Friday, February 12, 2016

Rush - Moving Pictures

Today (February 12th) marks the thirty-fifth anniversary of Moving Pictures, the eighth studio album from the Canadian rock group Rush. This multi-Platinum selling 1981 release went to number 34 in Norway, number 32 in Sweden, number 19 in the Netherlands, number 3 in the UK and number 1 in Canada. Here in the US, it spent sixty-eight weeks on the Billboard Album chart with a top spot of number 3 for three of those weeks.

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.

1 comment:

HERC said...

Rush is most definitely a geek-approved band so it makes sense you'd like them ;)

Listening to WLS back in Illinois in 1980, Rush's "The Spirit Of The Radio" was a huge favorite and my first experience hearing Geddy and the boys. Then, about a year later, just as my freshman year ended, "Tom Sawyer" hit the airwaves and got even more airplay than the prior song. As I've never really suffered from the "hearing a song too much makes me hate it" affliction that has stricken all of my friends, I was in nirvana. And then we moved and I lost WLS and went from being a Top 40 fan with rock tendencies to a rock fan with Top 40 tendencies.

Didn't buy my first Rush album until 1982's Signals (#93 on My 100 Favorite Albums of 1982) but I quickly back-filled their discogarphy while buying subsequent releases once I began my ten year career in the fast food industry and obtained a steady income.

Never saw the trio in concert and not sure I would have wanted to (my friends who attended always loved the shows; their only complaint being the very noticeable lack of female concert-goers which was half the reason I attended shows as a teen) but I love the many live albums from throughout their career and especially enjoyed their performance when they were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.

Can recall with some degree of clarity the first Rush CD I bought - it was the double disc Chronicles and I bought it on Tuesday, September 4, 1990, at the Wherehouse on my way home from work. It is clear because we had celebrated my wife's 25th birthday that weekend and I'll be damned if some sort of magic didn't take place that weekend cause she still looks 25 today! I beat my pregnant wife (that sounded wrong but you know what I mean) and our three year old daughter home for once that day so I cranked up the stereo for a good half hour before they finally showed up. Later that night I worked my way through the rest of the first disc and all of the second disc with headphones after both ladies were happily dreaming.

Gonna close this one out by mentioning a Hideaway Favorite celebrating its 25th Anniversary in 2016: Z-Trip's radical remix of "Tom Sawyer" as heard on the soundtrack album to Toy Soldiers from 1991.

Thanks for today's post, Martin.