This Is My Favorite Rush Song And I Don’t Care Who Knows It

Although “Time Stand Still” is a close second.

Yes, I know I like Rush songs from its “uncool” period (reckoned by hardcore Rush fans, not by everyone else, who will argue Rush was never cool). So be it. I accept your mockery, Rush fans! Bring it!

That is all.

109 Comments on “This Is My Favorite Rush Song And I Don’t Care Who Knows It”

  1. I would argue that any Rush is good Rush…but their body of work is so huge that maybe that’s a bad idea. Still, yay Rush! My personal favorite is Roll the Bones, though this one is pretty darn good, too.

  2. Well, it’s a step up from Danny Elfman… Which is a totally uncool, snarky thing to say. RUSH may stay. I like this track. Hold your head high, Scalzi!

  3. Sigh… you’re lucky I really like you, John.

    Then again, this song is from Mrs. Z’s favorite Rush disc (Presto), and yet I still married her. :)

  4. I had a friend in high school who was adamant – and that might be too mild a word – that Neil Peart was the best drummer of all time, hands down, full stop. He would brook no argument on the subject; the quickest way to set him off was to question Peart’s drumming title.

    Seriously, what the hell is it with Rush fans?

  5. Hey anyone can love “The Spirit of Radio” or “Tom Sawyer.” You gotta dig deep for this one.

  6. John @8: Oh, I definitely agree. I wasn’t trying to cast aspersions on Peart’s ability – indeed, if he’s not the best drummer, he’s easily in the top 2. I wish Geddy Lee’s voice didn’t annoy me so much so I could stomach listening to Rush for more than a few moments.

  7. I’ve enjoyed Rush for over 35 years (gahhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!). They were the first rock concert I attended.

    I’m not sure I can say I have a favorite Rush song, just like I can’t say I have a favorite Peter Gabriel song. I guess I could say I have ones that I don’t like so much, though.

    Gads, I’m old…

  8. It’s not “traditional Rush”, the synthetic-keys-heavy prog-rock of Tom Sawyer or Moving Pictures, but it’s not bad. Not bad atall. My personal Rush fave, and a personal anthem for me for a while, is “Totem”…

    I must be missing something, though… after the rolling thunder of Roger Taylor underscoring Freddie’s epic scream and Bowie’s chanting in “Under Pressure”, I’m hard pressed to find a better drummer… Bruford from Yes-the-original is up there, but…

  9. “The Pass” is a great song, and though I don’t like some of the production values on some mid-80s Rush albums, I’d have to say that “Territories” from Power Windows is their best balance of lyricism and songwriting, IMVHO.

  10. I’m a diehard Rush fan, and I think “The Pass” is a fantastic song, and it’s one of my favorites as well. Most of the “Presto” album is very good, with “Show Don’t Tell”, “The Pass”, and “War Paint” are my favorites from that album. A lot of their work after “Signals” doesn’t get the credit that it’s due, in my opinion. I’m looking forward to seeing them live again this summer.

  11. Must Resist Over the Top Fan Boy Comment….NO Can’t do it…..

    The Holy Trinity, God’s Favorite Band, 30+ years of Rocking and Still Cranking out the Music, I can’t wait for the Release of “ClockWork Angels”…the first two Songs promise great things. In fact “BU2B” (Brought Up to Believe) was Classic Rock Magazine’s #1 song for last year that is not on an Album.

  12. I once slept through Neil Peart’s drum solo. It was an unforgivable act for which I am still seeking atonement.

  13. “The Pass” was the first song that made me really take notice of Rush. Presto is an underrated album.

    But “Time Stand Still” is my favorite of theirs.

    I enjoy their work from Permanent Waves through Counterparts. Their early stuff I find underproduced and underarranged for my tastes (although I do like “Closer to the Heart”). They pretty much lost me with Test For Echo, which just doesn’t have any hooks to get me to enjoy the music.

