Closer To The Heart (as made famous by Rush)

“Closer to the Heart” is a single by Rush, released in 1977, from the album A Farewell to Kings. It was the first Rush song to feature a non-member as a songwriter in Peter Talbot,[1] a friend of drummer and lyricist Neil Peart. It was issued as a single for Christmas 1977 and was Rush’s first hit single in the United Kingdom, reaching No. 36 in the UK Singles Chart in February 1978. “Closer to the Heart” was one of five Rush songs inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame on March 28, 2010.[2]

“Closer to the Heart” is one of Rush’s most popular songs, and has been performed live regularly since its release. It was not played for the bulk of the Vapor Trails Tour (2002), the R30 Tour (2004), and the Snakes & Arrows Tour (2007–08).[citation needed] The song returned to Rush’s setlists during the 2010–11 Time Machine Tour. After not being performed on the 2012–13 Clockwork Angels Tour, it was brought back for the 2015 R40 Live Tour.

The live albums A Show of Hands and Different Stages feature performances of the song with jam-style playing after the last verse. On the 1981 live album Exit…Stage Left, the song segues into “Beneath, Between and Behind,” and on Time Machine 2011: Live in Cleveland, it shifts into a triplet feel for the last verse. On the DVD release of the latter album, a polka rendition of the song is played during the end credits.

Although the original recording and most live performances feature acoustic drums, Peart used an electronic drum kit to play the song in concerts from 1984 to 1994.[citation needed]

Subdivisions (as made famous by Rush)

“Subdivisions” is a song by Canadian progressive rock group, Rush, released as the second single from their 1982 album Signals.

The song has been a staple of the band’s live performances, is played regularly on classic-rock radio, and appears on several greatest-hits compilations. It was released as a single in 1982, and despite limited success on the UK charts, the song had significant airplay in Great Britain.[citation needed] In the United States, it charted at No. 8 on the Album Rock Tracks chart.[1] Played live prior to its release, numerous pre-release live versions have circulated among collectors for years.

The song is a commentary on social stratification through the pressure to adopt certain lifestyles. It describes young people dealing with a “cool” culture amidst a comfortable yet oppressively mundane suburban existence in housing subdivisions. Anyone who does not obey social expectations is regarded as an outcast; the lyrics flatly describe a choice of “conform or be cast out”.

“Subdivisions” was one of five Rush songs inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame on March 28, 2010. The band asked Jacob Moon to perform his version of the song at the gala in their absence.[2]

The song became available as downloadable content for the music video game Rock Band 3 on November 2, 2010, in Basic rhythm as well as PRO mode which takes advantage of the use of a real guitar, bass guitar, and standard MIDI-compatible electronic drum kits in addition to vocals.[3][4]

The title of the song is heard twice per chorus, spoken by Neil Peart and lip-synched in the video by Alex Lifeson. Live performances include a sample of Peart’s voice, triggered at the appropriate moments and still lip-synched by Lifeson.

The promotional video scenes were filmed in the Toronto, Ontario area. The downtown scenes were filmed in downtown Toronto, most notably the opening zoom out shot of the intersection of King and Bay St, while the suburbs scenes were filmed in Scarborough, Ontario, near Warden and Finch Avenues. The aerial zoom out is of Sandy Haven Dr in Scarborough. The high school scenes were filmed at L’Amoreaux Collegiate Institute, in the same area. The video also features scenes of the Don Valley Parkway (looking south from a vantage point on Lawrence Ave) and a busy TTC subway station.

The lead character is played by Dave Glover, a L’Amoreaux student at the time. In 2008, Dave Glover’s wife, Sue Glover, said “they got really crappy seats to the show and never even met the band in person! Still fun for him though.” As of 2018, Dave can be found as the proprietor of The Human Bean, a coffee shop in Cobourg, Ontario, and on TV and stage in Cobourg. [5].

The arcade game featured at the end of the video is Atari’s Tempest.[6]. The video game arcade was a real arcade, not staged, and named Video Invasion. It was located at 3500 Bathurst St in North York, Toronto. It is just a few kilometers from Willowdale, the neighborhood of North York mentioned in The Necromancer. Most famously, Brian May of Queen frequented the arcade, and there were pictures of him on the wall. [7]

Geddy Lee – lead vocals and backing vocals, synthesizers (Oberheim OB-X, Minimoog) and bass
Alex Lifeson – electric guitar
Neil Peart – drums, backing vocals

The Spirit of Radio (as made famous by Rush)

“The Spirit of Radio” is a song released in 1980 by the Canadian rock band Rush from their album Permanent Waves. The song’s name was inspired by Toronto radio station CFNY-FM’s slogan.[1][2] It was significant in the growing popularity of the band.

“The Spirit of Radio” features the band experimenting with a reggae style in its closing section. Reggae would be explored further on the band’s next three records, Moving Pictures, Signals, and Grace Under Pressure. The group had experimented with reggae-influenced riffs in the studio and had come up with a reggae introduction to “Working Man” on their tours, so they decided to incorporate a passage into “The Spirit of Radio”, and as guitarist Alex Lifeson said, “to make us smile and have a little fun”.[3]

“The Spirit of Radio” was named one of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll and was among five Rush songs inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame on March 28, 2010.[4]

They had grazed the UK Top 40 two years earlier with “Closer to the Heart”, but when issued as a single in March 1980, “The Spirit of Radio” soon reached #13 on the UK Singles Chart.[5] It remains their biggest UK hit to date (the 7″ single was a 3:00 edited version which has never appeared on CD to date).[6] In the US, the single peaked at #51 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1980 and #22 in Canada, and in 1998 a live version of the song reached #27 on the Mainstream Rock Charts.[7]

Promotional 12-inch copies were released in the United States late 1979 with the B-sides of “Working Man” and “The Trees”, and the song being incorrectly titled “The Spirit of the Radio”.[8]

Limelight (as made famous by Rush)

“Limelight” is a song by the Canadian progressive rock band Rush. It first appeared on the 1981 album Moving Pictures. The song’s lyrics were written by Neil Peart with music written by Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson. “Limelight” expresses Peart’s discomfort with Rush’s success and the resulting attention from the public. The song paraphrases the opening lines of the “All the world’s a stage” speech from William Shakespeare’s play As You Like It; the band had previously used the phrase for its 1976 live album.

