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Eye in the Sky

by

The Alan Parsons Project



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

The rumor has it that this song gets its theme from George Orwell's 1984, which revolves around a dystopian future where citizens are constantly monitored by a totalitarian world government. However, even the official page of the Alan Parsons project which talks about this song doesn't mention any connection. There is also nothing in the lyrics to connect it with this novel - those of us who have actually read the book know that there are no specific references to "eyes in the sky" i.e. satellites and such, but just cameras and telescreens everywhere. Meanwhile, the lyrics make no reference to Big Brother, Ingsoc, Newspeak, proles, ministries, Room 101, and so on, which is common jargon in the book. So, let's just say this is unconfirmed, and caution people about making snap judgments regarding a novel which has become such a potent counter-culture icon in exactly the same way that Guy Fawkes - and Che Guevara before him - became counter-culture fashion. Otherwise we'd end up with a doubleplusungood untruth

A little more credible is the claim that it's a reference to ceiling cameras, particularly in casinos, where the same term "eye in the sky" is used. However, the basic message is that of somebody dumping a lover, while asserting that they know too well how the reaction will be.
Lead vocals were from Eric Woolfson, Parsons' main collaborator. He was Parsons' lyricist and manager. The Alan Parsons Project used various members on lead vocals; Woolfson would usually record a guide vocal and Alan Parsons, who was also the group's producer, would decide whose voice best suited the song. In later years, Parsons toured with a band and sang this song during performances.
In some ways, this is an extension of The Alan Parsons Project's previous album The Turn of a Friendly Card, which deals with gambling. Woolfson spent a lot of time in casinos and was fascinated with the hidden cameras watching his every move.
This was the most successful song the group ever had and was their only US Top-10 hit. It didn't fare as well in the UK, but then again, none of their songs did.
Parsons is a very successful sound engineer. He has worked on such albums as Abbey Road by the Beatles and Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd. (thanks Jeff - Kendall Park, NJ for above 2)
Parsons didn't think highly of this song and had to be convinced to put it on the album. As Wolfson tells it, he and the other musicians loved the song, but Parsons thought so little of it that he bet their guitarist Ian Bairnson that it would not be a hit.
The cover art to the album Eye in the Sky - this song is the title track - has the famous Egyptian symbol of the eye of Horus. Horus was one of the bird-headed Egyptian gods, with the head of a falcon. The eye symbol itself - in ironic contradiction to the lyrics - meant protection, power, and health.
On the album, an instrumental track "Sirius" proceeds and leads into "Eye in the Sky." "Sirius" ended up getting dropped from the beginning of the song when it got airplay, only to wind up becoming the rally song for the basketball team Chicago Bulls.
While it is true that this was the only Top-10 Billboard hit for The Alan Parsons Project, they actually had eight Top-40s from 1976 to 1984.
The Alan Parsons Project
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Comments (35):

