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Definitive Collection

4.5 out of 5 stars 99 customer reviews

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Audio CD, July 15, 1997
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Editorial Reviews

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Through the late '70s and most of the '80s, respected recording-engineer-turned-composer/instrumentalist Parsons teamed with lyricist Eric Woolfson and a loose aggregation of studio musicians and guest singers to record a series of seemingly uncommercial, but surprisingly successful concept albums. Each combined masterful studio craft with eclectic lyrical themes. The Definitive Collection is a useful 2 CD distillation of material from the Project's album catalogue, and features FM-friendly tunes like "I Wouldn't Want to Be Like You," "Eye in the Sky," "Time," and "Old and Wise," and lead vocals from the likes of John Miles, Hollies leader Allan Clarke, and Zombies frontman Colin Blunstone. --Scott Schinder
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 15, 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Arista
  • ASIN: B000002VSX
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (99 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #169,836 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
This compilation album of the Alan Parsons Project does indeed contain many of the best songs they put out. For that I give this CD 5 stars. APP music is sometimes rock driven, at other times it is peaceful and contemplative, and it almost always has a message. There are also great vocals and superb instrumentals.
If, however, you really want to have the APP experience don't stop with this CD -- it is vital that you listen to the original APP CDs this mucis is pulled from. Listen to them in their entirety, from start to finish. The reason I say that is that the APP is, in my opinion, the undisputed master of the concept album.
A concept album is a work that contains songs that all connect to a central theme, and sometimes even work together to tell a story. For example...
APP album #1 "Tales of Mystery and Imagination: Edgar Allan Poe" takes its inspiration from the literary works of Edgar Allan Poe, an album that is a must for an APP fan.
APP #2, "I Robot" is based on the Isaac Asimov work of the same name -- artificial intelligence...
APP #3, "Pyramid" is based on pyramidism and mysticism related to that theme.
I could go on and on, but the message is this...if you buy this CD you WILL get many of the best songs APP put together. This CD is, in that regard, probably the best greatest hits album out there for APP.
At the same time, if this is the only APP CD you listen to, you will be missing the entire point of APP works.
If you are short on cash, go ahead and start a basic appreciation for APP music with this CD, but, if you have the means, I HIGHLY recommend that you start buying each of the APP CDs. Start with "Tales of Mystery and Imagination..." and go on from there.
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By A Customer on July 3, 1999
Format: Audio CD
I'm a big fan of The Alan Parsons Project and would never even consider a compilation recording because the albums really should be listened to in their entirety and not as a collection of "hits". This set, however, is a MUST for all Alan Parsons fans because of the 20-bit digital remastering done by Alan Parsons himself. The results are amazing and immediately noticable on even moderate audio equipment (let alone an audiophile system). You haven't heard the early music until you have heard these versions. The crispness of the bass and transparency of the vocals and synths is astounding! I only wish they would come out with digitally remastered versions of the complete albums!
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Format: Audio CD
Alan Parsons Project - The Definitive Collection should be a model for how all artist collections & anthologies should be treated. Far too many prolific artists that have spanned more than a decade are poorly (if not insultingly) represented by just one CD. 2-CD collections allow even the casual fan to appreciate more than just the big hits. Besides, the Alan Parsons Project was very much an AOR staple during its heyday, and so the complete album versions deserve to be heard as they are on this collection (boy, do I hate single edit versions!). With only a few minor exceptions, all the great songs are here and in their uncut form. "Eye in the Sky" is coupled with its essential prelude "Sirius", and "Damned If I Do" retains its synth intro. This is one of few "Definitive" collections that I've seen that earns its name.
As an aside recommendation, the Jefferson Airplane / Jefferson Starship / Starship "Hits" collection is another example of a brilliantly-executed 2-CD anthology.
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By A Customer on May 22, 2000
Format: Audio CD
This is definitely the definitive APP collection. If you want just one album by them, this is it. Here is a group of musicians that you have not seen in concert or on the telly, but you will recognize the songs. In fact, it is too bad they never toured because they would have been more popular, but much of the music needs studio production, and, hence, would be pretty hard to duplicate live.
My all time favorite album of APP is "Eye in the Sky" and there are selections from that album in this collection.
I like a lot of music, but I would have to say that no one in the last twenty years has made any better music than what you will find in this collection. It is totally different than anything by anyone else. Even classical music lovers will like this.
This is a double CD and it provides two and a half hours of incredible music. I do not think that APP will be making any more albums.
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Format: Audio CD
Rather naughtily, Alan Parsons switched record label -- from Mercury to Arista -- after releasing his first album, TALES OF MYSTERY & IMAGINATION. Usually such a switch means death for all hopes of a definitive Greatest Hits album, as very few labels cooperate with each other. There have been many Parsons compilations before this one, and all, to my knowledge, have ignored the first album.
This is the first Parsons compilation that selects tracks from ALL his albums and can truly claim to be, as it says on the box, definitive.
Personally, I was never that bothered about the 'concept' that Parsons used to tie each album together. For me, Parsons was always about writing great tunes, cutting-edge instrumental effects and the highest recording standards -- much like the album that originally established his credentials: engineering Pink Floyd's DARK SIDE OF THE MOON. Every Parsons album had two or three bum tracks on it, and this compilation filters out all the dross.
I somewhat lost track of Parsons' output after leaving university in 1980, and the biggest enigma for me about his subsequent records is this: Why did he start letting Eric Woolfson sing? I mean, Woolfson's voice is pleasant enough, but its pitch is not always 100% accurate. Woolfson was always the writer, the concept deviser, but goodness, he looked old even on the inset photos on the first album. I cannot listen to him singing, actually quite reasonably on 'Eye in the Sky' for instance, without imagining that it's my Dad! Parsons had his pick of many of the great vocalists, such as Colin Blunstone, Arthur Brown and John Miles, and yet he picked Woolfson. Woolfson could have argued his case for any number of the wrong reasons: a. cheapness, b. he wanted a go and c. he wanted to make more money.
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