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Name:The Alan Parsons Project Tales Of Mystery And Imagination (Deluxe Edition) [EAC CUE FLAC] [RePoPo]

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The Alan Parsons Project - Tales Of Mystery And Imagination


Disc 1: 1976 Album

1. "A Dream Within A Dream" [instrumental]
2. "The Raven" (ft. Leonard Whiting on lead vocals, Alan Parsons lead vocal through an EMI vocoder, backing vocals by Eric Woolfson)
3. "The Tell-Tale Heart" (ft. Arthur Brown)
4. "The Cask of Amontillado" (ft. John Miles)
5. "(The System Of) Dr. Tarr and Professor Fether" (ft. John Miles and Jack Harris)
"The Fall of the House of Usher [instrumental]
6. 1. "Prelude"
7. 2. "Arrival"
8. 3. "Intermezzo"
9. 4. "Pavane"
10. 5. "Fall"
11. "To One in Paradise" (ft. Terry Sylvester)
12. "The Raven" (original demo) **
13. "Edgar" (demo of an unreleased track) **
14. "Orson Welles Radio Spot" **
15. "Interview with Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson" (1976) **

Disc 2: 1987 Remix

1. "A Dream Within A Dream" [instrumental]
2. "The Raven" (ft. Leonard Whiting on lead vocals, Alan Parsons lead vocal through an EMI vocoder, backing vocals by Eric Woolfson)
3. "The Tell-Tale Heart" (ft. Arthur Brown)
4. "The Cask of Amontillado" (ft. John Miles)
5. "(The System Of) Dr. Tarr and Professor Fether" (ft. John Miles and Jack Harris)
"The Fall of the House of Usher [instrumental]
6. 1. "Prelude"
7. 2. "Arrival"
8. 3. "Intermezzo"
9. 4. "Pavane"
10. 5. "Fall"
11. "To One in Paradise" (ft. Terry Sylvester)
12. "Eric's Guide Vocal Medley" **
13. "Orson Welles Dialogue" **
14. "Sea Lions in the Departure Lounge" (sound effects and experiments) **
15. "GBH Mix" (unreleased experiments) **

** = Bonus tracks

Personal Notes

The rip has been done using EAC to extract .wav files, and dBPowerAmp to convert them into Level-8 FLAC files. Log files are enclosed.

The CDs are presented as ONE SINGLE LONG AUDIO FILE for each CD. There's also a .cue file which marks the track points. If you need to extract a single song from this, you must download the whole album, and use a tool like Medieval Cue Splitter for Windows, or X Lossless Decoder (XLD) for Mac Users. I don't know any specific software for Linux users, if you do, tell me so I can add that info on future releases.

Attention: Single .cue/FLAC files. That's simply my personal choice for releasing it, don't argue about it, thanks. IF you don't like it, you've been clearly told, so look somewehere else and don't come crying. It's free, ok? Take it as it comes.

Regarding the accompanying text. I've come to find that those three sources come to complement each other quite well. Allmusic provides critical reviews, Wikipedia insights on the story of each matter/song, and Songfacts, often offers trivia usually unknown for most public. Lyrics are also intersting, mainly for non-english listeners.

On Alan Parsons Project (Wikipedia)

Englishman Alan Parsons met Scotsman Eric Woolfson in the canteen of Abbey Road Studios in the summer of 1974. Parsons had already acted as assistant engineer on The Beatles' Abbey Road and Let It Be, had recently engineered Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, and had produced several acts for EMI Records. Woolfson, a songwriter and composer, was working as a session pianist; he also composed material for a concept album idea based on the work of Edgar Allan Poe.

Parsons asked Woolfson to become his manager and Woolfson managed Parsons' career as a producer and engineer through a string of successes including Pilot, Steve Harley, Cockney Rebel, John Miles, Al Stewart, Ambrosia and The Hollies. Parsons commented at the time that he felt frustrated in having to accommodate the views of some of the artists, which he felt interfered with his production. Woolfson came up with the idea of making an album based on developments in the film business, where directors such as Alfred Hitchcock and Stanley Kubrick were the focal point of the film's promotion, rather than individual film stars. If the film business was becoming a director's medium, Woolfson felt the music business might well become a producer's medium.

Recalling his earlier Edgar Allan Poe material, Woolfson saw a way to combine his and Parsons' respective talents. Parsons would produce and engineer songs written by the two, and the Alan Parsons Project was born. Their first album, Tales of Mystery and Imagination, including major contributions by all members of Pilot, was a success. The song "The Raven" features lead vocals by actor Leonard Whiting, and, according to the 2007 remastered album liner notes, was the first rock song ever to utilize a digital vocoder, with Alan Parsons speaking lyrics through it. The claim seems spurious, however, as Kraftwerk's "Autobahn" predates "Raven" by two years, although it can be argued that that particular case escapes the qualifier of "rock music".