Think about this! Imagine you are one of the damned. Fallen angel, a demon or Satan. And you just discovered who or what you are, and you've been fooled! Remember as God has said, I know everything, see everything, control everything. This is God talking to the Damned. Imagine waking up one day an discovering that you are damned and had been tricked or cheated because of who you are, and you never knew it. You have been a sinner, and you know what's in store and you start begging for forgiveness. You look for answers, then you come across this song, and you know straight away this is The Lord answering you! The sun in the sky is The Lord himself.
- jasen, auckland, New Zealand
Kevin (Reading, PA), Woolfson was seldom used as a lead vocalist early on, though he did frequently provide guide vocals (now available on some of the expanded re-releases, such as 'Tales'). His vocals first appeared on 'Pyramid,' but he wasn't a featured vocalist (on released singles) until 'Time' (from 'The Turn of a Friendly Card'). That's a pity, because his voice had an almost electric quality that meshed beautiful with the electronic music he and Parsons created, which is why he was my favorite of the many vocalists they used.
- esskayess, Dallas, TX
Great song, especially the late (RIP Eric) Woolfson's vocals.
Parsons himself is a very unassuming guy, not at all given to being rude or unkind to others.
I wish him luck with his latest endeavors.
- oldpink, Farmland, IN
I used to think the lyric was 'I am the maker of fools' but now I am thinking it was actually 'I am the maker of rules' which actually makes more sense.
- Colin, Newcastle, United Kingdom
BRILLIANT IS AN UNDERSTATEMENT! Parsons was never given the credit he was due.
- Aimee, Plant City, FL
Great song, but overplayed on the radio. APP was always exploring new sounds, and I have become a fan of Alan Parsons after meeting him here in Santa Barbara. Really a fantastic chap, and amazing to talk to about a variety of topics. As I listened to more and more of his songs, I tend to favor those that did not make the top 40 lists, but all are gems. I have tried to listen to variants, like Keats, but they are like a boat without a rudder...just noise.
- rayjay, Goleta, CA
Regarding Eric's death Alan issued a statement saying, "...He never let me forget that I actually disliked Eye In The Sky when he first played it to me - arguably my most famous mistake."
- Ken, star, PE
Few people know that this song was actually the genius result of eric woolfson's discovery about gambling, along with alan parsons engineering talent. The song was woolfson's epiphany about what he discovered about the gambling industry. All the table games are completely controlled by sophisticated technology. Embedded in the security cameras above all the gaming tables are transponder signal systems that allow the "technicians" working at a highly secretive location in the nevada desert to monitor all the games in all the casinos in nevada, and they can completely control the dice at the craps tables, the roulette ball at the roulette wheels, and they can activate the special chemical ink in all the playing cards to produce almost at the speed of electricity any image on the playing cards at black jack, baccarat, poker, etc. that they want with the push of a button. Everyone that gambles in Las Vegas is being cheated blind. The U.S. Treasury Department along with all the state gaming control boards are all in on the scam for the tax revenues. The entire industry is corrupt and crooked as hell. Woolfson discovered this several years ago. It is the largest ongong criminal conspiracy in Amercan history, and they will get away with it forever. Dont gamble at any casinos. They are all wired into it. Spend your money elsewhere for quality recreational value. Robert Las Vegas
- robert, las vegas, NV
Karen, you may be sorry because "Eye in the sky" is a very good song ans I hear it very often on the Belgian radio. This is an everlasting song.
- Teresa, Mechelen, Belgium
Yes Karen, you may indeed be SORRY. You had better not listen to smooth melodic bands like THE ALAN PARSONS PROJECT. Just what do you consider worthy? EYE IN THE SKY is a great song and is still played on radios the world over, 27 years after it hit the airwaves. The proof is always in the results.
- Don, B G, KY
I'm sorry, but this is one of the WORST songs to ever hit the charts! It's so drone-y and boring, and the repetition of "I can read your mind" is inane.
- Karen, Manchester, NH
one of my favorite APP songs is an instrumental titled 'In The Lap Of The Gods' which I guarantee will knock the dust off your speakers. Arthur Brown also sang on one of the Project's songs. this here song is terrific to say the least.
- roman, barrie, ON
One of the first hit on "FM radios beginnings" in France, edge 80's : keyboard introducing - titled "sirius" - on the album, was also bright and enchnating...a wonderful and marvellous song that reminds me my youth, so far away ...
- newman, compi├Ęgne, France
I always saw this as analogous to "I Can See For Miles," much as Greg has said. It's also one of Parsons' sweetest, smoothest songs, full of genuine class. The eye on the album cover has nothing to do with Satan, in fact quite the opposite. Go to wikipedia and look up "Eye of Horus" and "Eye of Providence".
- Ekristheh, Halath, United States
The Alan Parsons Project did have a few interesting songs, but the "group" -- or Parsons if you will -- hijacked its own success when they stopped featuring Eric Woolfson as the lead vocalist and tried out someone else. They lost their identity, which is an odd thing to say about a non-group group like Alan Parsons Project.
- kevin, Reading , PA
I agree with Gred from Fayetteville.... a couple of lines stir up imagery of a failing/failed romance, most notably: "The sun in your eyes made some of the lies worth believing." I think the song was purposely written to have multiple layers of meaning: the failed relationship, the security cameras, God watching us all, etc.
- Dale, Santa Fe, NM
PS - Lenny Zakatek has always been my favorite APP vocalist, followed closely by Eric Woolfson. And isn't Ian Bairnson the most brilliant guitarist! By the way, for those of you who are longing for an APP fix, have you heard Keats? The band was produced by Alan Parsons, and featured most of the musicians from the APP albums: Ian Bairnson (guitar), Stuart Elliott (drums), David Paton (bass, vocals), and Colin Blunstone (lead vocals). Very satisfying.
- Alida, Centreville, VA
FABULOUS song...and group, ever-changing though it was. I've been fortunate enough to see Alan Parsons in concert twice, one being the afor-mentioned XM Satellite Radio's Artist Confidential series. I live in the DC area, where XM has its headquarters, and was incredibly lucky to be able to be in the small studio audience that was present for the taping of his interview/performance. I was sitting right in front of him, about 4 feet away. Never in a million years would I have ever thought that would be possible! And they did a meet-and-greet afterwards. I'd have to say that day was one of the best in my life, as you can imagine :) . I LOVE all of the information and comments on this website. But I'd like to share one little correction: the APP song that you hear while watching some NBA games (football, too) is Sirius, the intro to Eye in the Sky.
- Alida, Centreville, VA
The song is brilliant. Alan Parsons is an icon and the rare example of a reptilian priest that is actually very positive on a spiritual plane. He is deeply into the occult. His albums are full of it. But he has given us positive vibes and good frequencies and continues to do so with his new work. Check it out on MySpace. It's quite good.
- gig, Planet earth, United States
CDs had just reached the mass market when I was hired at Best Buy in 1987. (The 36th store in the company, Crestwood, Mo.) I used this song's instrumental lead-in as a demo to sell CD players. Nothing sounded better in the brand-new world of digital sound. Worked like magic, and was ironic at the same time.
- Randy, Suburban, MN
APP is onevof the most progressive and mature bands I have ever heard. I have most of their albums and worship the music they play.

