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Rush - Moving Pictures

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MOVING PICTURES 5.1
Re-Released: April 5th, 2011. Originally Released February 12th, 1981
Certified Gold by RIAA: April 13, 1981 -- Certified Platinum by RIAA: April 27, 1981 -- Certified 2x Platinum by RIAA: October 12, 1984 --
Certified 4x Platinum by RIAA: January 27, 1995
View All Album Certifications

Highest Billboard Chart Position: 3

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Liner Notes

Geddy Lee - Bass guitars, Oberheim polyphonic; OB-X; Mini-Moog; and Taurus pedal Synthesizers, vocals
Alex Lifeson - Six and twelve string electric and acoustic guitars, Taurus Pedals
Neil Peart - Drums kit, timbales, gong bass drums, orchestra bells, glockenspiel, wind chimes, bell tree, crotales, cowbells, plywood
The interview was nearly over, and the album track spinning on the studio turntable at CHOM-FM, the top album-rock station in Montreal, started to fade out. The DJ desperately rifled through a pile of Rush albums at his feet, flipping past copies of 2112, A Farewell to Kings, Hemispheres and what was then the band's brand new release, Permanent Waves. Finally, he turned to his guest that late-winter afternoon in 1980, Rush's singer-bassist Geddy Lee. "Let's go out with a hit," the jock said with a helpless smile, waiting for suggestions.

"A hit?" Lee replied with honest shock. "We don't have any hits."

That is a true story - I was there. A year later, in March, 1981, I was riding shotgun in a black Mercedes with Lee in the back seat and drummer-lyricist Neil Peart at the wheel as we zoomed from one sold-out arena gig in Montreal to another in Ottawa and they talked about what it was like to finally have a real hit on their hands: Rush's eighth studio album, Moving Pictures. The record - only out for a month - was already gold, nearing platinum and had gone to Number Three in Billboard, a personal best for the Canadian trio. Older records such as Rush's 1976 breakthrough, 2112, and the live follow-up, All the World's a Stage, were going platinum as well.

But as far as Lee, Peart and guitarist Alex Lifeson were concerned, nothing was different, except the numbers. "If something has our name on it, we try to make it as good as we can," Peart said as we passed over the Quebec-Ontario border. "We always think of the ideal Rush fan. When I'm writing lyrics or when I'm playing onstage, this ideal fan is watching every move I make to see if I make a mistake or if something is not as good as it should be. You just can't escape that judgment."

Lee remembered an earlier crossroads: Rush's third album, 1975's Caress of Steel. An audacious leap beyond their progressive-blues beginnings, dominated by two extended suites, Caress of Steel was battered by negative reviews and sold so poorly the band nearly lost its record deal. "Then we realized how stupid we were," Lee said. "Because of all these people putting pressure on us, we were looking at ourselves through their eyes. From then on, we knew exactly what our direction was going to be, and we were determined to have success strictly on our own terms." The band responded with 2112 - a creative and commercial rebound that was concept-driven on one side, shorter power-trio fury on the other and, as Lifeson put it recently, "the first record where we sounded like Rush." "You'd have to be a fool to ignore constructive criticism," Lee said as the Mercedes pulled up backstage at the Ottawa Civic Centre. "We've changed things in our music that were pointed out to us some years ago, things about feel or a tendency to sometimes sound forced."

Still, Lee insisted, "We know we're doing well when we can sit back and say, 'That's a good record - the audience applauds for it, they like it.' To make records people enjoy and that we enjoy playing - that's our measure of success."

Moving Pictures is Rush's biggest album, selling four million copies in the U.S. alone. But by the band's original standards, Moving Pictures was, back in '81, already Rush's most important and beloved album. "It's a deep, deep record," Lee confirmed, talking about it again last year.

Nothing was different. But everything had changed.

