I Robot

I Robot

(1977)

Originally was intended to relate to Isaac Asimov’s classic story ‘I, Robot’, but as Asimov had sold the rights some years previously, it was adapted to a more general theme of human versus artificial intelligence.

Tracks

Tracks

  1. I Robot (Instrumental)
  2. I Wouldn’t Want To Be Like You
  3. Some Other Time
  4. Breakdown
  5. Don’t Let it Show
  6. The Voice
  7. Nucleus (Instrumental)
  8. Day After Day (The Show Must Go On)
  9. Total Eclipse
  10. Genesis Ch.1 V.32

Memories

Memories

Eric’s initial idea had been to do Tales of Mystery Volume II (further inspired by the work of Edgar Allan Poe), but by this stage they had changed record labels and the new record label was unwilling to have Volume II where they did not have Volume I. Another writer who had greatly inspired Eric was Isaac Asimov whose ‘I, Robot’ was one of many science fiction masterpieces Eric devoured at that stage. The original idea was to base the work on Asimov’s stories, but unfortunately Asimov had granted rights to a TV/ Film Company from 10 years before which prevented him from granting permission. Eric recalls a very pleasant conversation with Isaac Asimov who was extremely friendly and enthusiastic about the idea, but there was nothing he could do. Eric wrote the album using a similar title (on which there was no copyright) but dropping the comma and with the lyrics completely unrelated to Asimov’s writing, although there was a loose robotic connection.

The album I Robot to some extent looks at the questions and the extent to which as human being we may or may not be pre-programmed and act in a robotic fashion as well as the dangers of uncontrolled development of artificial intelligence.

The song ‘Some Other Time’ came about because when Alan asked Paul McCartney to read a line of poetry for the Tales of Mystery album in return for a favor Alan had done him, Paul’s response had been ‘Some other time Alan, some other time’ and this gave Eric an idea for the song.

‘I Wouldn’t Want to Be Like You’ was really the breakthrough airplay recording which got a tremendous amount of exposure, especially on American radio.

The I Robot album came out at a very fortuitous time, unknown to anyone, as completely unplanned, the album (with a robot on its cover) hit record stores in the US the same week as Star Wars was released and suddenly robots were all the rage and the Project was the only album being featured with a robotic cover.

Lyrics

Lyrics

All lyrics by Eric Woolfson & Alan Parsons © Woolfsongs Ltd / Careers Music, Inc. 1977

I Robot

(Instrumental)

I Wouldn’t Want to be Like You

If I had a mind to
I wouldn’t want to think like you
And if I had time to
I wouldn’t want to talk to you

I don’t care
What you do
I wouldn’t want to be like you

If I was high class
I wouldn’t need a buck to pass
And if I was a fall guy
I wouldn’t need no alibi

I don’t care
What you do
I wouldn’t want to be like you

Back on the bottom line
Diggin’ for a lousy dime
If I hit a mother lode
I’d cover anything that showed

I don’t care
What you do
I wouldn’t want to be like you

I don’t care
What you do
I wouldn’t wanna

I wouldn’t want to be like you
I wouldn’t want to be like you

Some Other Time

In a matter of a moment
Lost till the end of time
It’s the evening of another day
And the end of mine

Now the starlight which has found me
Lost for a million years
Tries to linger as it fills my eyes
Till it disappears

Could it be that somebody else is
Looking into my mind

Some other place
Somewhere
Some other time

Some other place
Somewhere
Some other time

Like a mirror held before me
Large as the sky is wide
And the image is reflected
Back to the other side

Could it be that somebody else is
Looking into my mind

Some other place
Somewhere
Some other time

Some other place
Somewhere
Some other time

Breakdown

I breakdown in the middle and lose my thread
No one can understand a word that I say
When I breakdown just a little and lose my head
Nothing I try to do can work the same way

Any time it happened I’d get over it
With a little help from all my friends
Anybody else could see what’s wrong with me
But they walk away and just pretend

When I breakdown

I breakdown in the middle and lose my thread
No one can understand a word that I say
When I breakdown just a little and lose my head
Nothing I try to do can work the same way

Where are all the friends who used to talk to me
All they ever told me was good news
People that I’ve never seen are kind to me
Is it any wonder I’m confused

When I breakdown, when I breakdown

Freedom, freedom, we will not obey
Freedom, freedom, take the wall away (take the wall away)
Freedom, freedom, we will not obey
Freedom, freedom, take them all away (where are all of my friends)

Freedom, freedom, we will not obey (I’m so confused)
Freedom, freedom, take the wall away (take the wall away)
Freedom, freedom, we will not obey (take the wall away)
Freedom, freedom, take them all away
Freedom, freedom, we will not obey (won’t somebody hear me?)

