the Hollies, Al Stewart, Pilot, and Ambrosia.
The pair created the Alan Parsons Project and began recording an album based on Eric’s Edgar Allan Poe songs. They extensively used studio musicians and completed the album, Tales of Mystery and Imagination, in 1976. Three singles came from the album, but only the middle release reached the top forty in the US: (The System of) Dr. Tarr and Professor Fether peaked at #37 on the US Hot 100.
The album impressed Arista Records enough to gain the duo a recording contract for multiple albums. Their albums sold well while their singles were hit and miss. Their second album, I Robot, earned a platinum record and contained their second top forty single. I Wouldn’t Want To Be Like You, which only made it up to #36 on the Hot 100.
Their best performing single came in 1982 when Eye In The Sky reached #3 on the Hot 100 and the Adult Contemporary (AC) charts and #11 on the Mainstream Rock chart.
Two more singles from their next album reached the top forty in 1984. The first single, Don’t Answer Me, peaked at #15 on the Hot 100 and the Mainstream Rock charts and #4 on the AC chart. The video for the record was an animated story video that even included a cameo of a band playing the record.
The second single did not do as well; Prime Time only reached #34 on the Hot 100, but reached the top ten on the AC chart and peaked at #3 on the Mainstream Rock chart.
Three more of their singles in the next few years reached the top ten on the Mainstream Rock chart but they never again got into the top forty on the other two charts.
Reproducing their music live presented many difficulties, so the band appeared live in concert only one time.
The group sold over 30 million records but never had a top forty single in the UK. Their most familiar production is likely to be music that was never released as a single. Sirius was used extensively in the nineties by the Chicago Bulls basketball team. Ricky Steamboat also used the song as his entrance music in his pro wrestling career. The song is instantly recognizable.
The band had split up by about 1990 so the duo could pursue solo careers. Eric began writing and producing musicals based on the band’s music. Alan began touring with an acoustic group that he eventually named the Alan Parsons Live Project.
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