When you have lethal chops and the will to wow, sometimes the most extreme thing you can do is hang fire - play it cool and straight. That is what Rush did in the first minutes of "Tom Sawyer": the wet wind of electronics blowing over Peart's stern beat, like a funk strut with metal backbone; the long growl of Lee's bass-pedal synthesizer and the low menace of his voice, a shocking U-turn from his usual alpine register. There were fireworks soon enough - Lifeson's slashes of Jeff Beck-like fusion and anguished-treble screams; Lee's high familiar aggression. But then the singer dropped down to that prayer-like pitch for the benediction: "The world is, the world is/Love and life are deep."

"Tom Sawyer" was a rare example of outside collaboration. Peart wrote the words with Canadian lyricist Pye Dubois (an associate of the band Max Webster), reimagining Mark Twain 's tearaway as a contemporary rogue with no fixed politics but a hunger for wonder. "1 added the themes of reconciling the boy and man in myself," Peart later recalled, "and the difference between what people are and what we perceive them to be - namely me, I guess."

Peart was, in effect, writing about the whole band - the difference between Rush as their fans and foes knew them and the one actually coming out of a decade of hard labor, rough learning and early victories, on the verge of a new prime. Founded by Lee (born Gary Lee Weinrib) and Lifeson (born Alex Zivojinovich) in Toronto, shortly after they met in junior high school in 1967, Rush were outsiders from the start, fighting fools and sneers in Ontario bars and Canadian record-company offices. The 1974 debut, Rush, with original drummer John Rutsey, was issued on the band's own label after every major label in the country rejected it - twice.

When Rutsey (who died in 2008) quit on the eve of Rush's first U.S. tour, Lee and Lifeson took off with Peart, an Ontario native who played with the precise combined fury of Led Zeppelin's John Bonham and jazzmen Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich and wrote lyrics charged by the prophetic fiction and philosophies of Samuel L. Delaney, Ayn Rand and George Orwell, among others. Lee and Lifeson embraced a fitting complexity in their composing - "By-Tor and the Snow Dog" on 1975's Fly By Night was Rush's first recorded suite - while the band did a slow climb up America's hard-rock marquees. Lifeson once recalled a road trip which involved lying to a rental car agency about where they were taking the vehicle and for how long, then hauling ass to the States for several weeks of opening for Kiss and Aerosmith. "We brought the car back with 11,000 miles on it. It didn't have any hubcaps left, the radio was smashed, the mirror was gone." Lifeson grinned. "They were quite surprised."

"We're unfashionable, we're not trendy and we do things people think are pretentious," Lee told me with a soft satisfied laugh in 1978, after the release of Hemispheres. "There may be ways of becoming bigger than we are, but we're not complaining."

Rush planned to take a break after Permanent Waves, issuing a live album from that tour. Instead, Lee, Lifeson and Peart convened at a rented house in Stony Lake, Ontario in the late summer of 1980 - two months after coming off the road - and began to write. The chronology is murky, even to them. The first song out of the chute was either "Tom Sawyer" or "The Camera Eye," a two-part piece (relatively concise at eleven minutes) about city life, past and future - utopia, struggle and surveillance.

There were also demos at one point, done at a studio in Toronto, while the action-packed instrumental "YYZ" (named after the Toronto airport code) came out of a Lee-Peart jam during the formal sessions at Le Studio, in Morin Heights, Quebec. Rush may have started as children of Cream, but in "YYZ" they hit the gas like a fusion Batmobile, sleek and hard with a surprising armory of moving parts: that main stuttering riff (inspired by the Morse-code rhythm for YYZ); Lee's Rickenbacker-bass eruptions; the elegaic-synth bridge, like a deep sigh of '73 Genesis. "YYZ" is "always a challenge to play," Lifeson has admitted. "For that reason alone, this is a favorite of ours."