    I’ve never been blown away by Rush’s musicianship like some people are. Geddy Lee’s bass is the standout instrument in the band. Certainly Peart is a better drummer than your typical rock drummer, but “astounding”? I wouldn’t put him on the same level as Keith Moon or Bill Bruford in their primes. (Actually I think Peart’s style is very similar to that which Bruford employed with King Crimson in the 80s and 90s.) I’d say Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater, Transatlantic, etc.) is up with Moon and Bruford, though, and I could probably turn up several other prog-rock drummers I like as much or better, too (both drummers who’ve worked with The Flower Kings, for example).

    I think the key feature of Rush’s performances is that they’re very tight and carefully orchestrated. To be sure it takes a lot of skill to pull off those arrangements. Maybe I’m guilty of being fooled because they make it look so easy. Or that their songwriting doesn’t excite me as much as some bands of arguably lesser performance talent.

  14. Like Jack, Rush was my first. You know what I mean. 31 years ago. The Pass is good but I’ve always had a crush on Anagram (For Mongo) from the same album. Tai Shan or Neurotica for other obscure tracks. Or any of a hundred of their better known stuff. Rush rocks!

  15. (To be fair, I have yet to hear a drummer anywhere in rock history who touched Keith Moon at his peak. But being compared unfavorably to Keith Moon is kind of the basic entry fee for even being considered as a top-flight drummer, so it’s not really a fair comparison.)

  16. I became obsessed with Rush during their “uncool” period (Power Windows was my first Rush album) and can name at least three (or four, or, hell, eight) songs I love from every album. I will now proceed to name my favorite eight songs off every album.

    Or maybe I’ll just listen to “Bravado” off Roll the Bones and get something in my eye.

  17. Re: Neil Peart’s drumming skills, it’s undeniable that the man has technique–it’s just his taste that’s in dispute. I mean, he probably COULD play just about anything, but that being the case, why doesn’t he play something less awful?

  18. jp wrote:

    I had a friend in high school who was adamant – and that might be too mild a word – that Neil Peart was the best drummer of all time, hands down, full stop. He would brook no argument on the subject; the quickest way to set him off was to question Peart’s drumming title.

    Seriously, what the hell is it with Rush fans?

    What the Hell is it with you people who don’t understand the sheer, unalloyed genius that is the power trio from Toronto? I feel sorry for your inability to understand the greatness that is Rush.

    OK, I’m a Rush fan, but not everyone is. Your later comment about Geddy Lee’s voice is a telling one. I was showing my Dad some Rush lyrics one day and he’d heard me listening to them and he said “You know, the drummer is pretty good and I like these lyrics, but I can’t understand the screechy guy who’s singing them. Another friend of mine speculated that perhaps the reason why Lee was able to hit such high notes had to do with him suffering some sort of pre-pubertal accident involving his testicles and some sort of sharp, pointy gardening implement.

    Neal Peart is a drumming god, I can’t think of another current drummer other than Buddy Rich who’s his equal (and this could be because I’m ignorant, so please, enlighten me) but he’s not the greatest drummer ever. I don’t know who is but I do know that in his prime Gene Krupa was as good of a drummer as Peart is and just as passionate. If I ever build a time machine one of the many things I’d do while I was going back in time to kill Hitler (because if you build a time machine and don’t use it try to kill Hitler you’re either a dick, or a Nazi, or a Nazi dick) is travel back to New York in 1938 to see Benny Goodman at Carnegie Hall where Gene Krupa just went completely insane on the drums during “Sing, Sing, Sing With a Swing” (the version that segues into “Christopher Columbus”.

    John, have you ever watched “Trailer Park Boys?” It’s a Canadian mockumentary series about life in a trailer park in Atlantic Canada and one of the best episodes is where one of the boys kidnaps Alex Lifeson and brings him back to the trailer park to play for a friend of his who can’t go to the concert. When Lifeson is asking his kidnapper, Ricky, what to play, Ricky, who isn’t a Rush fan, says ” Well play that fuckin’ Diane Sawyer song or something.”

  19. @1: The pirates are hard at work on YouTube. In the video you linked Nelly’s voice is chipmunked to get past the censors. She sounds a lot more Rush-like here.

    I first learned of Rush when 2112 was new but did not get the pleasure of seeing them live until the Presto & Roll the Bones tours. Sadly their newer stuff lacks the power of the older music. Still, not bad for 3 Hosers who have been making music together for 40+ years.

