Album: The Turn Of A Friendly Card (1980)
Charted: 15
  • songfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • Alan Parsons, who wrote this song with his Project bandmate Eric Woolfson, told Songfacts: "It's kind of a sad song. I think it's been an inspiration for many people who are growing old or have become ill. It gets played at funerals. It's a slightly melancholy song."
  • This is the most popular song from the album The Turn of a Friendly Card, which has many songs from the perspective of a man in middle age contemplating both the content of his past and what is left of his future. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Mike - Santa Barbara, CA
  • Eric Woolfson, who died in 2009, played piano and sang lead on this track. Parsons said in his Songfacts interview: "It's actually a very difficult song to sing, because it goes through an enormous vocal range. Eric did a great job."
  • The Alan Parsons Project was a studio band that didn't perform live until the '90s, when digital sampling made it possible to reproduce their songs. This is an example of a song with rich instrumentation and lots of layers. In addition to a string section, here's the personnel:

    Vocals, Piano: Eric Woolfson
    Guitars: David Paton, Ian Bairnson
    Backing Vocals: Chris Rainbow
    Bass: David Paton
    Drums, Percussion: Stuart Elliott
Please sign in or register to post comments.

Comments: 19

  • Dale from Leander, TexasAnyone else notice an uncanny resemblance between this song and Pink Floyd's "Us and Them" from "The Dark Side of the Moon"?
  • Cat from New ZealandI agree with Mathieu - Saint-hyacinthe, Canada. It's about a man about to commit suicide... especially since its from a concept album about problem gambling. This has to be one of the most beautiful but saddest song ever heard.
  • Dt from Perdido BeachA very poignant and haunting song. Something I love to do and never get tired of is sitting on the beach at sunset at the end of a beautiful day, usually with a cocktail and have have my senses overwhelmed with the the sights, smells and sounds. I was listening to this and thought about how much I will miss this when I have to leave this world, hopefully not for quite a few more years. I've already told my wife I'd like to be cremated and have my ashes spread on the sea at sunset. This would be a perfect song to play.
  • Camille from Toronto, OhYes, this song is hauntingly, beautiful. Now that it's been mentioned, I can see how some may have thought this was a Pink Floyd song. I myself am surprised to learn it's by The Alan Parsons Project. At the time it was popular, I thought it was maybe Little River Band or some lightweight, flash in the pan group. Well, I'm not a big fan of APP, but this song is supreme. Why it popped into my head today (Feb. 2013) I have no idea. I am dealing with stage iv breast cancer and tho I am currently stable, I see my own mortality in a much different light than most people. Reading the lyrics to this song, and singing the tune in my head, well, you can imagine it can be heartbreaking.
  • Eric from Melbourne, AustraliaJust wanted to clear up the confusion about whether Eric Woolfson was reluctant or keen to sing "Time". Here's an excerpt from an article by Chuck Miller from Goldmine magazine, dated 2005 and re-published on alanparsonsmusic.com:

    The next Alan Parsons Project album, The Turn of a Friendly Card (Arista AL 9518), gave radio stations two major hits, the upbeat "Games People Play" (featuring Lenny Zakatek on vocals) (Arista AS 0573), and a slow, wistful ballad, "Time" (Arista AS 0598). Originally Eric Woolfson would sing lead on the demo tracks, which would then be recorded by other artists. However, when the song "Time" was ready to record, Woolfson asked if he could sing lead vocals on the final version. "When we started the Alan Parsons Project," said Woolfson, "Alan was allowed to choose whatever performers he wanted, and although I would have been happy to sing on the earlier albums, I accepted his decision to use other people. However, on the Turn of a Friendly Card album, we found ourselves in Paris with no other vocalists available and I persuaded Alan to let me have a shot at 'Time,' on the understanding that if he wasn't happy with it, he could replace the vocal at a later date."