"Red Barchetta" was literally about motion, named after Peart's favorite set of wheels - the Ferrari 166 or Barchetta (pronounced with a hard "c") - and inspired by "A Nice Morning Drive" by Richard S. Foster, a short story published in Road and Track magazine in 1973. The setting was a future where velocity and escape are dangerous pleasures; cars, and the freedoms they imply, are outlawed. But this time the hero outruns authority ("I leave the giants stranded/At the riverside") with extra pictorial effect: Lifeson soloing through a delay unit, like he's burning rubber in a mountain tunnel.

In Peart's continuing examinations of free will and collective responsibility, Moving Pictures was pure Rush. "Witch Hunt," a roiling portrait of vigilante rule in barking-dog guitars and death-march rhythm, was pulled from a longer song cycle, "Fear," that the band ended up recording out of order. (The other sections later appeared on the Eighties albums Signals and Grace Under Pressure and 2002's Vapor Trails.) And in "Vital Signs," Moving Pictures' closing track, you could hear the Internet Century two decades ahead of schedule - "Signals get crossed/ And the balance distorted/By internal incoherence" - with a striking buoyance in the chrome-reggae chorus.

Permanent Waves had shown Rush to be keen listeners, turning the electronics and terse dynamics in New Wave rock to their own ends. But Moving Pictures, co-produced with old hand Terry Brown, had a concentrated urgency and black-steel sheen that sounded like Rush were charging forward and coming full circle at the same time - going back to the direct impact of their first albums, via the progressive-metal adventures on everything in-between. "The difference is in the organization of the music," Lee claimed during our 1981 car ride. "It's not just that the songs are four minutes long so they can get on the radio. It's the quality of those four minutes."

That is the meat of "Limelight," a song that is suspicious of success, on an album that delivered it in aces and spades: "Ill-equipped to act/With insufficient tact .. . I can't pretend a stranger/ Is a long awaited friend," Peart wrote, and Lee sang. But " Limelight" is also about the wisdom of stardom - that it is a privilege, not a right, and you take it for granted at your peril. One afternoon in January, 1979, Lee stood in the wings at the Pittsburgh Civic Arena while Rush's crew set up the lights, sound and pyro for a show there. "The first time we played here," he said, "we only had three feet of space from the front of the stage with no special effects. Just the basics. But those kids who saw us and liked it will come back, and when they do, they expect to see what the saw the first time.

"Only," Lee added, smiling, "we give them a little bit more."

So it goes, long after Moving Pictures. Rush have an entire history - on record, on stage, in their personal lives and friendships - since then. There's even a movie about the whole wild ride: the 2010 documentary, Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage (note the paraphrase from "Limelight"). "Independence is the key." Peart told me only a few months before Rush started making Moving Pictures. "Everything we wanted to do in life, we're able to do."

Nothing is different. Everything changes. And that DJ can now go out with a hit.

Here's seven of 'em.

David Fricke February, 2011

Produced by Rush and Terry Brown
Arrangements by Rush and Terry Brown
Recorded and original stereo mixes mixed at Le Studio, Morin Heights, Quebec, during October and November of 1980
Engineered by Paul Northfield

Assisted by Robbie Whelan, and our computerized companions: Albert, Huey. Dewey, and Louie
Digital mastering engineered by Peter Jensen
Hugh Syme is the featured guest performer once again, playing synthesizers on 'Witch Hunt'

Art direction, graphics and cover concept by Hugh Syme
Photography by Deborah Samuel

Management: Ray Danniels at SRO Management, Inc., Toronto
Executive Productions: Moon Records

Road Manager and Lighting Director: Howard Ungerleider
Concert Sound Engineer: Ian Grandy
Stage Manager: Michael Hirsh
Stage Right Technician, and Crew Chief: Liam Birt
Stage Left Technician : Skip Gildersleeve
Centre Stage Technician: Larry Allen
Guitar and synthesizer Maintenance: Tony Geranios
Stage Monitor Mixer : Greg Connolly
Projectionist: Lee Tenner
Personal Shreve and Factotum : Kevin Flewitt

