AMMONIA AVENUE - THE ALAN PARSONS PROJECT
TRACK LISTING: Prime Time, Let Me Go Home, One Good Reason, Since the Last Goodbye, Don't Answer Me, Dancing on a Highwire, You Don't Believe, Pipeline, Ammonia Avenue
IMPRESSIONS: I got this LP as a present either for my 19th birthday or for Christmas. Memory fails. Regardless, I had been a fan of the Alan Parsons Project since I heard their first album "TALES OF MYSTERY AND IMAGINATION" at family friend Ronnie's house in the mid-70's. Ever since that time, I had gotten each TAPP album as it came out. This one was part of their early-80s hot streak beginning with "THE TURN OF A FRIENDLY CARD"'s chart success through the even bigger-selling "EYE IN THE SKY" and culminating with this album which saw their last huge radio hit with "Don't Answer Me". This album is seriously gunning for chart success but it also features some really fine songs beginning with the superb album opener "Prime Time" which I've always considered another stab at their huge hit "Eye In the Sky" due to its similar sound. While the single, released after "Don't Answer Me", didn't do as well possibly due to a sense of "copycat hitmaking", I find "Prime Time" to be the superior track and much better than "Eye In the Sky". "Don't Answer Me", of course, goes for that Phil Spector sound and was a true departure in the group's usual sound. This may not be my favourite Alan Parsons Project album but it is a rock solid collection of strong songs culminating in the epic, cinematic title track -- somewhat of a tradition in the Project's album closers. The theme or concept of the album has a few different takes; the University of Wikipedia thinks it's about "
the possible misunderstanding of industrial scientific developments from a public perspective and a lack of understanding of the public from a scientific perspective" while allmusic.com's Mike DeGagne describes it as illustrating"how the lines of communication between people are diminishing, and how we as a society grow more spiritually isolated and antisocial." I suspect quite a bit of both is true. Just one glimpse at the year of release should clue one into the rather Orwellian flavour of the album. One look at that album cover also never fails to conjure up images of "QUATERMASS 2".
MY FAVOURITE TRACKS: Prime Time, One Good Reason, Since the Last Goodbye, Don't Answer Me, Dancing on a Highwire, You Don't Believe, Pipeline, Ammonia Avenue
FACT SHEET: AMMONIA AVENUE is the Alan Parsons Project's seventh album and has been certified gold. All the songs were written by Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson as usual. "You Don't Believe" appeared a year before its inclusion on "AMMONIA AVENUE" on THE BEST OF THE ALAN PARSONS PROJECT compilation. Eric Woolfson sings lead vocal on "Prime Time", "One Good Reason", "Don't Answer Me" and "Ammonia Avenue". Lenny Zakatek sings lead vocal on "Let Me Go Home" and "You Don't Believe". Chris Rainbow sings lead vocal on "Since the Last Goodbye". Colin Blunstone sings lead vocal on "Dancing On A Highwire". The album title was inspired by Eric Woolfson's visit to the Imperial Chemical Industries facility in Billingham, England where he saw a street sign reading "Ammonia Avenue" in a street consisting of miles of pipes with no people or trees in evidence. The music video for "Don't Answer Me" featured art and animation by DC Comics' artist Michael Kaluta while the music video for "Prime Time" was inspired by horror author John Collier's story "Evening Primrose"; previously adapted for an episode of the "ESCAPE" radio programme.