    THIS is easily the best thing anyone in Rush has ever done!! *big grin* Take off, eh!

  20. #21 there is absolution for your offense…as a Priest of the Temples of Syrinx I assign you Penance of Converting one non-Rushfan(tm)…go forth and spread the Joy. I suggest you convert a Justin Beiber fan we need less of those.

  21. I’m pleased to see you single out this song. “Presto” is still one of my favorite Rush albums, and in fact I was moved to dust off my mp3s of it last week.

  22. I think we’re about the same age – just looked it up and you’re ten months older that me – and I love that MIDDLE period of Rush as well.

    I think it’s a ‘music you listened to in High School’ (or at least your late teens) kind of thing.

    Huge Rush fan – huge Scalzi fan. Nice intersection today.

  23. Time Stands Still: “Summer’s going fast, nights growing colder, children growing up, old friends growing older”. The line gets hits me harder as I get older….

  24. Re: Neil Peart’s drumming skills, it’s undeniable that the man has technique–it’s just his taste that’s in dispute. I mean, he probably COULD play just about anything, but that being the case, why doesn’t he play something less awful?


    Someone should take half his drums away, he’d instantly become twice the drummer.

    Re: drummer joks. How many drummers does it take to change a lightbulb.

    Five. One to change it and four to stand around and talk about how Neal Peart would do it.

  25. Wile E. Quixote wrote:
    “I can’t think of another current drummer other than Buddy Rich ”

    Buddy Rich went from “current” to “not current” once he died, I’m pretty sure.

  26. Haters gonna hate. As a nerd and percussionist, Peart was my personal messiah for years. I was at the height of my fanaticism during the Presto/Roll the Bones/Counterparts era (Counterparts was the only cassette tape I ever listened to death) although I listened to all of their 80s stuff just as hard. I didn’t actually pay much attention to their 70s period until I came back to them several years later after the burnout from listening to literally no other music for two years wore off. Now, I’d say my favorite is probably 2112, because while I loathe Ayn Rand, a high-concept prog-opera based on one of her books is just about the nerdiest thing that rock music could ever produce, and I have to respect that. Test for Echo and all subsequent albums are the only ones I’ve never liked, although I’ve heard from many sources that Snakes and Arrows was a return to form and I keep intending to check it out one of these days.

  27. I wouldn’t put that as one of my favorite Rush songs, but I certainly like much more from the “uncool” period than most hardcore Rush fans. I don’t care how much anyone dislikes the “uncool” period, the songs on those albums are still much better than some of the early misses from “classic” albums like Fly by Night (anyone remember the truly wretched “Rivendell”? I thought not).

    Are you at all familiar with the Plastica covers of Rush songs? For example:

  28. “Rule number one: In my van, it’s Rush. All Rush, all the time. No exceptions. Rule number two: Nobody touch the red button. And I mean never touch the red button.”

  29. Yeah, I thought this might be the Rush song that I liked, but then I remembered that I stopped liking it when I heard it properly (as opposed to being played very loudly in my brother’s bedroom). This isn’t it, but it’s just one of many Rush songs I can’t get excited about. At the risk of clever failure mode, I find their lyrics TOO lyrical. I’d probably enjoy them more as a poem or something. Still, kudos to you for standing up to be counted. Musical freedom is one of the things the internet was built on. Although there were probably a lot of wires and stuff too.

  30. Oi, favorite Rush song, that’s a toughie. In the end I’ve got to go with Red Barchetta, though The Trees is close behind.

  31. I would consider myself a die-hard Rush fan, as I flew across 2 time zones and 4 provinces to see them in concert for the first time. (Everyone else on my plane was going to see a Rolling Stones show that weekend, I think. I had no interest in that.)

    My favourite stuff is from the 70’s, with “2112” taking the top spot. But “The Pass” is highly respectable.

