My introduction to progressive rock came in the form of a blasted boom-box from the backseat of my car in the summer of 1981. I was working as a trap set at the local gun club and had gone around early to pick up a few of my buddies who were also working this job weekends that summer.
One of them had a battery powered stereo with a cassette of the new Rush album, Moving Pictures playing:
As my ears tended toward hard rock and pop of the day, the addition of synthesizers to a rock track was not unheard of, but the complexity of the songs on this record was totally new to me. This was the genesis of my digging around into earlier progressive or prog rock bands… but, so far, none have taken seed.
My copy of Moving Pictures was a nearly unplayable relic from the local record store, visited dirty, sweaty, cash paid and exhausted from my work that day. I went straight to that store, the Morse code of YYZ playing in my head; DA da DA DA DA da DA DA DA DA da da
Today I welcomed a new, scratchless and clean copy of Moving Pictures into The Collection. Side A of this record contains three of the bands biggest hits, Tom Sawyer, Red Barchetta and Limelight… but it was the side B tracks, familiar but overlooked, that are ringing in my head now.
Having the word out that I am collecting records has paid off again! I was working late a few days back and got a note from my wife that there was a surprise in the back of her car waiting for when I got home.
When I pulled into the driveway and popped open her car here’s what I found waiting:
Not the original Moon Records release, but a really clean copy of the 1983 re-issue! Fantastic!
Rush has released two of my all time favorite records that I had on cassette back in high school, Moving Pictures and 2112… I have them both on CD now, and I have a really rough copy of Moving Pictures on vinyl to boot.
There were some friends who were way more into Rush than I ever was, so I heard most of their 70s and 80s stuff… but I had never heard their debut album before. Of course, if you ever listened to classic rock radio, you’ve heard many of these… Finding My Way and In The Mood for sure… but the fantastic, fist pumping, air guitar inducing stadium rock anthem is Working Man:
Listening to this record for the first time it does seem to lack a little Rush-y-ness… perhaps due to the absence of Neil Peart? Regardless, it sounds great and I’m happy to add it to the collection.
Of the first 10 Rush records, I have 6… well on my way!
I first heard Rush on a high school lunch break in the spring of 1981. Massive powered, subwoofered, digital driven car stereos were science fiction in that era. The best you could hope for were a pair of 6×9 Jensen Triaxials on the rear deck of your high school hot rod.
Someone figured out that, if you could sneak your older brother’s tower stereo speakers out of his room, you could hook these up in place of your Jensen’s and rock the school parking lot until your battery went dead.
This gave the smokers, the stoners, the jocks and the honor students something in common… the love of rock & roll and hacky sack!
We listened to Rush and played hacky sack every afternoon in 1981. A better physical education program could not have been invented. I believe that if our P.E. class would have consisted of whatever bogus “sport” out P.E. teacher cooked up out of thin air had been accompanied by a soundtrack of Rush, my class would have produced gold medalists in that sport for the U.S.A.!
Maybe that is the explanation for the X Games?
Anyway, my vinyl Rush collection consists of one severely beat up, original, copy of Moving Pictures. A recent trip to the local record store Groove Merchants netted the three LP Archives collection. This includes their first album Rush, their second Fly By Night and their third Caress Of Steel.
Having the day off meant I could finally devote the time to actually listen to the thing. All I can say is these records transport me back to those simple spring afternoons when my only worry was kicking a little leather pouch of plastic beads again, and again… and getting the brothers speakers back in his room without getting caught!