Asia Featuring John Payne, ‘Eye In The Sky’ – Exclusive Video Premiere
We’re pleased to present the video premiere of the Alan Parsons Project classic ‘Eye In The Sky,’ as covered by Asia featuring John Payne on their new album ‘Recollections (A Tribute To British Prog).’
John Payne told Ultimate Classic Rock that it was a personal thrill to get the opportunity to revisit the Parsons track.
“For me as a record producer, apart from my work as a vocalist and a band member, record production is really close to my heart. I’m great fans of Trevor Horn, Mutt Lange and all of those guys really influenced me a lot. Alan’s [work] was a huge influence on me from ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’ through Al Stewart and ‘Year Of The Cat’ and John Miles’ music.”
When they were recording the song, Payne reached out to the legendary producer and asked him if he’d like to hear what they had done. As it happened, Parsons had some input on what he heard.
“I was in the studio and he said, ‘John, go to a piano.’ I had him on speakerphone and he was on the piano and he said, ‘There’s a harmony part that you must put in’ and he played it to me on the piano. I put it in and sent it back to him and he said that he loved the song. In fact, there’s a tiny little tag at the intro of the front that I added that’s different from the main tune and he said to me the other day, ‘Do you mind if we actually use that with Alan Parsons Live Project’ and I went, ‘I would be so honored if you did.’
The ultimate coup happened when Parsons agreed to be in the video, which was filmed in and around Las Vegas, largely at the Las Vegas Hotel & Casino. Around that same time, they found out some interesting background regarding the inspiration for the song that would change how they approached the storyline.
“Only the day before [Alan came in], someone in Rock Vault at the LVH Theater said to me, ‘Do you realize what ‘Eye In The Sky’ was about?’ I said, ‘Well, I don’t really know.’ [Alan Parsons Project vocalist and composer] Eric Woolfson, of course, wrote the lyrics for that and even when I spoke to Alan, he didn’t actually know the direct reference.
“The direct reference was the circular surveillance cameras in casinos. Apparently, Eric Woolfson was obsessed with kinds of surveillance and stuff [like that]. So we knew that once Alan was coming in, we would change the storyline somewhat. I came up with the idea that he would be the surveillance person, so you wouldn’t see him until the end of the video. I mean, it’s so cool that he actually got involved.
“The guy’s a genius and for him to actually put his stamp of approval on the song, which is obviously one of the dearest songs to his heart, probably in his whole career, was amazing. When he came in, originally they wanted him to play on something and I said, ‘No, he didn’t play on the record — I think it would be wrong for that. Let’s have him as the surveillance guy that we finally reveal at the end.’
“Alan was a really good sport and put up with a very long day of shooting at the casino. Just looking at the lyrics, Jonathan and I then basically looked at this in a different way and you see Alan appearing at the end, giving the song his approval at the mixing console. I think it’s a cool twist to have the original guy in there.”
Actor/comedian Carrot Top also makes an appearance in the video and Payne notes that his longtime friend was stoked to participate.
“He’s a great guy and a big classic rock fan. I was shooting the video and I wanted a card dealer, so I phone him up and I go, ‘Scott [Thompson, Carrot Top's real name], would you like to be in an Asia F.J.P. video’ and he goes, ‘Oh, I’d love to, what day would you like me to do it?’ and I said, ‘How about now?’ And he went, ‘Okay!’
‘Recollections’ is available now in stores and via the usual online and digital outlets. Payne continues to perform in his highly successful ‘Raiding The Rock Vault’ show in Las Vegas and also plans to wrap up work soon on the next Asia F.J.P. album ‘Americana,’ which he’d like to release either later this year or early in 2015.