Eye in the Sky

Eye in the Sky

performed by the Alan Parsons Project
written by Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson
released August 1982

Don’t think sorry’s easily said
Don’t try turning tables instead
You’ve taken lots of chances before
But I ain’t gonna give anymore
Don’t ask me
That’s how it goes
‘Cause part of me knows what you’re thinking

Don’t say words you’re gonna regret
Don’t let the fire rush to your head
I’ve heard the accusation before
And I ain’t gonna take any more
Believe me
The sun in your eyes
Made some of the lies worth believing

I am the eye in the sky
Looking at you
I can read your mind
I am the maker of rules
Dealing with fools
I can cheat you blind
And I don’t need to see any more to know that
I can read your mind (looking at you)
I can read your mind (looking at you)
I can read your mind (looking at you)
I can read your mind

Don’t leave false illusions behind
Don’t cry cause I ain’t changing my mind
So find another fool like before
Cause I ain’t gonna live anymore believing
Some of the lies while all of the signs are deceiving

I am the eye in the sky
Looking at you
I can read your mind
I am the maker of rules
Dealing with fools
I can cheat you blind
And I don’t need to see any more to know that
I can read your mind (looking at you)
I can read your mind (looking at you)
I can read your mind (looking at you)
I can read your mind

I am the eye in the sky
Looking at you
I can read your mind
I am the maker of rules
Dealing with fools
I can cheat you blind
And I don’t need to see any more to know that
I can read your mind (looking at you)
I can read your mind (looking at you)
I can read your mind (looking at you)
I can read your mind

_______________________

Ah, a song about Big Brother and the Surveillance State. Or God. Perhaps a stalker? It’s a little bit vague, really. I associate the song with surveillance, though, due to its place as bumper music on Coast to Coast AM.

Verse 1:

Don’t think sorry’s easily said
Don’t try turning tables instead
You’ve taken lots of chances before
But I ain’t gonna give anymore
Don’t ask me
That’s how it goes
‘Cause part of me knows what you’re thinking

Someone or something in a position of knowledge and authority feels wronged. The person being watched has now made one mistake too many. The Speaker warns against an attempt to make him/her the bad guy by “turning tables.” We are not clear how that might happen as the lyrics do not provide enough context.

Verse 2:

Don’t say words you’re gonna regret
Don’t let the fire rush to your head
I’ve heard the accusation before
And I ain’t gonna take any more
Believe me
The sun in your eyes
Made some of the lies worth believing

The conversation here feels as though it is occurring between people/entities familiar with one another. The Speaker/Singer continues from a position of authority. The first line of the second verse actually is reminiscent of the American Miranda Rights. Ambiguity arises in line three here, though. What accusation? This is a revisit of the “turn tables” line from the first verse. To this point, all of the accusation has been from the perspective of the Speaker. It remains unclear how the song’s accused might blame the accuser. The verse ends, though, but letting us know the Speaker does not hold the accused entirely in contempt. He/she says that some of the lies were worth believing because of “the sun in your eyes.”

Chorus:

I am the eye in the sky
Looking at you
I can read your mind
I am the maker of rules
Dealing with fools
I can cheat you blind
And I don’t need to see any more to know that
I can read your mind (looking at you)
I can read your mind (looking at you)
I can read your mind (looking at you)
I can read your mind

The chorus continues with the perspective of the observer. It’s self-descriptions implies authority and power – “eye in the sky,” “I can read your mind,” “maker of rules.” This description sounds like either the government or God. The personal nature of the first verse where we feel as though a one-on-one conversation is occurring broadens in the chorus, too. The line about “dealing with fools” implies that the object of the song is but one of many to whom the Speaker might address at any given time.

Verse 3:

Don’t leave false illusions behind
Don’t cry cause I ain’t changing my mind
So find another fool like before
Cause I ain’t gonna live anymore believing
Some of the lies while all of the signs are deceiving

This verse leans into the relationship as being personal. The Speaker-accuser here also seems less omnipotent and more fallible. We now know that the Speaker has spent some time believing lies – something you might not expect from God or even a Surveillance State. The tone of these verse is that whatever mistakes have been made are now too great to overcome.

An alternative interpretation of this verse is that it switches perspectives. In the chorus, the Speaker/accuser refers to “fools” but in this verse the Speaker seems to refer to him/herself as a fool. If we embrace this interpretation, then we should assume that whatever/whatever is doing the surveillance, it is an authority figure, but it also lies and cheats. This verse tells us that the addressee lies and deceives.

What does it all mean? I decided to ask the internet. I found an article:

In one interview, Parsons said the song’s title came from its vocalist and co-writer Eric Woolfson, who spent a lot of time in Las Vegas about that time.

“He had a certain fascination with the hidden cameras that were there watching the tables, taping the games and what have you,” Parsons told the interviewer. “It was more than just the hidden cameras. It was also kind of 1984 syndrome. It covers the fact we can never be left to our own devices; we will always be watched.”

If we imagine that the song is a conversation between a Las Vegas casino and a gambler… then it actually makes a lot of sense. It’s also a bit obscure.

______________________

Eye in the Sky charted well around the world:

Charts (1982) Peak position
Australian Kent Music Report 22
Canadian RPM Top Singles 1
Canadian RPM Top Adult Contemporary 7
French Singles Chart 16
Germany (Official German Charts) 38
Italian Singles Chart 5
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ) 6
Spain (AFYVE) 1
US Billboard Hot 100 3
US Cashbox Top 100 3
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard) 3
US Mainstream Rock (Billboard) 11
________________________

The album version of this song includes an almost two minute long instrumental piece also called “Sirius.” On the single release, the song did not include “Sirius.” However, a lot of classic rock stations include the album version when playing it on the radio. Sirius became somewhat famous in its own right because it was the introduction music for the professional basketball franchise, Chicago Bulls, while Michael Jordan was winning six NBA championships there.

The song is linked below and it includes the Sirius instrumental at the beginning:

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