Arista Records subsequently signed The Alan Parsons Project for further albums. Through the late 1970s and early 1980s, the group's popularity continued to grow (although they were always more popular in North America and Continental Europe than in their home country, never achieving a UK Top 40 single or Top 20 album), with singles such as "I Wouldn't Want to Be Like You", "Games People Play," "Time" (Woolfson's first lead vocal), and "Eye in the Sky", making a notable impact on the pop charts. After the #3 success of the latter in the US (and #6 in Canada), however, the group began to fade from view. There were fewer hit singles, and declining album sales. 1987's Gaudi would be the Project's last release, though they did not know it at the time, and planned to record an album called Freudiana next.

Although the studio version of Freudiana was produced by Alan Parsons (and featured the regular Project backing musicians, making it an 'unofficial' Project album), it was primarily Eric Woolfson's idea to turn it into a musical. This eventually led to a rift between the two artists. While Alan Parsons pursued his own solo career and took many members of the Project on the road for the first time in a successful worldwide tour, Eric Woolfson went on to produce musical plays influenced by the Project's music. Freudiana, Gaudi and Gambler were three musicals that included some Project songs like "Eye in the Sky", "Time", "Inside Looking Out," and "Limelight." The live music from Gambler was only distributed at the performance site (in Moenchengladbach, Germany).

In 1981, Parsons/Woolfson and their record company Arista were stalled in contract renegotiations when on March 5th the two submitted an all-instrumental atonal album tentatively titled "The Sicilian Defence" (the name of an aggressive opening move in chess), arguably to get out of their contract. Arista's refusal to release said album had two known effects: the negotiations led to a renewed contract and the album has remained unreleased to this day.

"The Sicilian Defense was our attempt at quickly fulfilling our contractual obligation after I Robot, Pyramid and Eve had been delivered. The album was rejected by Arista, not surprisingly, and we then renegotiated our deal for the future and the next album, "The Turn Of A Friendly Card." The Sicilian Defense album was never released and never will be, if I have anything to do with it. I have not heard it since it was finished. I hope the tapes no longer exist." Alan Parsons

However, in recent interviews, Woolfson announced he is considering releasing one track from the never-released "Sicilian" album as a bonus track on a future Parsons Project CD re-issue.

Parsons released titles under his name (Try Anything Once, On Air, The Time Machine, and A Valid Path), while Woolfson made concept albums named Freudiana (about Sigmund Freud's work on psychology) and Poe - More Tales of Mystery and Imagination (continuing from the Alan Parsons Project's first album about Edgar Allan Poe's literature).

Tales of Mystery and Imagination was first remixed in 1987 for release on CD and included narration by Orson Welles which had been recorded in 1975 but arrived too late to be included on the original album. On the 2007 Deluxe Edition release, it is revealed that parts of this tape were used for the 1976 Griffith Park Planetarium launch of the original album, the 1987 remix, and various radio spots, all of which are included as bonus material.

Grand Funk Railroad paved the way for Jefferson airplane, which cleared the way for Jefferson starship. The stage was now set for the Alan Parsons project, which I believe was some sort of hovercraft. -- Homer Simpson

The 'Project sound'

Most of the Project's titles, especially the early work, share common traits (likely influenced by Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, on which Parsons was the audio engineer in 1973). They were concept albums, and typically began with an instrumental introduction which faded into the first song, often had an instrumental piece in the middle of the second LP side, and concluded with a quiet, melancholic, or powerful song. The opening instrumental was largely done away with by 1980; no later Project album except Eye in the Sky featured one (although every album includes at least one instrumental somewhere in the running order). The instrumental on that album, "Sirius," eventually became the best-known (or at least most frequently heard) Parsons instrumental because of its use as entrance music by various American sports teams, most notably by the Chicago Bulls during their 1990s NBA dynasty, as well as during broadcasts of Pittsburgh Steelers games on their flagship station WDVE (which is coincidentally a classic rock station) just before the start of the game itself or the second half. It was also used as the entrance theme for Ricky Steamboat in pro wrestling of the mid 1980's.

The group was notable for using several vocal performers instead of having a single lead vocalist. Lead vocal duties were shared by guest vocalists chosen by their vocal style to complement each song. Woolfson sang lead on many of the group's hits (including "Time" and "Eye In The Sky") and the record company pressured Parsons to use him more, but Parsons preferred "real" singers, which Woolfson admitted he was not. In addition to Woolfson, Chris Rainbow, Lenny Zakatek, John Miles, David Paton and The Zombies' Colin Blunstone made regular appearances. Other singers, such as Arthur Brown, Procol Harum's Gary Brooker, Dave Terry aka Elmer Gantry, Vitamin Z's Geoff Barradale and Marmalade's Dean Ford, have recorded only once or twice with the Project. Parsons himself only sang lead on one song ("The Raven") through a vocoder, and can be heard singing backup on a few others, including "To One in Paradise". Both of those songs appeared on Tales of Mystery and Imagination.