  32. I’ve been a Rush fan since Presto came out in 1989 (came very late to the party), so you’ll hear no complaints from me re: The Pass. Also, since I’m rather fond of ‘Til Tuesday, Time Stand Still was one of the first Rush songs I was really fanatical about. Yeah…whole lotta teenage fangirl squeeing there.
    (Favorite Rush song is a toss up between Red Barchetta and Natural Science. Depends on my mood)
    So lovely to see so many Rush fans speaking out here. Can’t wait for the Time Machine Tour to come back through the States!

  33. (sigh) Nothing Rush has done since Presto has done anything for me. “Hold Your Fire” and “Power Windows” were the 80s zenith, and ever since… well, I guess I just don’t grok the new stuff.

  34. Scalzi + Rush = A really nice way to wind down the day. Thank you, sir.

    Alex Lifeson taught me how to play the guitar – not literally, of course.

  35. “Or maybe I’ll just listen to “Bravado” off Roll the Bones and get something in my eye.”

    That song is a permanent resident on the iPod and the truck CD. Think I’ll be adding “The Pass” now.

    Never knew “The Pass” had a video – I hadn’t even heard the song in a very long time. Then someone decided that the Rush app (yes, there is one!) would be a nice gift…

  36. Girl Rush fan here. I had a poster of Neil Peart on the wall of my freshman dorm room c. 1992. It was only one of the many things my roommates hated about me. And I am not even a drummer.

  37. I was indoctrinated early, and heard “Temples of Syrinx” as the first song ever, so it has a special place for me. Lost some love for them when I learned about the terrible Ayn Rand period, but still love the music, Geddy’s voice and all.

  38. Good choices, all. I’d list “Something for Nothing” and “Vital Signs” as my hit the repeat songs.

  39. jp: To be fair, Peart IS the best rock drummer of all time.

    So, I’m super uncool cause my favorite Rush song is The Necromancer.

  40. I’m surprised nobody’s mentioned “Witch Hunt.” I’m sure some think the keyboards on this track are overwhelming, but I just love it. The story it tells is scarily appropriate to the political climate today.

  41. There’s no shame in having The Pass as your favorite Rush song. It is, in my opinion, the best song on that album.

    Because I am old I have been a Rush fan for a very, very long time. Hell, the first time I saw them Geddy announced to the crowd “this is side one from our latest album. This is 2112.” The next 15 minutes blew our minds to tiny metal shards. Since then I have seen them a dozen times and have every freaking album. I’ve even dragged my wife to a few shows where she annoys the die-hard fans by dancing to the much-despised “Roll the Bones”. So while I favor the classic 2112 – Moving Pictures era, there is no shame in 80s Rush.

    And no Neal Peart is not the greatest rock drummer ever. But he is very, very good. Watch the documentary Beyond the Lighted Stage. There is a segment where he discusses totally changing his style while at the top of his game and it should be an inspiration to every artist of any medium.

    Oh, greatest rock drummer: Keith Moon’s good buddy, John Henry Bonham. This fact, not opinion.

  42. My wife is of the opinion that each Rush single is just one movement in ONE BIG SONG. The same song, that they’ve been playing for 30+ years now.

  43. Love Rush. Have always been disappointed by their videos, though. So many powerful images in the lyrics that they don’t bother to try and capture.

    I don’t know if “The Pass” is my all-time number-one favorite, but both it and “Time Stand Still” are way up there. From their more recent work, I really like “Ghost Rider”. Nothing from “Snakes and Arrows” has really grabbed me, though.

  44. Limelight is my favorite, alhough lets just say whenever any Rush song comes up on the olde iPod shuffle I never hit “next”. Not too many bands I can say that about.

  45. The first line (ok, second) of Presto gives me chills.

    I can’t point to a favorite. “Vapor Trails” made me almost drive off the road the first time I heard it after the Columbia disaster. “Roll the Bones”. “Big Money.” Hell, I can name the first ten I love that come to mind and tomorrow I’ll realize there are another ten I like more than all of those.

    They are some of the cleverest musicians I’ve ever heard. I swear they have imaginary numbers in some of their time signatures.

    I built superhero teams for Champions out of the song titles on Rush albums. (Signals was too easy. Moving Pictures, though, makes a great team.)