Concert Sound by National Sound
All-Stars: Tom Linthicum, Fuzzy Frazer, Dave Berman
Concert Lighting by Sea Factor International
Easy Co.: Nick Kotos, George Guido, Bob Kniffen, Bob Cross
Concert Rigging: the daring Bill Collins
Transportation expertly guided by Tom Whittaker, Billy Barlow, Kim Varney, Arthur Maclear, Pat Lines, Bill Fuquay, Mike and Linda Burnham

Fabulous Persons: at Le Studio; Andre, Yael, Pam, Paul, Robbie, Roger, Harry, Claude & Gisele, Andre et Le Bouffe en Broche, Ted (Theo) McDonnld, Irv Zuckerman & Associates (The Beords), Brian (Vings) Laski, George Vis, Ted Veneman, Max Lobstors, Saga & crew, .38 Special & crew (27-24), Drexel, Gerry Griffin & Family, Terri at the Hawkins farm, Asteroids, volleyball (the Retardos & the Frantics 21- 8!), the Greenie (you must be drinking!), Bill Ward, Loveman, LoveWoman, & The Lovemachine, Scar & The Ignorant Wildfire Game, Top Secret, the MontreAl Canadiens, Steve Shutt, Screvato, Robin & Phase One, Bill Elson, Cliff Burnstein, Jim Sotet, Sherry Levy, and the Oak Manorians.

Specia1 British Supplement: Wild Horses; Jimmy & Sophie, Brian & Dee, Clive, Dirk (no relation), Mr. & Mrs. Robinson, Fin Costello, Bill Churchman, Alan Philips, Barry Murfet, Tex Yodell, Loft & Stage Crew, Steve Tuck, Robbie Gilchrist

Dept. of Above-And-Beyond: Ray, Rhonda, L.B., Dear Olde Broon (a great mind thinks alike), Happy Birthday Ms. Broon (wrong again, eh, Hovis!)

Featuring Daisy as "Ski-Bane"

Our continuing appreciation to the people and products of Tama, Avedis Zildjian, and Rickenbacker

Coolidge Dog Painting from the Archives of Brown & Bigelow, St. Paul, Minnesota.

DELUXE EDITION CREDITS

5.1 Surround Sound mixed by Richard Chycki at Mixland, Ontario
Mastered by Andy VanDette at Masterdisk, New York.
Reissue Supervised by Jeff Fura and Pegi Cecconi

Blu-Ray Production Facility: The Post Group
Menu Design: David Lange
Authoring: Marcus Ionis
Audio Resync: Chris Holden at Music2Film

Art Direction and Design: Hugh Syme
Photo Coordination: Ryan Null and Jo Almeida
Photos: Finn Costello, Phillip Kamen, Yael Brandeis Perry and Deborah Samuel
Production Manager: Shannon Steckloff and Monique McGuffin
Legal Clearances: Andrew Labarrere
Product Manager: Rob Jacobs


Correspondance: P.O. Box 640, Thornhill, Ontario, Canada L3T 4A5

Red Barchetta inspired by "A Nice Morning Drive" by Richard S. Foster

1981 Mercury Records 1981 Anthem Entertainment

Videos directed by Bruce Gowers

Audio Options: DTS-HD Mater Audio 5.1. PCM 5.1 Surround and Stereo

With this disc you are now able to hear at home what we hear in the studio. This disc contains all 7 tracks from Moving Pictures in high resolution 96K 24-bit PCM stereo, PCM 5.1 surround sound and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround sound. It is primarily an audio-only disc with basic navigation and song information displayed on screen. The 96K 24-bit audio on this disc has 256 times more resolution than a CD, providing greater detail and reproducing the music's full dynamic range, from the softest to the loudest sounds.

Please ensure your Blu-ray player firmware is up to date or certain aspects of this Blu-ray disc may not playback properly. Please consult your Blu-ray player manual and/or manufacturer for firmware update options and process.

