Artist Spotlight: Alan Parsons

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Alan Parsons

Editor’s Note:

So we’ve got a man on the scene at Sweetwater’s Gearfest (The Smitchens) and today Alan Parsons discussed his experiences with sound recording. This guy has recorded the Beatles, Pink Floyd, just to name two – and certainly knows what he’s talking about! Here’s a little more info on Alan. – Tim

Alan Parsons
Alan Parsons

As a teenager during the late 1960’s, Alan Parsons played a smattering of gigs on guitar in a blues band. At 19 he got a job at Abbey Road Studios in London, where very soon he helped to record the legendary Beatles albums Abbey Road and Let it Be.
Alan paid his dues and earned his full qualifications as a recording engineer, working with many artists–most famously Paul McCartney and Pink Floyd.

Parsons acted as the assigned engineer for the latter group’s classic Dark Side of the Moon. His work with Pink Floyd led to lots of new jobs, including production of three albums by Pilot and mixing the debut album of Los Angeles rock band Ambrosia.

Finally, in 1975, after spending years recording the music of other bands, Alan shifted the focus to his own creations. Alan had met songwriter Eric Woolfson while working at Abbey Road, and together the two formed The Alan Parsons Project, with Eric acting as manager.

The Alan Parsons Project is unusual for having a rotating cast of musicians and vocalists that drew upon the talent of several bands that Alan had recorded at Abbey Road, notably Pilot and Ambrosia. The Alan Parsons Project released eight albums from 1977 to 1987 on Clive Davis’s Arista label.

In 1990, the group created Freudiana, a musical theater production that ran for a year in Vienna. This new adventure inspired Eric Woolfson to devote himself to musical theater, while Alan desired to return to recording prog rock, this time making a serious effort to take it beyond the studio onto the stage–which he did, to great attendance and success.

Alan is currently teaching engineering through his web project, Art & Science of Sound Recording: http://www.artandscienceofsound.com/. On the website he provides information about the history of recording, detailed information on microphones, monitoring, compressors, reverb, noise gates, and more, making his expertise widely available and affordable even to DIY home studio musicians.

You can check out Alan Parsons’ homepage here: http://www.alanparsonsmusic.com/index.php

And you can learn studio recording techniques from Alan here: http://www.artandscienceofsound.com/

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Nicholas Tozier

Nicholas Tozier is a book hoarder and songbird from the woods of Maine. In 2012 he made a small cameo in Songwriting Without Boundaries by Berklee professor Pat Pattison, and was named one of CDBaby’s top 10 Songwriting Resources to follow on Twitter.

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