Don’t Let it Show

If it’s getting harder to face every day
Don’t let it show, don’t let it show
Though it’s getting harder to take what they say
Just let it go, just let it go

And if it hurts when they mention my name
Say you don’t know me
And if it helps when they say I’m to blame
Say you don’t own me

Even if it’s taking the easy way out
Keep it inside of you
Don’t give in
Don’t tell them anything
Don’t let it
Don’t let it show

Even though you know it’s the wrong thing to say
Say you don’t care, say you don’t care
Even if you want to believe there’s a way
I won’t be there, I won’t be there

But if you smile when they mention my name
They’ll never know you
And if you laugh when they say I’m to blame
They’ll never own you

Even if you feel you’ve got nothing to hide
Keep it inside of you
Don’t give in
Don’t tell them anything
Don’t let it
Don’t let it show

The Voice

It’s almost a feeling you can touch in the air
You look all around you but nobody’s there
It’s been a long time now since you’ve been aware
That someone is watching you (he’s gonna get you)

Sooner or later when your big chances come
You’ll look for the catches but there will be none
Remember before you grab the money and run
That someone is watching you (he’s gonna get you)

Before you run and hide
He’s gonna get you
You got no choice
Because you can’t escape the voice

Jumping at shadows that come up from behind
Scared of the darkness that’s there in your mind
You’re frightened to move because of what you might find
That someone is watching you (he’s gonna get you)

Before you run and hide
He’s gonna get you
You got no choice
Because you can’t escape the voice

Nucleus

(Instrumental)

Day After Day (The Show Must Go On)

Gaze at the sky
And picture a memory
Of days in your life
You knew what it meant to be happy and free
With time on your side

Remember your daddy
When no one was wiser
Your ma used to say
That you would go further than he ever could
With time on your side

Think of a boy with the stars in his eye
Longing to reach them but frightened to try
Sadly, you’d say, someday, someday

But day after day
The show must go on
And time slipped away
Before you could build any castles in Spain
The chance had gone by

With nothing to say
And no one to say it to
Nothing has changed
You’ve still got it all to do, surely you know
The chance has gone by

Think of a boy with the stars in his eye
Longing to reach them but frightened to try
Sadly, you’d say, someday, someday

But, day after day
The show must go on
And you gaze at the sky
And picture a memory of days in your life
With time on your side

With time on your side
(Day after day the show must go on)
With time on your side
(Day after day the show must go on)

Total Eclipse

(Instrumental)

Genesis CH.1 V.32

(Instrumental)


Credits

Credits

1. I ROBOT (Instrumental) 6:02
Soprano Vocal – Hilary Western
Clavinet – Eric Woolfson
Projectron & Synthi-A Sequencer Programming – Alan Parsons
Yamaha CS10 Synth – Duncan Mackay
Cimbalom and Kantele – John Leach
Guitar – Ian Bairnson, Bass – David Paton, Drums – Stuart Tosh
The English Chorale – Choirmaster – Bob Howes
Choir Arranged and Conducted by Andrew Powell

2. I WOULDN’T WANT TO BE LIKE YOU 3:22
Vocal – Lenny Zakatek
Rhodes and Wurlitzer – Eric Woolfson
Guitars – Ian Bairnson
Bass – David Paton, Drums – Stuart Tosh

3. SOME OTHER TIME 4:06
Vocals – Peter Straker, Jaki Whitren
Piano and Clavinet – Eric Woolfson
Cimbalom and Kantele – John Leach
Projectron – Alan Parsons
Acoustic Guitars – Ian Bairnson, David Paton
Electric Guitars – Ian Bairnson
Bass – David Paton, Drums – Stuart Tosh
Backing Vocals – Tony Rivers, John Perry, Stuart Calver
Orchestra Arranged and Conducted by Andrew Powell