    And why yes, I am a fan.

  46. I have always secretly liked the “Roll the Bones” album quite a bit. As has been said before, pretty much any Rush is good Rush.

  47. I had a bunch of Rush loving buddies in college, and I alone among them loved Presto. All of the others hated it, and gave me no end of mocking for actually liking the album. Your love of “The Pass” makes me fell vindicated.

  48. Ghost of a Chance is a favorite of mine…. there aren’t a lot of songs about True Love that don’t wax metaphysical, but that’s one.

  49. Okay, this is the post that finally gets me to make a comment here. I’m a pretty hardcore Rush fan – have all the albums, reviewing each and every one of them for my blog, yadda, yadda, yadda – and while the synthesizer-heavy era of the band isn’t my favorite, there are some great individual songs on those albums. “The Pass” is definitely one of those songs – if you are of a certain temperament, the lyrics are going to hit you *hard*

    “I swear they have imaginary numbers in some of their time signatures.”

    Okay, somewhere down the line I will have to quote that at a relevant juncture.

    “I built superhero teams for Champions out of the song titles on Rush albums.”

    I currently play in an online play-by-post superhero game, with an electrical superhero inspired by “Analog Kid”. Then again, I’ve based an entire fantasy RPG campaign around a mash-up of “By-Tor & The Snow Dog” and “Hemispheres”, and “2112” has gotten re-skinned for use in my sci-fi RPG games.

    (yes, even by the standards of this blog, I *am* a nerd)

  50. Interesting. I was a huge Rush fan in high school, but by the time they put out “Signals” they started to lose me. “GUP” was worse (saw both the S and GUP concerts, though ;p ), and “Power Widows” put the nail in the coffin. Guess I was much more into the mid-70s to mid-80s Rush at the time (dare I say “purist”, at least then?). This one isn’t bad, though, so I may have to re-examine their more recent work, especially since I’ve been looking for something new to listen to lately. Thanks for that.

  51. That Nelly Furtado’s cover of “Time Stand Still” is going to give me nightmares.

    Current favourite Rush song is “Limelight”.

  52. The Trees is my personal favorite, although my husband’s band, Wolfguard, does some good covers of Finding My Home and Bastille Day that I’ve grown to love.

  53. Yeah, see, I’m thinking that those who believe Rush went through an “uncool” period are not hardcore fans. Those folks are the ones who abandoned the band after Moving Pictures. The hardcore fans are the ones who stuck with Rush regardless of their popularity. And we have been richly rewarded, with songs like “The Pass,” and albums like Roll the Bones and Snakes & Arrows.

    For those of you who bailed in the 80’s, I can only say it’s your loss. Rush has only gotten better since then.

  54. You don’t have to be a hardcore Rush fan to think they’re cool. What this means is that you’ve missed at least one category: Casual Rush fans under 30 aren’t necessarily aware of a time when the band *wasn’t* cool, which means we hadn’t heard this song. Thanks for sharing.

  55. I’m not as diehard as some Rush fans (frankly, I’m a little young, I didn’t notice them until maybe Moving Pictures or so), but…

    Tom Sawyer
    Roll the Bones

    In no particular order…but I could listen to those songs (as well as plenty more I’ve *gasp* forgotten about but would know instantly the moment they were played) all day long and not get tired of them. It takes a really talented band to pull off close to forty years’ worth of success. Good for them!

    As for Peart’s drumming skills…let’s see. Phil Collins (Genesis) and Larry Mullen, Jr. (U2) have always impressed me as having at least equal talent to Peart. Granted, you gotta hand it to Rush for changing time signatures midstream and having a drummer who not only can keep up, but relishes the challenge. But let’s not forget the other guys in the field, okay?


  56. Gawd, I totally forgot to mention “Roll the Bones”, “Red Barchetta” and “Time Stands Still” as some of my favorite Rush songs. See, I knew reading the rest of this blog would jog my ever-failing memory! Still, shame on me.


  57. Yikes. Ixnay on “forgetting” Roll the Bones. I need to read my own posts more carefully before making more. In my defense, it’s been a rough day.

