Friday, February 12, 2016
Rush - Moving Pictures
Side one starts with "Tom Sawyer". Released as the second single, it went to number 44 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 25 in the UK, number 24 in Canada, and number 8 on the US Billboard Mainstream Rock chart. I have always loved the combination of keyboards, drums and guitar on this one. It really was a perfect fit with my arcade-playing teenaged self from the early 80's.
The lyrics of "Red Barchetta" were inspired by a futuristic short story A Nice Morning Drive by Richard S. Foster, first published in the November 1973 issue of Road and Track magazine. It tells of a future where many vehicles prohibited by "the Motor Law". The narrator sneaks out on weekends in the country to drive such an illegal vehicle.
The up-tempo instrumental "YYZ", the B-side to the first single, was nominated for a Grammy award (it lost the award to the Police's "Behind My Camel" from Zenyatta Mondatta. The title of this track comes from the IATA Airport Code for the Toronto Pearson International Airport.
The first single was "Limelight", which went to number 55 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 18 in Canada and number 4 on the US Billboard Mainstream Rock chart. The lyrics tell of dissatisfaction with fame and the intrusion of others onto a performer's personal life. The title of the next track is teased in the lyrics here along with a line from William Shakespeare's play As You Like It.
Side two begins with a two part suite called "The Camera Eye". It consists of two movements: "New York" and "London", and together the entire piece runs a total of eleven minutes. The opening sounds like something out of the movie Blade Runner, the 1982 film adaptation of Philip K. Dick's 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (which I first read during my high school years).
The dark and moody "Witch Hunt" has the subtitle of "Part III of 'Fear'". The other three parts of this theme include "The Weapon" from 1982's Signals, "The Enemy Within" from 1984's Grace Under Pressure and "Freeze" from 2002's Vapor Trails. I find it interesting that they were in fact released out of sequential order with "Witch Hunt" being the first. Hugh Syme, the artist behind most of the band's album covers, plays keyboard on this one.
The closing track "Vital Signs" was released as the third single; it charted at number 41 in the UK. The synth and guitar interplay creates a strong sense of urgency in the piece.
Living so close to the Canadian border, I heard quite a bit off of Moving Pictures from the local album-oriented rock station out of Buffalo; side one made for a big rock block. My older brother owned a copy of it on vinyl as did my best friend from high school John. John used to play this album a lot when we were hanging out at his house, playing computer games on his Commodore-64 or reading comic books.
For more from Rush, click here.