Although the vocalists varied, a small number of musicians worked with the Alan Parsons Project regularly. These core musicians contribute to the recognizable style of a Project song in spite of the varied singer lineup. Together with Parsons and Woolfson, the Project originally consisted of the group Pilot, with Ian Bairnson (guitar), David Paton (bass) and Stuart Tosh (drums). Pilot's keyboardist Billy Lyall also contributed. From "Pyramid" on, Tosh was replaced by Stuart Elliott of Cockney Rebel. Bairnson played on all albums and Paton stayed almost until the end. Andrew Powell appeared as arranger of orchestra (and often choirs) on all albums except "Vulture Culture", when he was busy composing the score of Richard Donner's film Ladyhawke. This score was partly in the Project style, recorded by most of the Project regulars, and produced and engineered by Alan Parsons. Powell also composed some material for the first two Project albums. From "Vulture Culture" onwards, Richard Cottle played as a regular member on synthesizers and saxophone.

The Project never played live during its career. This was due to the fact that Woolfson and Parsons saw themselves mainly in the roles of writing and production, and also because of the technical difficulties of reproducing on stage the complex instrumentation used in the studio. In the 1990s things changed with the technology of digital samplers. The only live performance where the band was introduced as "The Alan Parsons Project" was at Night of the proms 1990 (at the time of the group breakup), featuring all Project regulars except Woolfson who was present but behind the scenes, while Parsons stayed at the mixer except during the last song where he played acoustic guitar. Since 1994 Alan Parsons performed live acoustic guitar, keyboards and vocals, with various lineups called "Alan Parsons Live Project" distinctly from "The Alan Parsons Project" due to the breakup with Eric Woolfson.

Behind the revolving lineup and the regular sidemen, the true core of the Project was the duo of Parsons and Woolfson. Eric Woolfson was a lawyer by profession, but was a composer and pianist as well. Alan Parsons was a successful producer and accomplished engineer. Both worked together to craft noteworthy songs with impeccable fidelity, and almost all songs on Project albums are credited to "Woolfson/Parsons."

Album Review (by Mike DeGagne)

Tales of Mystery and Imagination is an extremely mesmerizing aural journey through some of Edgar Allan Poe's most renowned works. With the use of synthesizers, drums, guitar, and even a glockenspiel, Parsons' shivering effects make way for an eerie excursion into Poe's well-known classics. The instrumental "Dream Within a Dream" has Orson Welles narrating in front of this wispy collaboration of guitars and keyboards. The EMI vocoder is used throughout "The Raven" with the Westminster City School Boys Choir mixed in to add a distinct flair to its chamber-like sound. Parsons' expertise surrounds this album, from the slyness that prevails in "(The System Of) Doctor Tarr and Professor Feather" to the bodeful thumping of the drums that imitate a heartbeat on "The Tell-Tale Heart." "The Fall of the House of Usher" is a lengthy but dazzling array of musicianship that keeps the album's persona intact, while enabling the listener to submerge into its frightening atmosphere. With vocalists Terry Sylvester, John Miles, and Eric Woolfson stretched across each track, this variety of different singing styles adds color and design to the album's air. Without any underlying theme to be pondered upon, Alan Parsons instead paints a vivid picture of one of the most alluring literary figures in history by musically reciting his most famous works in expert fashion.

Another Review (by Ivan Melgar)

“Tales of Mystery and Imagination – Edgar Alan Poe” was not the first Alan Parsons Project album I had the chance to listen but surely the one that gave me more gratification. For many years I owned Pyramid, which with the pass of time was finding more simple and less progressive, also listened another ones like the weak "Eye in the Sky" or "EVE" so my interest in the band was decreasing at exponential degree.

In 1991 I had to make a visit to United States and bought this CD only because there was a special sale, if you bought “Tubular Bells” for $9.99 for an extra cent they gave “Tales of Mystery and Imagination”.

From the first listen I found this release was something different to what I ever heard, a very dark and mysterious album with excellent 100% progressive tracks. Something much more serious than anything Alan Parsons Project did later.

Alan Parsons is a capable engineer great musician and a talented composer but would be unfair to forget that Andrew Powell an incredible conducer is responsible for the perfect orchestral arrangements that play such an important part in almost every APP album.

The first track “A Dream Within a Dream” starts with a narration by Orson Welles of an Edgar Allan Poe passage that sets the mood not only for this song but also for all the album, as always his perfect English and educated voice gives extra credibility to whatever he reads. The song, as the track says is oneiric, beginning with a synthetizer solo that goes in crescendo until drums and bass join it in an explosion of power that again starts to fade in order to end the song, a beautiful and haunting opening.

“The Raven” is enhanced by the orchestra and the English Chorale brilliantly conducted by Andrew Powel, the vocals are soft and almost hidden behind the instruments and choir. This track has the particularity that Alan Parsons sings some sections using an EMI vocoder, with the company of the correct Leonard Whiting.

Without loosing the dark atmosphere, “The Tell-Tale Heart” starts faster than all the previous, the breathtaking vocals by the legendary Arthur Brown create the perfect sense of guilt and anguish for the story of a man who is tormented by his obsession with the beat of the heart from a person he killed, correctly complemented by the instruments and music, it’s a perfect song for a perfect story.