  58. As a post-punk/No Wave kind of guy, I can’t say I think too much about Rush though “Time Stands Still” is pretty great. One more thing for Mr. Scalzi: You might not have enjoyed the Nelly Furtado cover because someone Chipmunked her vocals to evade the RIAA.

  59. Bill M. wrote:

    Wile E. Quixote wrote:
    “I can’t think of another current drummer other than Buddy Rich ”

    Buddy Rich went from “current” to “not current” once he died, I’m pretty sure.

    Jeez, I can’t believe that I thought he was still alive. OK, he’d be really old, but I thought that he was still around somewhere. Can anyone tell me how Generalissimo Francisco Franco is doing?

  60. I became a Rush fan with Presto. If you haven’t seen it yet, check out their documentary, Beyond the Lighted Stage.

  61. This track is my favorite from the Presto album, but I’ve always been partial to “Subdivisions” from Signals myself.

    And Rush is one of the pillars of my prog-rock Pandora station, “Erbo’s Music Lab.”

  62. Okay. So Sir Scalzi…do you have a favorite Todd Rundgren song? How about a favorite YES song (YES would be that British progressive, symphonic rock band that’s been recording since the late sixties famous for Roundabout in the early seventies and Owner of a Lonely Heart in the eighties). Just wondering. Many of the Rush fans I know are also into YES, Electric Light Orchestra, Emerson Lake & Palmer, King Crimson. Just wondering.

  63. Scalzi likes Rush. Awesome. Not surprising when I stop to think about it, but awesome nonetheless.

    While Presto qualifies as “not one of my favorite Rush albums, there are a handful of songs on it which are really, really good. The Pass is very powerful, especially the ending. I also favor Scars and War Paint. Funny I had never seen that video of The Pass, though. I guess since it came out while I was in school I didn’t watch much MTV then.

    BTW, I hope you switch to back bacon when listening to Rush, eh?

  64. I’m not a Rush fan.

    When they hadn’t been touring in Europe for 12 years, I flew over to Toronto to see them on the ‘Vapor Trails’ tour (and met a Dutch friend who had done the same, without knowing this from each other).

    A few weeks ago, I changed my return flight from my planned holiday in Spain so that I can see them play in Rotterdam.

    But I’m not a Rush fan…;-)

    NB: I rate “Presto” as one of my favourite Rush albums (together with “Power Windows” and the inevitable “Moving Pictures”), but my favourite song on “Presto” is ‘Available Light’.)

  65. I’m shocked and saddened… talking Rush on a SciFi writers blog, 80 comments and not ONE mention of Cygnus X-1… or Xanadu come to that.

    I drifted away around Hold Your Fire, liked odd tracks since then but something changed. Seems they lost the magic link between words and music, too often I hear a track where Geddy is trying to bolt Neils words on to a tune and it just sounds forced (IMHO of course).

    I guess I have a soft spot for all those ‘cheesy pop’ songs they used to write (Making Memories, Fly By Night, Best I Can…) through Closer to the Heart and even up to New World Man (*love* that track)

    Grace Under Pressure was the last album I truly loved as a whole, then tracks like Emotion Detector started popping up and I wandered…

  66. I have a whole Rush album which an acquaintance took and processed somehow so that it’s just *slightly* slowed down. He called it “Slush”. Geddy Lee’s voice is thereby lowered and it makes for interesting listening. Particularly being able to pick out lyrics or licks that sped by before.

  67. I stil have their first (vinyl) album that I bought in 1974. Rush before Peart!
    They were my first rock show (Massey Hall in Toronto). Can’t remember the year, but I was was still in high school so it was probably 75. They had flash pots!

  68. I recently found the diary/notebook I took to Rome in the summer of 1991 (this was before blogs and Twitter, kiddies!). My girlfriend and I spent over three weeks visiting archaeological sites, galleries and churches in one of the most beautiful cities in the world – I was studying Classics, she was studying Art History – but that stupid bloody 21-year-old me wouldn’t shut up about trying to find a copy of the just-released “Roll the Bones”. Seriously, there was as much in that notebook about Rush as there was about Caravaggio or Cicero or Bernini or Augustus.