4. BREAKDOWN 3:52
Vocal – Allan Clarke
Wurlitzer – Eric Woolfson
Synths – Duncan Mackay
Projectron – Alan Parsons
Electric Guitars – Ian Bairnson
Acoustic Guitars – Ian Bairnson, Alan Parsons
Bass – David Paton, Drums – Stuart Tosh
The New Philharmonia Chorus, Choirmaster – Bob Howes
Orchestra & Choir Arranged and Conducted by Andrew Powell

5. DON’T LET IT SHOW 4:24
Vocal – Dave Townsend
Organ and Piano- Eric Woolfson
Piccolo Trumpet – John Wallace
Guitar – Ian Bairnson, Bass – David Paton
Drums and Percussion – Stuart Tosh
Orchestra Arranged and Conducted by Andrew Powell

6. THE VOICE 5:23
Vocal – Steve Harley
Projectron and Vocoder ‘Voice’ – Alan Parsons
Wurlitzer – Eric Woolfson
Guitar – Ian Bairnson
Bass – David Paton
Drums and Percussion – Stuart Tosh
Orchestra Arranged and Conducted by Andrew Powell

7. NUCLEUS (Instrumental) 3:22
Tape Loops, Projectron and Effects – Alan Parsons
Keyboards – Eric Woolfson, Duncan Mackay
Cimbalom and Kantele – John Leach
Guitar – Ian Bairnson
Bass – David Paton, Drums and Water Gongs – Stuart Tosh
The English Chorale, Choirmaster – Bob Howes

8. DAY AFTER DAY (The Show Must Go On) 3:57
Vocal – Jack Harris
Synthi-A Sequencer Programming – Alan Parsons
Jangle Piano – Eric Woolfson
Hammond Organ – Andrew Powell
Pedal Steel Guitar – B.J. Cole
Guitar – Ian Bairnson
Bass – David Paton, Drums – Stuart Tosh
Backing Vocals – Jack Harris, David Paton,
Eric Woolfson, Alan Parsons, Ian Bairnson

9. TOTAL ECLIPSE 3:12
The English Chorale, Choirmaster – Bob Howes
Orchestra and Choir Arranged and Conducted by Andrew Powell

10. GENESIS CH.1 V.32 (Instrumental) 3:29
Keyboards – Eric Woolfson, Duncan Mackay
Backing Vocals – Tony Rivers, John Perry, Stuart Calver
Electric Guitars – Ian Bairnson, Acoustic Guitars – Ian Bairnson, David Paton
Bass – David Paton, Drums – Stuart Tosh
The New Philharmonia Chorus, Choirmaster – Bob Howes
Orchestra and Choir Arranged and Conducted by Andrew Powell

Produced by Alan Parsons
Executive Producer – Eric Woolfson
Engineered by Alan Parsons
Assistant Engineers – Pat Stapley, Chris Blair
Recorded and mixed at Abbey Road Studios,
London between December 1976 and March 1977

Steve Harley and Duncan Mackay appear courtesy of EMI Records Ltd
Allan Clarke appears courtesy of Chigreen Ltd
Peter Straker appears courtesy of Goose Productions Ltd
Thanks to David Katz, Smokey Parsons, Hazel Woolfson,
Mickey Shapiro, Bob Britton, Mike King, Eric Prince,
Humphrey Ocean and all at Abbey Road.

Sleeve Concept – Eric Woolfson, Sleeve Design by Hipgnosis
Graphics by George Hardie

All tracks written by Eric Woolfson & Alan Parsons
Except ‘Total Eclipse’ written by Andrew Powell
Published by Woolfsongs Ltd/ Careers Music.Inc. (BMI)
Administered by Universal Music
(p) 1977 RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment


Expanded Edition

Expanded Edition Includes these Bonus Tracks:

They say a poem is never finished, it is abandoned. The same could certainly be said of music, lyrics or any creative effort. The great advantage of the recording process is that as one keeps rough mixes as a guide, one can delve into stages before the point of abandonment and revisit some of the magic from earlier attempts or stages.

Amongst this collection of bonus material for the ‘I Robot’ album, there are several examples of the magical early takes and in this re-mastered version of ‘I Robot’, for those interested in the process, there is a unique opportunity to glimpse behind the curtain of the recording process. Also included are some abandoned experiments as well as demo material which guided the ultimate master recordings.

