[Eye Love It] -- Depending on the source, this week's Flashback album was released in either May or June of 1982. Either way, it's forty years old as of this month, so now's as good a time as any to celebrate it.
Forty years ago this week, the Alan Parsons Project released their sixth, and probably best-known, studio album, Eye in the Sky. As with most of their releases, this was a concept album:
The concept behind this album was related to belief systems, whether they be religious beliefs, political beliefs or belief in luck (as in gambling). Generally the concept is related to the universal idea that there is someone looking down on us all. The expression is also used in military and surveillance contexts. [the-alan-parsons-project.com]
Eye in the Sky was recorded on analog equipment and then mixed to Sony 1610 digital format (i.e., digital master tape). The first single from this album was the title track. It was originally accompanied by a nearly two minute intro instrumental titled "Sirius." Later single releases edit out the intro, and this pared down version received the most airplay on pop-oriented stations. AOR and classic rock stations, however, typically play the full track. The official music video includes "Sirius" as well. Whichever version you recall from the radio, "Eye in the Sky" is the reason this 1982 album is so well known. The single peaked at #3 on Billboard. And it has inspired numerous cover versions, my favorite being the the 2004 version by Jonatha Brooke.
The other two singles – "Psychobabble" and "Old and Wise" – do not loom large as radio tunes in my memory. In fact, I don't recall hearing either of them until I had a cassette copy of Eye in the Sky. They weren't hit singles but they weren't exactly failures either: "Psychobabble" peaked at #57 on Billboard (between the end of 1982 and the beginning of 1983), while "Old and Wise" peaked at #21 on Billboard and #74 in the UK. "Old and Wise" is still one of my favorite tracks on this record, and I think it was a masterstroke to end the album with it.
My opinions aside, critical reception for Eye in the Sky was not exactly glowing. Ken Tucker gave the record a single star in his Philadelphia Inquirer review. Retrospectively, the album has fared better, and it currently has a four and a half star rating on AllMusic. Still, whatever reviewers thought in 1982, the record received a nomination for Best Engineered Album (1983 Grammies); it just did not win. However, in 2019, the 35th Anniversary Edition of the album did win a Grammy for Best Immersive Audio Album. Eye in the Sky fared well commercially, peaking within the top ten on charts around the world, including #7 on the US Billboard 200. It was certified Gold or better in several countries, and it was the Alan Parsons Project's last Platinum record.
Flashback: Eye in the Sky (1982)
That's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.
I'll see you in seven!