Ignorance is Bliss: Alan Parsons

Forgive the introspection of this old fart, this day after Christmas

Jean is a great lover of music and, without fail, has music playing in the kitchen, especially when she is preparing the evening meal. Thus it was that last Tuesday, I was sitting alongside the kitchen in our living room and heard some tracks that took me back many years; in the way that music can do.

The tracks were songs from Alan Parsons. I was taken back to early 1971 when, freshly back from Australia, I was living in a flat in Harpenden with my then wife: Britta. At the start of 1971, I had joined the Guided Weapons Division of the British Aircraft Corporation (BAC) as a Commercial Apprentice. My office was in Six Hills Way, Stevenage; fewer than 15 miles from Harpenden.

Living in the flat above us were a couple, whose names escape me after all these years, and they were newly into listening to Alan Parsons. That is how I came to learn of the Alan Parsons Project as the group were known and have loved the music ever since.

Now, coming up to forty-four years later, I can share one of my favourite tracks from the album The Time Machine; “… the third solo album produced and engineered by Alan Parsons following the split of The Alan Parsons Project.” (Wikipedia)

That track is called Ignorance is Bliss.

I have included the wonderful words written by the person who uploaded that video.

Published on Feb 23, 2013
Every once in a while in your life, a song will speak to you because it’s happening right then and there. There was a time in my own life where I had tears streaming down my face and this song played on repeat. It was a time of turmoil, where all I could imagine was the peace that only ignorance of my own situation could bring.

A good song writer will set up a situation where it could be applicable in a variety of ways to hit the broadest audience. The trouble is, how do you make a broadly interpretive song that isn’t too broad as to be intangible?

This song walks the line, but the line IS defined if you listen closely. The ‘paradise’ the writer finds is in ignorance. It’s a dreamworld of course, none of us can fully forget our own existence or return to the womb, but it’s a beautiful thought sometimes – particularly when the wind changes, ‘shakes the ground on which you stand’, and ‘blows away your wonderland’.

Anyone who’s lost a loved one, been diagnosed with a terminal illness, gone through a divorce, or had a life-changing experience will understand ‘sand castle’ demolition. The author postulates that maybe we don’t find true peace until we are willing to give up those things we are so concerned about (our sand castles). After all, how long can you protect a sand castle against the inevitable tide?

And when those things that we cared so much about are gone, there’s nothing more to worry about. Perhaps you’ll find peace at last…

However, I have still not grasped the wisdom that the author is in the assumption that the elimination of the things I care most about will bring eventual peace. I’ve known people who NEVER got over a tragedy. Is it that they won’t let go, or that they CAN’T let go? Still though, it’s a nice thought and a pretty song.

In a more mellow and beautiful tone is “Ignorance Is Bliss.” This song shares traits with music by Dan Fogelberg. This mellow song has the honor of being the longest on this CD (The Time Machine) , as well as being one of the most beautiful. The lead vocal on this song is by Alan Parson’s veteran Colin Blunstone, who provided the vocals for the excellent Alan Parson’s Project song “Old and Wise.” There is a lovely orchestral arrangement in the extended bridge of this song, which I consider a must listen for Alan Parson’s fans.

Here are the lyrics:

Ignorance Is Bliss

I find this Paradise and rest beside a river
No need to walk another mile
It seems like everyone has everything that wishes could provide
But no one seems to smile

You won’t believe me when I tell you this is fantasy
Don’t ask how long all this can last
The same old sun will rise and make tomorrow just like yesterday
And so your time will pass

A shelter from the storm
A room without a view
A place where you belong
And like a mother’s kiss
That carries you to sleep
The ignorance is bliss

One day the wind may change and blow at your defences
And shake the ground on which you stand
One day the tide may turn and wash away your castles in the sand
And silence rule the land

A shelter from the storm
A room without a view
A place where you belong
And like a mother’s kiss
That carries you to sleep
The ignorance is bliss

One day the wind will change and blow away your wonderland
Blue skies will soon be overcast
One day the tide will turn and wash away your castles in the sand
And you’ll find peace… at last

May we all find peace.

2 thoughts on “Ignorance is Bliss: Alan Parsons

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