    I still listen to Rush occasionally, with only a mild sense of embarrassment, but thankfully I no longer have the zeal of a 21-year-old for the first band he’s seriously “into”.

  69. My first Rush album was Roll the Bones. I had spent most of my HS days listening to dubbed copies of my friends’ Rush albums and finally had to buy one for myself. I really can’t pick a favorite song because there are just too many good ones.

    I do remember Candlebox getting booed a lot when they opened for Rush at the Charlotte Coliseum during the Couterparts tour.

  70. As a die-hard rush fan since the early eighties, I also can’t pick just one song. I go through phases with every Rush album on a yearly basis.

    Currently I’m retroing back to “Signals”. All because I fount this BRILLIANT live solo (solo with an echo box, anyway) acoustic cover of Subdivisions. If you haven’t seen this you *must*.

  71. Right, first time poster here as well… Like some others, I came late to the Rush party (around RTB… right as Counterparts was coming out)… all of the CDs/DVDs and a few concerts later… some of my favorite songs aren’t really the huge radio ones (but they can vary with mood, too)… Tai Shan, La Villa Strangiato is always good… Nobody’s Hero… good song choice!

  72. I saw Rush live in 1977. There were appearing at the Shreveport Auditorium in Louisiana at the time. Now, rock concerts tend to be booked way in advance, so this concert had been booked well before the breakout success of 2112 and Rush was cool enough not to cancel smaller shows to swap for larger venues, so they played an auditorium considerably smaller than they usually played at that time. Needless to say, they had the sound system, light show, and pyrotechnics for a much larger venue crammed into what is about the size of a high school gymnasium. It was loud for sure!

    A Farewell to Kings has a pretty little guitar solo at the beginning of the song, then explodes with a power chord and the full awesome might of one of the sonically densest trios ever. When they hit that chord they set off two massive magnesium flares on either side of the stage, bright columns of blinding white light likely designed for a much larger venue with the crowd maybe not so intimately close to the stage.We thought the stage had exploded. As we got our vision back, there was a big gap between the crowd and the stage as we had all surged backwards in shock. We also noticed the band was having a great deal of difficulty continuing to play since they were laughing so hard

  73. This is a bit like asking which pretzel in this bag of really tasty pretzels is your favorite.

    Although I will admit that when my 14 year old asked me to explain the current political climate in the US the other day I pulled out “Witch Hunt”…

  74. @John Scalzi – I forgot about “the Pass” – thanks for reminding me. And instigating the comments that are pointing me to Rush songs and albums I missed while my life was in a state of busyness and chaos.

    @Michael Rosenberg – My second 8-track was “Fly By Night” and I loved Rivendell. Granted, I was 15, listening to it on my Dynamite-8 player, and had just read Lord of the Rings, so that might’ve had something to do with it.

    My husband, a drummer, is (of course) a Neil Peart fan, but not a Rush fan. He watches him on drum videos. I don’t get drum videos, but I’m not a drummer…

  75. You’re mistaken that Rush fans think The Pass is “uncool”. It’s actually a fan favorite and also one of the band’s favorites, Neil Peart in particular. It’s a song that is very meaningful to me in a personal sense as well. It’s pretty obvious what the song is about and that’s all that needs to be said about that.

    I can’t recommend the documentary Beyond the Lighted Stage enough. People who don’t like Rush have raved about it, so it’s a no brainer for anyone who’s already a fan. These guys are the most humble and down to earth rock stars you’ve ever seen. They’re also pretty funny. It’s an entertaining film. Netflix it, you won’t be sorry.

  76. Put me down for Signals, too. In fact…

    {pause] Ohhhyeah. That’ll do nicely.

    Also — if you’re a musician yourself — you must concede that “The Trees” has one of the most amazing arrangements ever written for mastering to tape.

  77. My problem with Rush was that I always felt it soulless. Technically, it was brilliant. And I think the songwriting was strong. But the delivery had little emotion. Sure, the lyrics covered emotional topics, but what you felt usually came from within rather than from the music. So because of that the songs didn’t have power for me.