The next track is “The Cask of Amontillado” gives us an example of the style Alan Parsons Project developed with the pass of the years, soft vocals by John Miles and Terry Sylvester followed by impressive orchestral sections full of brass instruments and professional choirs, sadly in later albums he mixed this apotheosis with weaker and pop oriented tunes.

“The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether” is a very strange song, starts dark and obscure and gets confusing as the minutes pass because they mix to many different chords and tunes creating some kind of pleasant chaos. Excellent track that mixes different styles and sounds in a very inventive way, and that’s what progressive rock means, challenge the listener even when it’s confusing.

“La piece de resistance” is “The Fall of the House of the Usher” a 20 minutes instrumental epic divided in five parts:

I.- “Prelude” : Seven minutes introduction for orchestra and bass that situates the listener in the middle of the scene, the darkness and mystery create an atmosphere of suspense perfect for the doomed house.

II.- “Arrival”: A haunting track that starts with a frightening baroque organ, immediately followed by a fast keyboard and band, the set is ready for a Christopher Lee or Boris Karloff movie, simply spectacular.

III.- “Intermezzo”: A collection of more haunting sounds which take the suspense to its higher point.

IV.- “Pavane” is a softer tune mainly played with harp, works as a relief for the supposedly strong ending of the epic.

V.- “Fall”: The orchestra creates a musical cacophony that resemblances the fall of an old house, not a strong end as anybody should expect for an excellent epic, technically is very accurate but musically could have been developed much more.

The album is closed with “To One for the Paradise” sung by Terry Sylvester, Erick Woolfson and Alan Parsons who create complex vocal sections with the background by The Westminster City School Boys Choir and Jane Powell, mostly for guitars, is a semi acoustic song that softens the dark atmosphere of the whole album, extremely beautiful.

It’s important to mention Erick Woolfson, assistant producer and impeccable keyboardist, often known as Alan Parsons right hand, without him the album wouldn’t have been the same.

Absolutely essential release, if you got this one and none other by Alan Parsons Project, don’t worry, it’s by far the best and more imaginative, but if you can get I Robot and Pyramid, go for them, also very good albums.

Without hesitation I will rate it with 5 stars, doesn’t deserve any less.

Album History (from Wikipedia)

Released in 1976. The album's avant-garde soundscapes kept it from being a blockbuster, but the interesting lyrical and musical themes — retellings of horror stories and poetry by Edgar Allan Poe — attracted a small audience. Critical reaction was often mixed, such as Rolling Stone, whose Billy Altman concluded that the album mostly failed at reproducing Poe's tension and macabre fear, ending by claiming that "devotees of Gothic literature will have to wait for someone with more of the macabre in their blood for a truer musical reading of Poe's often terrifying works".

This album was released in U.K. originally with a different name. Simply called "The Alan Parsons Project" it was successful enough to achieve gold status but later that year the same album was released under the name of "Tales of Mystery and Imagination"

"The Raven" features actor Leonard Whiting on lead vocals, with Alan Parsons performing vocals through an EMI vocoder. According to the album's linear notes, "The Raven" was the first rock song ever to feature a digital vocoder.

The Prelude of "The Fall of the House of Usher", although uncredited, is based on the opera fragment "La chute de la maison Usher" by Claude Debussy which was composed in 1908-1917.

Tales of Mystery and Imagination peaked at #38 on Billboard's Pop Albums chart. "(The System Of) Doctor Tarr And Professor Fether" peaked at #37 on the Pop Singles chart.

The original version of the album was available for several years on vinyl and cassette, but was not immediately available on CD. This was due in part to Parsons' desire to rework some tracks. In 1987, Parsons completely remixed the album, including additional guitar passages and narration (by Orson Welles) as well as updating the production style to include heavy reverb and the gated drum sound of the 80s. The CD notes that Welles never met Parsons or Collaborator Eric Woolfson, but sent a tape to them of the performance shortly after the album was manufactured in 1976. In 1994 Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab (MFSL) released the original 1976 version on CD (UDCD-606), making the original available digitally for the first time. In 2007, a Deluxe Edition released by Universal Music included both the 1976 and the 1987 versions remastered by Alan Parsons during 2006 with eight additional bonus tracks.


It is based on the poem of the same name by Edgar Allan Poe, "A Dream Within A Dream." In its 1987 re-release, a voice-over narration by Orson Welles was added.

"For my own part, I have never had a thought which I could not set down in words with even more distinctness than that with which I conceived it. There is, however, a class of fancies of exquisite delicacy which are not thoughts, and to which as yet I have found it absolutely impossible to adapt to language. These fancies arise in the soul, alas how rarely. Only at epochs of most intense tranquillity, when the bodily and mental health are in perfection. And at those weird points of time, where the confines of the waking world blend with the world of dreams. And so I captured this fancy, where all that we see, or seem, is but a dream within a dream."


It is well-known as being the first rock song to use a vocoder, developed by EMI, to distort vocals. It is also one of the few songs by the band featuring the vocals of Alan Parsons. The 1987 reissued version of the song contains a guitar solo at the end, during the "nevermore, nevermore, never" refrain.

