Remembering Rush Album “Moving Pictures”

 

Since Rush released “Moving Pictures” in 1981 it has sold 7 million copies worldwide and 5 million in the US alone.



Several songs from it got major airplay, such as “Tom Sawyer”, “Limelight”, and “Vital Signs”, plus an amazing instrumental “YYZ” — the Toronto airport code — which uses a time signature (5/4) that matches those same letters in Morse code.

Here’s “YYZ”.



Pretty cool song, with definite jazz-rock influences — sounds a lot like major jazz fusion bands of the 70s, such as Jean-Luc Ponty or Return to Forever. Apparently Al DiMeola was a major influence on guitarist Alex Lifeson, and you can hear that.

The album grew out of song ideas they created during sound checks while on tour for their previous album “Permanent Wave”. After that tour ended in 1980 they developed these ideas into actual songs at Ronnie Hawkins’ farm in Stony Lake, Ontario and went back into the studio to record it later that year.

As musicians they are all amazing and pretty much set the bar for the power trio rock band. I especially liked their string of albums from 1980-82, “Permanent Wave”, “Moving Pictures”, and “Signals”. 

Here are three of my favorite Rush tunes, first “Subdivisions” https://youtu.be/EYYdQB0mkEU 

“Spirit of Radio” live at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (2013) https://youtu.be/7o9pWOGn9Yg

“Closer to the Heart” https://youtu.be/kyhW2v0NDM0 notable mainly as a showcase for the musical chops of Lifeson and drummer Neil Peart.

Even though I was never a big fan — the vocals push me away, sorry Geddy Lee — this was a mega-talented band with a distinctive sound and something to say, and they left a major legacy.

In 2021 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of “Moving Pictures” they reissued it as a special boxed set.