Alan Parsons has a pretty nimble production hand. Dude did cut his teeth at Abbey Road, after all, working with the Beatles, Pink Floyd and a few others. But in celebrating the 35th anniversary of The Alan Parsons Project’s Eye In The Sky album, Parsons decided to let someone else — the collective Disco Demolition — put its hands on one of his best-known songs.
The troupe remixed the instrumental “Sirius” for an exclusive version of the song premiering below. The track — which the Chicago Bulls used for player introductions during their 90s championship run, with other sports teams subsequently adopting it — will not be included on the deluxe anniversary edition of the album, coming out Nov. 17, but Parsons still found the prospect of remixing one of his iconic pieces intriguing.
“It started life without my knowledge, actually,” Parsons tells Billboard. The idea was broached by Legacy Recordings, and Parsons was pleasantly surprised when he heard Disco Demolition’s first pass at the remix. “I thought it was OK,” he recalls, “But I said, ‘I think it’s only OK. If we had my involvement we can make it better.’ We communicated first by phone and then went online and were able to actually work together in real time, listening to how the mix developed. I think it ended up great. The first (remix) was steering a little too far away from the original. I think we’ve captured the spirit of the original in this one.”
Thirty-five years later, Parsons says the song’s popularity “never ceases to amaze me. It was the instrumental intro to Eye In The Sky; That’s what it was conceived as, originally, nothing more. It’s now become a worldwide phenomenon, recognizable sports anthem and movie makers often ask to license it because they wanted to show a sports event in the movie and need ‘Sirius’ to make it real. I get a lot of license requests for it.”
The Eye In The Sky 35th anniversary collector’s edition features three CDs, including bonus tracks and collaborator Eric Woolfson’s dictated songwriting diaries, as well as a Blu-ray disc with 5.1 Surround Sound and Stereo HD mixes of the album. The Project’s sixth studio album, Eye In The Sky, went platinum and gave Parsons and company its highest-charting album in the U.S. (No. 7 on the Billboard 200) as well as its biggest hit in the title track, which peaked at No. 3 on the Hot 100.
“I think the album is as good as any of the albums we made,” Parsons says now. “Obviously we’d had success with I Robot, Pyramid. We were back in the U.K. working and it was great to be back at Abbey Road studios again. It had some really good songs; the title song did really well as a single, and ‘Sirius’ obviously created an impression.”
Parsons is currently in the process of building a new home studio, in a separate building on his property in Santa Barbara and is also working on a new album he hopes to release next summer. “I’ve got two or three really good songs already, and I’m looking towards writing and collaborating with various songwriters,” Parsons says. “My live band is extremely talented right now, so I probably want to make use of their services, too, but the label I’m working with has made it clear that they want a couple of names in there, so I’m trying to accommodate that and maybe use some of the singers from the past that I’ve worked with before as well as some new people. It would be unadventurous not to consider somebody from this period, or this generation.”
And in that regard Parsons says the new “Sirius” has opened him to allowing and working on other remixes of his material. “I’m certainly open to other mixes,” he confirms, noting that another is in the works with “a celebrated artist, possibly very soon” from Eye In The Sky, though he can’t speak specifically yet. “Y’know, we’re in a youth culture and the youth of today has different tastes than the generation that I grew up in and the generation that made the original,” Parsons says. “They want a different style, a different kind of music in their clubs and in their homes, on their trains with their iPhones. So, yes, I have to be open to that.”