The clock struck midnight
And through my sleeping
I heard a tapping at my door
I looked but nothing lay in the darkness
And so I turned inside once more

To my amazement
There stood a raven
Whose shadow hung above my door
Then through the silence
It spoke the one word
That I shall hear for evermore

Thus quoth the raven, nevermore

And still the raven remains in my room
No matter how much I implore
No words can soothe him
No prayer remove him
And I must hear for evermore

Quoth the raven, nevermore
Thus quoth the raven, nevermore


You should have seen him
Lying alone in helpless silence in the night
You should have seen him
You would have seen his eye reflecting in the light

So for the old man
Ashes to ashes, earth to earth and dust to dust
No one will see me
No one with guilt to share, no secret soul to trust

Louder and louder
Till I could tell the sound was not within my ears
You should have seen me
You would have seen my eyes grow white and cold with fear

Heard all the things in Heaven and Earth
I've seen many things in Hell
But his vulture's eye of a cold pale blue
Is the eye of the Devil himself

Take me away now
But let the silence drown the beating of his heart


The story is set in a nameless Italian city in an unspecified year (possibly sometime during the eighteenth century) and concerns the deadly revenge taken by the narrator on a friend who he claims has insulted him. Like several of Poe's stories, and in keeping with the 19th-century fascination with the subject, the narrative revolves around a person being buried alive – in this case, by immurement.

As in "The Black Cat" and "The Tell-Tale Heart", Poe conveys the story through the murderer's perspective.

Montresor tells the story of the night that he took his revenge on Fortunato, a fellow nobleman. Angry over some unspecified insult, he plots to murder his friend during Carnival when the man is drunk, dizzy, and wearing a jester's motley.

He baits Fortunato by telling him he has obtained, out of season, what he believes to be a pipe of Amontillado (about 130 gallons), a rare and valuable sherry wine. He wants his friend's expert opinion on the subject. Fortunato goes with Montresor to the wine cellars of the latter's palazzo, where they wander in the catacombs. Montresor gives Fortunato more to drink; at one point, Fortunato makes an elaborate and, to the narrator's eyes, grotesque gesture with an upraised wine bottle. When Montresor fails to recognize the gesture, Fortunato asks, "You are not of the masons?" - Montresor says he is, and when Fortunato, disbelieving, requests a sign, Montresor displays a trowel he had been hiding.

Montresor warns Fortunato, who has a bad cough, of the damp, and suggests they go back; Fortunato insists on continuing, claiming that "[he] shall not die of a cough." During their walk, Montresor mentions his family coat of arms - a golden foot in a blue background crushing a snake whose fangs are embedded in the foot's heel - with the motto Nemo me impune lacessit (No one strikes me with impunity). When they come to a niche, Montresor tells his victim that the Amontillado is within. Fortunato enters and, drunk and unsuspecting, does not resist as Montresor quickly chains him to the wall. Montresor then declares that, since Fortunato won't go back, he must "positively leave [him]."

Montresor walls up the niche, entombing his friend alive. At first, Fortunato, who recovers from his drunken state faster than Montresor anticipated he would, shakes the chains, trying to escape. The narrator stops working for a while so he can enjoy the sound. Fortunato then screams for help, but Montresor mocks his cries, knowing nobody can hear them. Fortunato laughs weakly and tries to pretend that he is the subject of a joke and that people will be waiting for him (including the Lady Fortunato). As the murderer finishes the topmost row of stones, Fortunato wails "For the love of God, Montresor!" Montresor replies, "Yes, for the love of God!" He listens for a reply but hears only the jester's bells ringing as he places the last stone. He claims that he feels sick at heart, but dismisses this reaction as an effect of the dampness of the catacombs.

In the last few sentences, Montresor reveals that it has been 50 years since the murder, he has never been caught, and Fortunato's body still hangs from its chains in the niche where he left it. The murderer, seemingly unrepentant, ends the story by remarking: In pace requiescat (may he rest in peace).

Although the subject matter of Poe's story is a murder, "The Cask of Amontillado" is not a tale of detection like "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" or "The Purloined Letter"; there is no investigation of Montresor's crime and the criminal himself explains how he committed the murder. The mystery in "The Cask of Amontillado" is in Montresor's motive for murder. Without a detective in the story, it is up to the reader to solve the mystery.

Montresor's motive for murder is uncertain other than the vague "thousand injuries" to which he refers. Many commentators conclude that, lacking significant reason, Montresor must be insane, though even this is questionable because of the intricate details of the plot.

Though Fortunato is presented as a connoisseur of fine wine, his actions in the story make it questionable. For example, he becomes so drunk he would be unable to identify the Amontillado and treats De Grave, an expensive French wine, with very little regard by drinking it in a single gulp.