The single charted at No. 4 on the U.S. Billboard Top Tracks chart and No. 55 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, and remains one of Rush’s most popular songs. “Limelight” was one of five Rush songs inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame on March 28, 2010.[1]

In “Limelight”, lyricist Neil Peart comments on the band’s commercial success and the fame and its demands that come with rock star status. According to guitarist Alex Lifeson, the song “is about being under the microscopic scrutiny and the need for privacy—trying to separate the two and not always being successful at it”.[2] Bassist Geddy Lee describes the motivation for “Limelight” in a 1988 interview:

Limelight was probably more of Neil’s song than a lot of the songs on that album in the sense that his feelings about being in the limelight and his difficulty with coming to grips with fame and autograph seekers and a sudden lack of privacy and sudden demands on his time … he was having a very difficult time dealing with.

I mean we all were, but I think he was having the most difficulty of the three of us adjusting; in the sense that I think he’s more sensitive to more things than Alex [Lifeson] and I are, it’s difficult for him to deal with those interruptions on his personal space and his desire to be alone. Being very much a person who needs that solitude, to have someone coming up to you constantly and asking for your autograph is a major interruption in your own little world.[3]

In a 2007 interview, Alex Lifeson gives his take on “Limelight”:

It’s funny: after all these years, the solo to “Limelight” is my favourite to play live. There’s something very sad and lonely about it; it exists in its own little world. And I think, in its own way, it reflects the nature of the song’s lyrics—feeling isolated amidst chaos and adulation.[4]

Lifeson’s guitar solo was performed on what he called a “Hentor Sportscaster”, a modified Fender Stratocaster equipped with a Floyd Rose vibrato arm. Critics frequently point out Lifeson’s use of vibrato in the solo,[5] with Max Mobley writing that it “is dripping with Floyd Rose whammy”.[6] “Limelight” has been described as Lifeson’s “signature song”,[7] and critics cite the influence of Allan Holdsworth.[8] Lifeson himself calls it his favourite solo.[9]

Tom Sawyer (as made famous by Rush)

“Tom Sawyer” is a song by Canadian rock band Rush, originally released on their 1981 album Moving Pictures as its opener. The song relies heavily on Geddy Lee’s synthesizer playing and Neil Peart’s drumming. Lee has referred to the track as the band’s “defining piece of music…from the early ’80s”.[1] It is one of Rush’s best-known songs and a staple of both classic rock radio and Rush’s live performances, having been played on every concert tour since its release. It peaked at #25 on the UK Singles chart in October 1981,[2] at  No. 44 on the US Billboard Hot 100, and at  No. 8 on the Billboard Top Tracks chart.[3] In 2009 it was named the 19th-greatest hard rock song of all time by VH1.[4] “Tom Sawyer” was one of five Rush songs inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame on March 28, 2010.[5]

The song was written by Lee, Peart, and guitarist Alex Lifeson in collaboration with lyricist Pye Dubois of the band Max Webster, who also co-wrote the Rush songs “Force Ten”, “Between Sun and Moon”, and “Test For Echo”. According to the US radio show In the Studio with Redbeard (which devoted an entire episode to the making of Moving Pictures), “Tom Sawyer” came about during a summer rehearsal vacation that Rush spent at Ronnie Hawkins’ farm outside Toronto. Peart was presented with a poem by Dubois named “Louis the Lawyer” (often incorrectly cited as “Louis the Warrior”)[6] that he modified and expanded. Lee and Lifeson then helped set the poem to music. The “growling” synthesizer sound heard in the song came from Lee experimenting with his Oberheim OB-X.[7][8]

In the December 1985 Rush Backstage Club newsletter, drummer and lyricist Neil Peart said:

“Tom Sawyer was a collaboration between myself and Pye Dubois, an excellent lyricist who wrote the lyrics for Max Webster. His original lyrics were kind of a portrait of a modern day rebel, a free-spirited individualist striding through the world wide-eyed and purposeful. I added the themes of reconciling the boy and man in myself, and the difference between what people are and what others perceive them to be — namely me, I guess.”

Alex Lifeson describes his guitar solo in “Tom Sawyer” in a 2007 interview:

“I winged it. Honest! I came in, did five takes, then went off and had a cigarette. I’m at my best for the first two takes; after that, I overthink everything and I lose the spark. Actually, the solo you hear is composed together from various takes.[9]”

Used as entrance music by professional wrestler Kerry Von Erich.[10] He used the ring name “Modern Day Warrior” early in his career, a reference to the song.
The 2007–2008 Snakes & Arrows Tour included a video intro for the song featuring characters from the TV series South Park. The sequence shows Cartman, Kyle, Stan and Kenny, referred to as “Lil’ Rush”, attempting to play the song, which Cartman sings incorrectly. He is told to start the song over, at which point Rush would begin playing the song.[11]