Thursday, July 12, 2007

FBO: 'Inducts Rush to FBO Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame'

Is there really any doubt that Canada's RUSH should be in the actual Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame? They're consistently among the top-drawing concert acts, and still churning out the digital stubs in their fourth decade (they recorded a triple CD set in RIO recently, and about, oh, a million people came out for it -- possibly the greatest thing in recent history: Brazilians listening to Geddy Lee screach 'I will choose free will!').

Known for overworked time signatures, overly thought out lyrics and themes, and album covers with kids and a naked-buttocked man, RUSH deserves the hall for making reasonably unique music -- occasionally inspired, never not sounding as something fashionably unlike their reasonably unique music, allowing scientific nerds a soundtrack, and delighting Canadians for decades.

According to Wikipedia:
Rush boasts 23 gold records and 14 platinum (3 multi-platinum) records, making them one of the best-selling rock bands in history. These statistics place Rush fifth behind The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, KISS and Aerosmith for the most consecutive gold and platinum albums by a rock band.
How can a band without a pop hit -- OK, 'New World Man' made #38 for a week in 1982 -- and those numbers not have some credibility? Particularly with Jackson Browne and Bob Seger in the Hall?

RUSH's Five Best Songs
1981's 'Tom Sawyer' is generally their best-known song but their best five songs are:

1) "Spirit of the Radio" (1980). There is no doubt this is number one, with the absurd burst of Van Halen lift-offs in the opening lick, and the reggae break, and Geddy generally not screaming too much. It's energetic and compact. People who don't like Rush tend to like this.
2) "The Body Electric" (1984). Alex Lifeson got a hipster haircut for this very under-appreciated album with nods to acid rain (before REM did it), a fake U2 solo or two, and a ska break-down. This underrated song's ending -- where Geddy sings 'the mother all machines!' the second time -- is a spine chiller, and the whole build-up part sounds a little like Pete Townshend's 'Rough Boys,' which is of course good ground to borrow from.
3) "Subdivisions" (1982). This mall-culture, teenage-wasteland single shocked us Rush fans back in '82. Not so much for the synths, but that someone other than Geddy got vocal duties. Alex Lifeson leaned to the mic in the video to speak 'subdivisions...' but -- the FBO hears -- it was actually Neil Peart doing the honors. **Note: Relistening to the song after the post, the FBO Admin regrets placing this so high. Consider 'Limelight' from '81 as an obvious replacement. --FBO Admin, 7/16**
4) "Cygnus X-1 (Part II)" (1978). Recently, in a California bar, FBO Admin heard the opening notes of the full vinyl-side song -- records were so good for that: 'cool, there's only one track on the whole SIDE!' -- and saw a bearded bartender air-drumming the Peart fills. The overlooked Hemispheres album inspires such. Imagine starting a five-song album with a 18-MINUTE SEQUEL to an already sprawling song ABOUT A BLACK HOLE. I wouldn't think there was that much to say about one -- it's weird, sprawling, consuming; avoid at all costs -- but Peart knew better.
5) "Fly By Night"(1975). Rush with a little three-minute song. If you play the D/D-suspended notes with a little swing (impossible with Peart on drums) it can almost pass as alternative rock.

Hall, put them in now (or apologize for Lawyers in Love).

FBO Admin
Mobile HQ -- Hue, Vietnam


Hiser said...

Amen, er whatever.
Why the frick are they not in???
Frikin C'mon!

I'd say that Vital Signs should be added to best Rush songs as well.
Witch Hunt.

The Tender Few said...

La Villa Strangiato I always liked. closer to the heart was avery unrush because of it's tenderness- very melodic, too.limelight always rang true.

Worst Rush video? Possibly Body Electric. I don't think they ever officially released it until much later. Check it out on youtube.

tom caw said...


I would not have predicted The Body Electric making the list. I also would have expected The Tender Few to cast a vote for Kid Gloves as favorite Grace Under Pressure track, and to have lobbied hard for The Analog Kid to make the list.

I read a review in The Hartford Courant the other day of their recent show at the Mohegan Sun Casino, and when I read that they played Witch Hunt I wished I would have been there.

Steve said...

First of all, I can't recall a single GOOD video by Rush. Heh, Subdivisions looks and sounds like it was copied and recopied so many times, some of it is almost intelligible. But, I suppose, that may help the song.

Personally, I agree with Al about Vital Signs. One of the first Geddy bass lines I learned, and just a cool song anyway. But I like their rockin stuff more than the techno stuff. 2112, any part of it, is brilliant.

As long as we're talking about these prog rockers, where's Yes on the inductee list? King Crimson? ELP? All those bands are incredibly influential, and have some HUGE songs and albums besides.

And what about Supertramp? Cheap Trick? ELO?

And they went so far as to induct Johnny Cash, but what of Waylon Jennings or Merle Haggard? Or Willie Nelson? He wrote "Crazy" and a slew of other chart toppers, and is an icon in his own right, and was instrumental in changing country music from its old school buttoned-down Grand Ol' Opry image to the "outlaw" direction that so many current wannabes try to emulate today.

And listen, if you're going to start inducting such non-rock acts as Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five (which I actually think is a viable inductee), then I expect to see DEVO in at some point. And the Cars.

But alas, they can only induct a select few every year, lest the honor becomes watered-down and meaningless. So we wait for our favorites to get in.

(did you know Deep Purple isn't in? criminal)

ReidOnTravel said...

I actually think 'Analog Kid's overworked chorus -- and the deflating come-down -- hurts the song, despite the 'fast lick' that starts it. Other songs that I think time has hurt, as far as my liking to them, include 'Red Barchetta,' 'Free Will' (horrible!), stuff like 'Countdown,' and those Caress of Steel things. I'll admit I haven't heard 'Vital Signs' in about eight years. I don't have Moving Pictures anymore -- always prefered the albums that surrounded it.

Burro Hall said...

For reminding me of the existence of "Vital Signs" - seriously, it just like dropped out of my brain about 15 years ago, never to return - I induct FBO into my own personal Hall of Fame.