An apocryphal legend holds that the inspiration for "The Cask of Amontillado" came from a story Poe had heard at Castle Island (South Boston), Massachusetts when he was a private there in 1827. According to this legend, while stationed at Castle Island in 1827 he saw a monument to Lieutenant Robert Massie. Massie had been killed in a sword duel on Christmas day in 1817 by Lieutenant Gustavis Drane. Other soldiers took revenge on Drane by getting him drunk, luring him into the dungeon, chaining him to a wall, and sealing him in a vault. A report of a skeleton discovered on the island may be a confused remembering of Poe's major source, Joel Headley's "A Man Built in a Wall" (1844), which recounts the author's seeing an immured skeleton in the wall of a church in Italy. Headley's story includes details very similar to "The Cask of Amontillado"; in addition to walling an enemy into a hidden niche, the story details the careful placement of the bricks, the motive of revenge, and the victim's agonizing moaning. Poe may have also seen similar themes in Honoré de Balzac's "Le Grande Bretêche" (Democratic Review, November 1843) or his friend George Lippard's The Quaker City; or The Monks of Monk Hall (1845). Poe may have borrowed Montresor's family slogan Nemo me impune lacessit from James Fenimore Cooper, who used the line in The Last of the Mohicans (1826).

Poe wrote his tale, however, as a response to his personal rival Thomas Dunn English. Poe and English had several confrontations, usually centered around literary caricatures of one another. One of English's writings went a bit too far, and Poe successfully sued his editors at The New York Mirror for libel in 1846. That year English published a revenge-based novel called 1844, or, The Power of the S.F. Its plot was convoluted and difficult to follow, but made references to secret societies and ultimately had a main theme of revenge. It included a character named Marmaduke Hammerhead, the famous author of "The Black Crow", who uses phrases like "Nevermore" and "lost Lenore." This parody of Poe was depicted as a drunkard, liar, and domestic abuser. Poe responded with "The Cask of Amontillado", using very specific references to English's novel. In Poe's story, for example, Fortunato makes reference to the secret society of Masons, similar to the secret society in 1844, and even makes a gesture similar to one portrayed in 1844 (it was a signal of distress). English had also used an image of a token with a hawk grasping a snake in its claws, similar to Montresor's coat of arms bearing a foot stomping on a snake—though in this image, the snake is biting the heel. In fact, much of the scene of "The Cask of Amontillado" comes from a scene in 1844 that takes place in a subterranean vault. In the end, then, it is Poe who "punishes with impunity" by not taking credit for his own literary revenge and by crafting a concise tale (as opposed to a novel) with a singular effect, as he had suggested in his essay "The Philosophy of Composition."

Poe may have also been inspired, at least in part, by the Washingtonian movement, a fellowship that promoted temperance. The group was made up of reformed drinkers who tried to scare people into abstaining from alcohol. Poe may have made a promise to join the movement in 1843 after a bout of drinking with the hopes of gaining a political appointment. "The Cask of Amontillado" then may be a "dark temperance tale", meant to shock people into realizing the dangers of drinking.

Poe scholar Richard P. Benton has stated his belief that "Poe's protagonist is an Englished version of the French Montrésor" and has argued forcefully that Poe's model for Montresor "was Claude de Bourdeille, Count of Montrésor, the seventeenth-century political conspirator in the entourage of King Louis XIII's weak-willed brother, Gaston d'Orléans"; the "noted intriguer and memoir-writer" was first linked to The Cask of Amontillado by Poe scholar Burton R. Pollin.

BY the last breath of the four winds that blow
I'll have revenge upon Fortunato
Smile in his face I'll say "come let us go
I've a cask of Amontillado"

Sheltered inside from the cold of the snow
Follow me now to the vault down below
Drinking the wine as we laugh at the time
Which is passing incredibly slow

(What are these chains that are binding my arm?)
Part of you dies each passing day
(Say it's a game and I'll come to no harm)
You'll feel your life slipping away

You who are rich and whose troubles are few
May come around to see my point of view
What price the Crown of a King on his throne
When you're chained in the dark all alone

(Spare me my life only name your reward)
Part of you dies each brick I lay
(Bring back some light in the name of the Lord)
You'll feel your mind slipping away


It begins with background voices fading in, followed by an electric guitar riff and then, the Hammond organ, electric piano, bass, and drums kick in. Then Jack Harris chants the line, "Just what you need to make you feel better," in a deep voice that sounds like the Jolly Green Giant. John Miles sings the lead vocals. The first half of the song is played in C minor. The coda of the song shifts from C minor to D minor. It starts with a riff and applauding sounds, and then the overlaying riff from "The Raven" is played. Then the harpsichord comes in, and then the synthesizer comes in while both instruments play the overlaying riff from "A Dream Within a Dream". However, "A Dream Within a Dream" and "The Raven" are actually played in A minor. As the song fades out, a guitar lick is played amongst the rest of the instrumentation. The riff from "The Raven" is performed on a Wurlitzer keyboard with a digital vocoder. The chorus in this song sounds very similar to the chorus of "The Raven".

Musically, this song is funky and kind of upbeat, but it also has a slow plodding rhythm. "A Dream Within a Dream" and "The Raven" also have that same plodding rhythm.