    "Eric only started singing lead on Turn of a Friendly Card," said Alan. "I kept pushing him aside, although he always sang the demos. I didn't think it was right that he should sing on the Project, but I was talked out of it. There he was, singing all the big hits from that point on. So I was clearly wrong."
  • Oldpink from Farmland, InWoolfson had a beautiful voice, but on none of their songs did he sound as beautiful as he does right here.
    RIP Eric
  • Ronald from Arequipa, PeruFor me this song is about someone that left everything that he loves back to restart again somewhere else. And he says goodbye to all wondering if he will ever return again.
  • Jude from Baltimore, Md"Time" was the first 1981 song widely thought by many radio listeners in America to be a new Pink Floyd song; the second one was Red Rider's "Lunatic Fringe." Perhaps it shouldn't be surprising, since Alan Parsons produced Pink Floyd's DARK SIDE OF THE MOON album. Woolfson's vocal performance in decidely Gilmour-ian, and the lush orchestration recalls PF's "Comfortably Numb" from 1979's THE WALL (the film version would be released in 1982).
  • Ken from Star, PeSince APP is one of my favorite groups I feel it is important to clear something up, that while this is the first time Eric's vocals were used by the project on a song, Alan didn't want Eric to sing on the albums and Eric had to convince him he was up to the task. Alan reluctantly accepted. Most recently addressing Eric's death Alan said "...He not only wrote the majority of the songs we recorded together but after we had two or three albums under our belts he proved - contrary to my own opinions - that he had a singing voice that would be loved by millions."
  • Lita from Englewood, CoI asked my father to choose a song for us to dance to at my wedding and this is the one he chose. He felt it was fitting to see me off onto the next chapter of my life, which would also be a new one in his. It still chokes me up remembering dancing with him in front of all my friends and family. Very poignant and touching memory.
  • Ken from Louisville, KyKarl, Woolfson never sang on an APP track until this album. And for the next few albums, Woolfson sang on 2-4 tracks each, with other vocalists on the rest of the tracks. And it is true that Woolfson had to be talked into being a vocalist by Parson, Woolfson didn't initally want to do it. Parson was listed as "producer" and Woolfson was "executive producer"
  • Chris from Claremont, CaI thought it was about a friend or a girlfriend or wife who had died.
  • Mathieu from Saint-hyacinthe, CanadaI always thought that it was about a man about to commit suicide.
  • Julia from Joplin, MoThis song always evokes in me feelings of nostalgia, love, sadness and ultimately, serenity. It always makes me cry.
  • Karl from Los Angeles, CaI'm sorry, but I have to disagree with Ken of Louisville. Eric Woolfson was actually the creative force behind all of the APP albums (10). He wrote most of the songs and sang quite a few. Alan Parsons was the engineer Woolfson collaborated with on the "projects". Tales of Mystery and Imagination, being the first effort in 1976. Take a look http://www.ericwoolfsonmusic.com/
  • Cecilia from Portland, OrLike Chet and Charles, I am deeply moved by this song. I was pregnant with my first child, and it was a reflective time...very bittersweet, poignant song, knowing that nothing is forever.
  • Chet from Buffalo, NyI agree with Charles in NC. Absolutely beautiful and haunting...
  • Ken from Louisville, KyThis was the first APP song with Eric Wolfson as the lead singer. Wolfson's was Parson's friend, manager and sometimes songwriting partner. Wolfson wasn't a singer, but Parson asked him to give this song a try and liked the results. Wolfson went on to sing lead on APP hits "Eye In The Sky" and "Don't Answer Me".
  • Charles from Charlotte, NcThis is a gorgeous song. I cannot begin to adequately describe how it made me feel at the time I first heard it. It certainly brought to mind a recent lost love. There are several other excellent songs on this LP including the title song and "Games People Play". Highly recommended!
see more comments

AdeleFact or Fiction

Despite her reticent personality, Adele's life and music are filled with intrigue. See if you can spot the true tales.

Alice CooperFact or Fiction

How well do you know this shock-rock harbinger who's been publicly executed hundreds of times?

How "A Rolling Stone Gathers No Moss" Became Rock's Top ProverbSong Writing

How a country weeper and a blues number made "rolling stone" the most popular phrase in rock.

Richard MarxSongwriter Interviews

Richard explains how Joe Walsh kickstarted his career, and why he chose Hazard, Nebraska for a hit.

Sending Out An SOS - Distress Signals In SongsSong Writing

Songs where something goes horribly wrong (literally or metaphorically), and help is needed right away.

Todd RundgrenSongwriter Interviews

Todd Rundgren explains why he avoids "Hello It's Me," and what it was like producing Meat Loaf's Bat Out of Hell album.