Legendary engineer, producer, and artist Alan Parsons' recording career got off to a remarkable start with the production of several significant albums, including Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon, and the Beatles' Abbey Road and Let It Be. He joined guest host Richard Syrett to talk about his work and experiences in the music industry. Parsons commented on his hit, "Eye In The Sky," noting the song's success took him quite by surprise. "At the time that we were recording it... I was ready to drop the song," he said.
Parsons discussed recording with filmmaker Orson Wells (though they never met), his interest in science/technology and performance of I Robot at Burning Man 2018, and how Edgar Allan Poe influenced his debut studio album, Tales of Mystery and Imagination. "I was mesmerized by Poe stories... the vocabulary of Edgar Allan Poe was unsurpassed," he admitted, acknowledging "To One in Paradise" as a favorite Poe work. Parsons also spoke about his new project, The Secret.
During the second hour, author and emeritus professor of English at the University of Central Oklahoma, Kevin J. Hayes, delved into the life and times of America's master of the macabre, Edgar Allan Poe. Hayes suggested the tragedy in Poe's early life (mother dying, father abandoning him) for which researchers credit as inspiring his dark work has been overemphasized, though the death of his wife was impactful. "Her death really made him distraught and he did start drinking more after that," Hayes revealed.
"[Poe] was an ultimate craftsman... when he wrote a short story he believed that every word counted, and not only that every word counted, but also that the position of every world counted," he continued. Though "The Raven" utilized motifs popular in dark literature at the time and its form was borrowed from a poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Poe continually reorganized his stanzas and rhyme schemes to make his work original, Hayes explained. Poe's "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" set the motifs of detective fiction used in Sherlock Holmes, the works of Agatha Christie, and others, he added. Hayes also spoke about Poe's interest in cryptography and its use in "The Gold-Bug," how the author carefully crafted his creepy public image, and details surrounding his tragic death.
The latter half of the program was devoted to Open Lines. Richard invited callers to share spine-tingling stories. Tex phoned in with a story about a strange closet in his childhood home in Powder Springs, Georgia. "The back wall... was always cold - I swear it was a portal because there was multiple spirits in that house," he recalled. According to Tex, he could sense at least 20 spirits in that house, and hear their footsteps in the hallway outside of his bedroom. Tex admitted he came face-to-face with a ghost he called The Cowboy, who apparently still follows him around to this day.
Richard in Sacramento, California, remembered the time his high school literature teacher entered the classroom hand first, flicking of the lights before walking over and closing all of the blinds. With the room sufficiently darkened, his teacher returned to his desk, lit a candle, and read Poe's The Black Cat to the class. "His class really inspire a lot of interest in poetry," Richard admitted. Chris from Columbus, Ohio, recounted the time he and a friend took a motorcycle journey in the 1960s across the country and ended up in Colorado one evening as the sun was setting. They sought shelter in the form of an abandoned farmhouse. According to Chris, they walked into the house, saw books on shelves, went upstairs, heard thumps and breathing downstairs, and descended to find the books neatly stacked to form the words, "Get Out."