Just what you need to make you feel better
Just what you need to make you feel
Just what you need to make you feel better
Just what you need to make you feel

At the far end of your tether
And your thoughts won't fit together
So you sleep light or whatever
And the night goes on forever
Then your mind change like the weather
You're in need of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether

Even clouds seem bright and breezy
'Cause the livin' is free and easy
See the rat race in a new way
Like you're wakin' up to a new day
It's a wise thing if you're clever
Take a lead from Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether

Find the end of a rainbow
Fly wherever the winds blow
Laugh at life like a sideshow
Just what you need to make you feel better

Satisfaction altogether
Guaranteed by Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether

Find the end of a rainbow
Fly wherever the winds blow
Laugh at life like a sideshow
Just what you need to make you feel better

Don't stop bringin' the girls round
Don't start havin' a showdown
Keep on handin' the jug round
All that you need is wine and good company


The tale opens with the unnamed narrator arriving at the house of his friend, Roderick Usher, having received a letter from him in a distant part of the country complaining of an illness and asking for his comfort. Although Poe wrote this short story before the invention of modern psychological science, Usher's symptoms can be described according to its terminology. They include hyperesthesia (extreme hypersensitivity to light, sounds, smells, and tastes), hypochondria (an excessive preoccupation or worry about having a serious illness), and acute anxiety. It is revealed that Usher's twin sister, Madeline, is also ill and falls into cataleptic, death-like trances. The narrator is impressed with Usher's paintings, and attempts to cheer him by reading with him and listening to his improvised musical compositions on the guitar. Usher sings "The Haunted Palace", then tells the narrator that he believes the house he lives in to be sentient, and that this sentience arises from the arrangement of the masonry and vegetation surrounding it.

Usher later informs the narrator that his sister has died and insists that she be entombed for two weeks in a vault in the house before being permanently buried. They inter her, but over the next week both Usher and the narrator find themselves becoming increasingly agitated for no apparent reason. A storm begins. Usher comes to the narrator's bedroom, which is situated directly above the vault, and throws open his window to the storm. He notices that the bog surrounding the house seems to glow in the dark, as it glowed in Roderick Usher's paintings, although there is no lightning.

The narrator attempts to calm Usher by reading aloud The Mad Trist, a novel involving a knight named Ethelred who breaks into a hermit's dwelling in an attempt to escape an approaching storm, only to find a palace of gold guarded by a dragon. He also finds hanging on the wall a shield of shining brass of which is written a legend: that the one who slays the dragon wins the shield. With a stroke of his mace, Ethelred fells the dragon, who dies with a piercing shriek, and proceeds to take the shield, which falls to the floor with an unnerving clatter.

As the narrator reads of the knight's forcible entry into the dwelling, cracking and ripping sounds are heard somewhere in the house. When the dragon is described as shrieking as it dies, a shriek is heard, again within the house. As he relates the shield falling from off the wall, a reverberation, metallic and hollow, can be heard. Usher becomes increasingly hysterical, and eventually exclaims that these sounds are being made by his sister, who was in fact alive when she was entombed and that Usher knew that she was alive. The bedroom door is then blown open to reveal Madeline standing there. She falls violently in death upon her brother, who dies of his own terror. The narrator then flees the house, and, as he does so, notices a flash of light causing him to look back upon the House of Usher, in time to watch it break in two, the fragments sinking into the tarn.

"The Fall of the House of Usher" is considered the best example of Poe's "totality", where every element and detail is related and relevant.

The theme of the crumbling, haunted castle is a key feature of Horace Walpole's Castle of Otranto, a late 18th Century novel which largely contributed in defining the Gothic genre. But Poe's version of Gothic literature is a biased one because it is fundamentally the crow flies at midnight hyperbolic -- horror is here so intense that it verges on the grotesque. Romanticism is represented in the same way, for the character of Usher brings the stereotype of the Romantic poet to its extreme. Usher closely resembles the bedazzled, melancholy genius who is haunted by death and madness. However, he inspires awe as well as repulsion, owing to his corpse-like appearance. He is even, to a certain extent, a comic character. Indeed, he is both a sublime musician and writer as well as a hopeless drug addict. He is seemingly in love with his own sister, whom he irresponsibly buries even though he knows she is cataleptic.

"The Fall of the House of Usher" shows Poe's ability to create an emotional tone in his work, specifically feelings of fear, doom, and guilt. These emotions center on Roderick Usher who, like many Poe characters, suffers from an unnamed disease. Like the narrator in "The Tell-Tale Heart", his disease causes his hyperactive senses. The illness manifests physically but is based in Roderick's mental or even moral state. He is sick, it is suggested, because he expects to be sick based on his family's history of illness and is, therefore, essentially a hypochondriac. Similarly, he buries his sister alive because he expects to bury her alive, creating his own self-fulfilling prophecy.

The House of Usher, itself doubly referring both to the actual structure and the family, plays a significant role in the story. It is the first "character" that the narrator introduces to the reader, presented with a humanized description: its windows are described as "eye-like" twice in the first paragraph. The fissure that develops in its side is symbolic of the decay of the Usher family and the house "dies" along with the two Usher siblings. This connection was emphasized in Roderick's poem "The Haunted Palace" which seems to be a direct reference to the house that foreshadows doom.