The lyrics have deep meanings and many albums like 'Tales of Mystery and Imagination' and 'Freudiana' are theme-based, which makes listening to the lyrics a more interesting experience.

Some of my favourite APP songs are Time, Limelight, Silence and I, Old and Wise, Day after Day (super-awesome), Upper Me ... and so many more.

It was simply wonderful to watch the band perform (minus Eric Woolfson) in Mumbai recently.
- Soutiman, Mumbai, India
Posted on 11/7/2007. I consider Alan Parsons to have made a significant impact in the world of music. He either produced or engineered some of the all-time greatest albums in history - notably The Beatles' "Abbey Road" (great album & my favorite one by the Beatles), Pink Floyd's "Dark Side Of The Moon" (probably the greatest classic rock album of all time!), Al Stewart's 1978 "Time Passages" (a fine album!) & "Year Of The Cat", and his own A.P. Project. I have many of their albums and A.P.P. is among my all-time favorite artists. "Eye In The Sky" was the first one I got of their's back in 1982, and always thought it was probably their best one ("Silence And I", "Old And Wise", "You're Gonna Get Your Fingers Burned" are good songs among others there). Other notables from A.P.P. include the song "Time" from 1981 (is this one of the most beautiful songs you have ever heard or what!), the song "What Goes Up" from "Pyramid" in 1978, "Ammonia Avenue" from 1984 is a pretty good album ("Don't Answer Me" among other songs), as well as "Turn Of A Friendly Card" from 1980 ("Time", "Games People Play"..), "Vulture Culture" from 1985 has some nice songs on there, among other works ("I Robot", etc) & album cuts as well. Of course, "Eye In The Sky" was a great song (gotta love the Egyptian imagery). The songs Eric Woolfson lent his voice on were by-in-large probably their best ones. Normally a studio group only (featuring various different lead vocalists) I was lucky enough to see them 3 times in concert in 1995, 1998, and recently in 2006 where I even got a chance to shake the hand of and take my picture with Mr. Alan Parsons himself! Pretty cool.
- David, Deerfield Beach, FL
I used the lyrics to this song to teach metaphor in my eighth grade poetry class. It seems to be about the demise of a relationship and how he doesn't want to let go, even though he can "see" what's going on...i.e, the other person being unfaithful to him. I would explain to students that when he says "I can read your mind..." he doesn't literally mean that he has ESP; rather, he knows the other person so well that he can tell when they are or aren't lying. A great, great, song from the 80's.
- Greg, Fayetteville, NC
If you like Alan Parson's Project i highly recommend "Tales of Mystery and Imagination." One of Parson's MAJOR flops only because it was (and still is) ahead of it's time. They took 7 Edgar Allan Poe poems and short stories and made wonderful musical renditions of them. Such tales as "The Fall of the House of Usher," "The Tell-Tale Heart," and my personal favorite "The Cask of Amontillado." Even though Poe's stuff is somber, APP still uses synthesizers and up-beat lyrics...a wonderful concept album...and by the way "Eye in the Sky" is awesome
- Brandon, Peoria, IL
Parsons recently appeared on XM Satellite Radio's Artist Confidential series and explained that the song was inspired by Parsons' visit to a Nevada casino, where he noticed the ubiquitous, ever-present ceiling-mounted security cameras that were quickly becoming regular fixtures in gambling halls.
- Joshua, Twin Cities, MN
this was the chicago bulls pre game song, made popular by NBA on NBC
- omar, arcata, CA
Great song, i love the mysterious melody included. APP lyrics aren't that great, i just prefer the music they play, for instance, you can listen to "games People Play" or "Time", my favorite ones by APP
- Carlos, Lima, Peru
This song is kind of freaky.... but cool. Eye In The Sky.... very cool
- Ashley Jade, Cleveland, GA
On the back cover of the same-titled LP, are several photographs of Las Vegas casino security cameras - which are called "eyes in the sky"!
- Ken, Louisville, KY
actually its the eye of horrus
- joe, Airdrie, Canada
Love this tune...it brings back many a good memory of my early teens. I didn't try to understand the lyrics back then, just enjoyed it for what it was.
- Dee, Indianapolis, IN
Well, the APP did have UK hits with "Don't Answer Me/You Don't Believe" and "Old and Wise", but they were too far ahead of many other prog-rock artists of the same era, and did not do so well in their native Britain.
- Dave, Cardiff, Wales
ok then!
- marlo, perth, Australia
Actually, it's called the All-Seeing Eye of Osiris, not Ra, although it's also been called the All-Seeing Eye of Satan. Of course, like Ra, Osirit was an Egyptian god, and the eye often appears over a pyramid (such as on the American dollar bill).
- Brett, Edmonton, Canada
The album cover featured the Egyptian hieroglyph of the Eye of Ra. Ra was the Egyptian Sun God...the head God.
- Patrick, Conyers, GA
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