2011 The Island Def Jam Music Group. 825 Eighth Avenue. New York, NY 10019 U.S.A.
Distributed by Universal Music Distribution. All rights reserved. 8001536100 www.ilovethatsong.com


Articles
  • Moving Pictures 5.1 (Review) - Record Collector Magazine, June 2011
  • Moving Pictures 5.1 (Review) - Guitar Techniques Magazine, August 2011

  • Track Listing (click on any track for the lyrics)

    CD
    1. Tom Sawyer (4:36)
    2. Red Barchetta (6:10)
    3. YYZ (4:25)
    4. Limelight (4:19)
    5. The Camera Eye (10:58)
    6. Witch Hunt (Part III of Fear) (4:45)
    7. Vital Signs (4:46)
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    DVD/BD
    1. Tom Sawyer (4:36)
    2. Red Barchetta (6:10)
    3. YYZ (4:25)
    4. Limelight (4:19)
    5. The Camera Eye (10:58)
    6. Witch Hunt (Part III of Fear) (4:45)
    7. Vital Signs (4:46)

    Bonus Videos
    Tom Sawyer -- Limelight -- Vital Signs (previously unreleased)


    Tom Sawyer
    Music: Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson / Lyrics: Neil Peart and Pye Dubois

       A modern-day warrior
       Mean mean stride
       Today's Tom Sawyer
       Mean mean pride

    Though his mind is not for rent
    Don't put him down as arrogant
    His reserve, a quiet defense
    Riding out the day's events -
    The river

    What you say about his company
    Is what you say about society
    -Catch the mist - Catch the myth
    -Catch the mystery - Catch the drift

    The world is the world is
    Love and life are deep
    Maybe as his skies are wide

       Today's Tom Sawyer
       He gets high on you
       And the space he invades
       He gets by on you

    No, his mind is not for rent
    To any god or government.
    Always hopeful, yet discontent
    He knows changes aren't permanent -
    But change is

    What you say about his company
    Is what you say about society
    -Catch the witness - Catch the wit
    -Catch the spirit - Catch the spit

    The world is the world is
    Love and life are deep
    Maybe as his eyes are wide

       Exit the warrior
       Today's Tom Sawyer
       He gets high on you
       And the energy you trade
       He gets right on to
       The friction of the day


    Red Barchetta
    Music: Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson / Lyrics: Neil Peart

    My uncle has a country place, that no-one knows about
    He says it used to be a farm, before the Motor Law
    Sundays I elude the 'Eyes', and hop the Turbine Freight
    To far outside the Wire, where my white-haired uncle waits
    Jump to the ground
    As the Turbo slows to cross the borderline
    Run like the wind
    As excitement shivers up and down my spine
    Down in his barn
    My uncle preserved for me an old machine -
    For fifty-odd years
    To keep it as new has been his dearest dream
    I strip away the old debris, that hides a shining car
    A brilliant red Barchetta, from a better, vanished time
    Fire up the willing engine, responding with a roar!
    Tires spitting gravel, I commit my weekly crime...
    Wind in my hair -
    Shifting and drifting -
    Mechanical music
    Adrenalin surge -

    Well-weathered leather
    Hot metal and oil
    The scented country air
    Sunlight on chrome
    The blur of the landscape
    Every nerve aware
    Suddenly ahead of me, across the mountainside
    A gleaming alloy air-car shoots towards me, two lanes wide
    I spin around with shrieking tires, to run the deadly race
    Go screaming through the valley as another joins the chase
    Drive like the wind
    Straining the limits of machine and man
    Laughing out loud
    With fear and hope, I've got a desperate plan
    At the one-lane bridge
    I leave the giants stranded
    At the riverside
    Race back to the farm
    To dream with my uncle
    At the fireside...