L. Sprague de Camp, in his Lovecraft: A Biography [p.246f], wrote that "[a]ccording to the late [Poe expert] Thomas O. Mabbott, [H. P.] Lovecraft, in 'Supernatural Horror,' solved a problem in the interpretation of Poe" by arguing that "Roderick Usher, his sister Madeline, and the house all shared one common soul". The explicit psychological dimension of this tale has prompted many critics to analyze it as a description of the human psyche, comparing, for instance, the House to the unconscious, and its central crack to the personality split which is called Dissociative identity disorder. Mental disorder is also evoked through the themes of melancholy, possible incest, and vampirism. An incestuous relationship between Roderick and Madeline is not explicitly stated, but seems implied by the strange attachment between the two.

"The Fall of the House of Usher" is considered Poe's most famous work. This highly unsettling macabre work is considered as the masterpiece of Anglo-Saxon Gothic literature. Indeed, as in many of his tales, Poe borrows much from the Gothic tradition. Still, as G. R. Thomson writes in his Introduction to Great Short Works of Edgar Allan Poe[p 36], "the tale has long been hailed as a masterpiece of Gothic horror; it is also a masterpiece of dramatic irony and structural symbolism."

In fact, "The Fall of the House of Usher" has been criticized for being too formulaic. Poe was criticized for following his own patterns established in works like "Morella" and "Ligeia" using stock characters in stock scenes and stock situations. Repetitive themes like an unidentifiable disease, madness, and resurrection are also criticized.

Poe's inspiration for the story may be based upon events of the Usher House, located on Boston's Lewis Wharf. As that story goes, a sailor and the young wife of the older owner were caught and entombed in their trysting spot by her husband. When the Usher House was torn down in 1800, two bodies were found embraced in a cavity in the cellar.

"Shadows of shadows passing. It is now 1831, and as always I am absorbed with a delicate thought. It is how poetry has indefinite sensations, to which end music is inessential. Since the comprehension of sweet sound is our most indefinite conception, music, when combined with a pleasurable idea, is poetry. Music without the idea is simply music. Without music or an intriguing idea, colour becomes pallor, man becomes carcase, home becomes catacomb, and the dead are but for a moment motionless."


If I could see the sky above
And my mind could be set free
As wild white horses reached the shore
I'd stand alone and oversee

And if the bush before me burns
Should I turn my eyes away
And still the voices I can hear
As clear to me as light of day

I believed in my dreams
Nothing could change my mind
Now I know what they mean
How could I be so blind

Cold sands of time
(Winds that blow as cold as ice
Sounds that come in the night)
Shall hide what is left on me
(Come from Paradise)

I've been through times when no one cared
(Words that were mine)
I've seen clouds in empty skies
When one kind word meant more to me
(Shall last as a memory)
Than all the love in Paradise

I believed in my dreams
Nothing could change my mind
Till I found what they mean
Nothing can save me now

The People Behind it

* Alan Parsons - Organ, Synthesizer, Guitar, Keyboards, Recorder, Vocals, *Producer, Engineer, Projection
* Eric Woolfson - Synthesizer, Harpsichord, Keyboards, Vocals, Vocals (bckgr), Executive Producer
* Orson Welles - Narrator (1987 version only)
* Leonard Whiting - Vocals, Narrator
* Arthur Brown - Vocals
* John Miles - Guitar, Vocals
* Jack Harris - Vocals
* Francis Monkman - Organ, Keyboards
* Kevin Peek - Guitar (Acoustic)
* Terry Sylvester - Vocals
* Laurence Juber - Guitar (Acoustic)
* Andrew Powell - Keyboards, Arranger
* David Paton - Guitar (Acoustic), Bass, Guitar, Vocals, Vocals (bckgr)
* Ian Bairnson - Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar, Guitar (Electric)
* Chris Blair - Assistant Engineer
* Peter Christopherson - Photography
* David Katz - Violin, Leader, Orchestra Contractor
* Burleigh Drummond - Drums
* English Chorale - Vocals
* Bob Howes - Choir, Chorus
* John Leach - Percussion, Vocals, Cimbalom, Kantele
* David Pack - Guitar
* Smokey Parsons - Vocals
* Joe Puerta - Bass
* Tony Richards - Assistant Engineer
* Jack Rothstein - Leader
* Daryl Runswick - Bass, String Bass
* David Snell - Harp
* The English Chorale and Played Ti - Choir, Chorus
* Stuart Tosh - Cymbals, Drums, Vocals, Tympani [Timpani]
* Tom Trefethen - Assistant Engineer

* Pat Stapley - Assistant Engineer

* Aubrey Powell - Photography
* Storm Thorgerson - Photography
* Hipgnosis - Design, Cover Art
* Sam Emerson - Photography
* Colin Elgie - Artwork, Graphic Design, Layout Design
* Billy Lyall - Piano, Drums, Glockenspiel, Keyboards, Recorder, Fender Rhodes
* Gordon Parry - Engineer
* Jane Powell - Vocals, Vocals (bckgr)
* Andrew Hurdle - Bass
* Christopher North - Keyboards


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