    I still listened to Rush sometimes, because Neil Peart was Neil Peart and that is enough right there. But if anyone wonders why Rush couldn’t break into the mainstream the way other long running bands could like Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones – even clearly inferior bands like Aerosmith – I think it is because their songs woke up your heart and Rush’s didn’t.

  78. I once got in a conversation over instant messenger where the other person asked if I listened to Rush. I enthusiastically replied that I loved Rush. We went back and forth for several more messages before I realized that she was not talking about the Canadian power trio but instead was referring to the corpulent American radio personality. Wrong Rush!

  79. I’ve been a Rush fan since Hemispheres came out on vinyl. I also learned to play guitar at the same time, so it was the music in which I cut my adolescent teeth. Then I was a Fan Boy (with all that it implies) now I’m just a fan. I find most of their albums (and I have most of them) are perfect for listening at work with headphones. The kind where you hit play, and 70 minutes later the album ends, and a huge pile of work is done. They’re not the only band I listen to, I have a very eclectic taste, but when I’m in the mood, the driving beats, and the positive lyrics are a good push.

    Though I have yet to see Beyond the Lighted Stage, I did work on the art. I don’t know if it shows on the DVD cover, but on the poster there is a small shot of Alex and Geddy, back when they had to be 16. They are wearing huge platform shoes, their guitars, bikini underwear, and nothing else. Every time I looked at that shot I didn’t laugh, though it is amusing. Instead I thought, there but for the grace of God, go I. That they would let a shot like this be released for advertising purposes at all, speaks volumes about their humility.

    I had the chorus to The Pass up on my FB page last month. A good friend informed me that Neil was riffing on Oscar Wilde’s, “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” Who knew?

    And there is no favorite Rush song. That is an impossible task. There are only favorite Rush songs.

  80. I’ve been a RUSH fan since 1980 or so, and I’ve been to at least one show in each of their tours since the Signals Tour in 1982. I am an unabashedly huge fan of the band, and had the good fortune to hang out backstage with Alex and Geddy after a show at the PNC Bank Arts Center back in 2007, on the “Vapor Trails” Tour.

    That said, I’d have to admit that “The Pass” is not one of my favorites from their oeuvre. Choosing a favorite song would be very difficult for me, but “Bravado” is on the list, along with “Dreamline,” but at the moment, my favorite is probably “Workin’ Them Angels,” from the Snakes & Arrows album.

    At the end of the day, though, if someone has a favorite RUSH song, they’re okay in my book, no matter what that song happens to be.

  81. Many, many years ago, Rush was nearly my entire musical diet. An equally rabid fan, a friend and I used to play a game where one of us would try to dream up an obscure, partial lyric and the other had to complete it. We knew every lyric from every song on every album, though the game eventually faded around Power Windows. Fair to say we were lyrically obsessed. To this day one of us will still fire off a sniper round at the other.

    My girlfriend hated Rush. Hated! Geddy’s voice. Then she sat with me while HDNET did a showing of, “Rush – Beyond the Lighted Stage” – she still doesn’t like the music, but she very much likes the people.

  82. I love all of their songs, to one extent or another, but my special Rush song is “Ghost of a Chance” because it’s what I think of when I think of how lucky I’ve been in my relationship with my husband, Marc. And the lyrics really resonate with me.

  83. with bands like Judas Priest out there, you pick this?!? JUDAS PRIEST MAN! Have you no shame?

  84. @Matthew in Austin…

    How about “Resist”? Or “New World Man”? Or “Red Barchetta”? Or..
    Well, let’s just agree that I don’t buy your point.

  85. Not only is that one of their best songs its also one of their better videos, i myself have been a major rush fan since 81-82, it was Exit Stage Left that caught my attention and that was the end for ac/dc to whom iwas listening to at that time. As far as all time personal favorite song its hard to say i like “bravado” alot, as well “presto” im also really fond of the entire side 2 of power windows any ways thanks for the video it was great to see after so many years. I think its great that rush is finally getting the attention and credit they so deserve, but i will admit its a bit disconcerting to us long time fans to all of a sudden have so much attention on what was a out of the lime light type of band. Thanks.

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