    YYZ
    Music: Geddy Lee and Neil Peart

    Instrumental


    Limelight
    Music: Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson / Lyrics: Neil Peart

    Living on a lighted stage
    Approaches the unreal
    For those who think and feel
    In touch with some reality
    Beyond the gilded cage

    Cast in this unlikely role,
    Ill-equipped to act
    With insufficient tact
    One must put up barriers
    To keep oneself intact
    Living in the Limelight
    The universal dream
    For those who wish to seem

    Those who wish to be
    Must put aside the alienation
    Get on with the fascination
    The real relation
    The underlying theme
    Living in a fisheye lens
    Caught in the camera eye
    I have no heart to lie
    I can't pretend a stranger
    Is a long-awaited friend

    All the world's indeed a stage
    And we are merely players
    Performers and portrayers
    Each another's audience
    Outside the gilded cage


    The Camera Eye
    Music: Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson / Lyrics: Neil Peart

    I
    Grim-faced and forbidding
    Their faces closed tight
    An angular mass of New Yorkers
    Pacing in rhythm
    Race the oncoming night
    They chase through the streets of Manhattan
    Head-first humanity
    Pause at a light
    Then flow through the streets of the city
    They seem oblivious
    To a soft spring rain
    Like an English rain
    So light, yet endless
    From a leaden sky

    The buildings are lost
    In their limitless rise
    My feet catch the pulse
    And the purposeful stride
    I feel the sense of possibilities
    I feel the wrench of hard realities
    The focus is sharp in the city

    II
    Wide-angle watcher
    On life's ancient tales
    Steeped in the history of London

    Green and grey washes
    In a wispy white veil
    Mist in the streets of Westminster
    Wistful and weathered
    The pride still prevails
    Alive in the streets of the city
    Are they oblivious
    To this quality?
    A quality of light
    Unique to every city's streets.

    Pavements may teem
    With intense energy
    But the city is calm
    In this violent sea


    Witch Hunt
    (Part III of Fear)

    Music: Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson / Lyrics: Neil Peart
    The night is black
    Without a moon
    The air is thick and still

    The vigilantes gather on
    The lonely torchlit hill
    Features distorted in the flickering light
    The faces are twisted and grotesque
    Silent and stern in the sweltering night
    The mob moves like demons possessed
    Quiet in conscience, calm in their right
    Confident their ways are best
    The righteous rise
    With burning eyes
    Of hatred and ill-will

    Madmen fed on fear and lies
    To beat, and burn, and kill
    They say there are strangers, who threaten us
    In our immigrants and infidels
    They say there is strangeness, too dangerous
    In our theatres and bookstore shelves
    That those who know what's best for us -
    Must rise and save us from ourselves
    Quick to judge,
    Quick to anger
    Slow to understand

    Ignorance and prejudice
    And fear
    Walk hand in hand


    Vital Signs
    Music: Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson / Lyrics: Neil Peart

    Unstable condition:
    A symptom of life,
    In mental,
    And environmental change

    Atmospheric disturbance -
    The feverish flux,
    Of human interface
    And interchange
    The impulse is pure -
    Sometimes our circuits get shorted,
    By external interference

    Signals get crossed -
    And the balance distorted
    By internal incoherence
    A tired mind become a shape-shifter
    Everybody need a mood lifter
    Everybody need reverse polarity

    Everybody got mixed feelings
    About the function and the form.
    Everybody got to deviate
    From the norm

    An ounce of perception -
    A pound of obscure
    Process information
    At half speed

    Pause:
    Rewind - replay -
    Warm memory chip
    Random-sample -
    Hold the one you need
    Leave out the fiction
    The fact is;
    This friction
    Will only be worn by persistence

    Leave out conditions
    Courageous convictions
    Will drag the dream into existence
    A tired mind become a shape-shifter
    Everybody need a soft filter
    Everybody need reverse polarity

    Everybody got mixed feelings
    About the function and the form
    Everybody got to elevate
    From the norm...