Here is a track listing of the bonus material included on the ‘I Robot’ expanded edition album to whet your appetite!

Track 11 – I Robot (Boules experiment)

EW “This is an example of an abandoned experiment. While in France, I noticed that Boules was the local French obsession, much like snooker in the UK or pool in the US. I discovered these metal balls made a fascinating noise when you banged them lightly together and I tried to incorporate this into an early studio demo recording of I Robot. Although I thought the effect could have worked quite well, Alan didn’t share my enthusiasm and the idea was abandoned.”

Track 12 – Breakdown (Early Demo of Backing Riff)

AP “This is an early attempt to find a feel from a chord sequence I had come up with. Eric constructed the final melody and lyrics around it. It is slower than the tempo eventually chosen.”

Track 13 – I Wouldn’t Want Be Like You (Backing Track Rough Mix)

EW “This is an excellent example of the early stage of the magic ‘take’ which was eventually developed into the master recording. Interestingly, from the point of view of any aspiring solo guitarists, this rough mix pre-dates the tremendous Ian Bairnson solo which was such a feature of so many of the Project recordings, but this was what Ian developed his solo over and it gives an opportunity for others to see what they might have come up with by playing along with the backing.”

Track 14 – Day after Day (early stage rough mix)

AP “This was an example of a ‘feel’ based track built around a synthesizer figure.”

Track 15 – The Naked Robot

EW “I recall that in creating ‘Projects’ we attempted to let different tracks merge into each other as part of the editing process and this meant that much of the material recorded was in compatible tempos and keys. We were reminded of this while reviewing much of the archive material on this album and had the idea of trying to re-combine some early stage mixes of material that was subsequently developed differently. This ten-minute medley of early stage mixes of instrumental pieces on the album seems to take on a life of its own with a different ambience and feel to the original record. The elements contained within this medley all appeared in a modified form on the eventual master, which could obviously have gone in a very different direction.”

DELUXE VERSION

I Robot 35th Anniversary Deluxe Version


‘In 2013 a special 35th anniversary Deluxe edition of I Robot was released with all the Expanded edition bonus tracks plus the following:

US Radio Commercial for I Robot

AP “A commercial for ‘I Robot’ as heard on many American FM stations. It includes some of the most frequently misquoted information when describing my early career in recording: namely that I ‘engineered’ Abbey Road and that I ‘produced’ Dark Side Of The Moon, neither of which are true. I was a very green assistant on ‘Abbey Road’ and an engineer on ‘Dark Side’. Such is the way marketing people operate!”

Hilary Western Soprano Vocal Rehearsal

AP “Hilary was the distinctive soprano singer heard on the intro to the title track of the album. This is a little peek behind the scenes from her session with us.”

Extract 1 from The Alan Parsons Project Audio Guide

AP ” We compiled a promotional “Audio Guide” as a promotional box set on vinyl for radio stations to compile their own shows from ( See inset photo) . It featured many of my early successes as a producer and a lot of Project music up to Pyramid, including several tracks from I Robot. It also included several interview snippets with Eric and myself from which this is taken. Here Eric talks about our early history.”

Extract 2 from The Alan Parsons Project Audio Guide

AP ” Eric talks further about composition, themes, and how we sometimes didn’t see eye to eye on lyrics”.

Some Other Time – Complete Vocal by Jaki Whitren

AP ” This is a rare chance to hear the vocal throughout the song by Jaki Whitren. The vocals on the released version were a combination of Peter Straker on the verses and Jaki on the choruses. Few realize that there were originally two vocalists on this song.

Extract 3 from The Alan Parsons Project Audio Guide

AP ” I talk about our choices of singers”

Breakdown – The Choir

AP ” An alternative take of the (isolated) choir from the ending of the song.

Don’t Let it Show (Eric Woolfson Demo)

AP ” Eric singing an early demo of the song – showing that both lyrics and structure were in early stages.”

Genesis Ch. 1 V. 32 – Choir Session

AP “A chance to hear the substantial choir we used on their own on an unused take. Note how Bob Howes, the choirmaster tells the choir to ‘smile’ in a effort to to get them to sing on pitch.”