Archive for February, 2014

Great Rock Albums of 1981: Rush- Moving Pictures

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 4, 2014 by 80smetalman


Sorry but I’m going to have to relate yet another experience from my military days to this album. Mess duty in the service involves long hours in sweaty conditions in order to feed marines who really don’t want to eat the military slop and are first to complain if you do anything wrong. I was on one of the serving lines during those five weeks of mess duty in 1981 and was in a constant struggle between those who complained that we weren’t giving them enough food and superiors who complained we gave them too much. No wonder I wanted to smash my head against the wall at times. Then one evening meal, the mess sergeant had the local radio station playing in the mess hall when the song “Tom Sawyer” came on.  I was hooked on it straight away and every time I heard it, I would be uplifted by the fast guitar and the drums after the guitar solo. Now, it would be untrue for me to say that “Tom Sawyer” got me through mess duty, I would have made it through anyhow. However, it did give me a massive boost and made a crap duty a little bearable.

Naturally, I went and bought the album. I was already taken by the opener to “Moving Pictures” so that was a bit of a given there. My worry back then (and I would get burned on this two years later) was that if I bought an album on account of one song and the rest of the album sucked, then I would be a little miffed at wasting my money. Needless to say, that is definitely not the case with my all time favourite Rush album. “Red Barchetta,” a song about an restored antique car is also a cool song with some great guitar riffs and I’ve always considered the instrumental “YYZ” a great song to have on in the car while on a long trip. The music in that song just brightens the journey up throughout its duration. “Limelight” is another great one for me and I can understand why after listening to these first four songs, some people back then thought Rush was heavy metal. They should have listened more to the last three songs. Side two, (since I mainly bought cassettes back then, is more of a progressive rock sound. Still, all three of those songs, especially “Witch Hunt,” are all good listeners.

Some of my favourite Rush lyrics appear on this album. Most songs have something for me.

Tom Sawyer- His mind is not for rent to any God or government

Red Barchetta- lyrics about cruising in an old car with your old uncle definitely work here.

Limelight- All the world should be a stage and we are merely players, performers and portrayers

Vital Signs- Everybody’s got mixed feelings on the function and the form, everybody must deviate from the norm

Witch Hunt- The entire song made perfect sense to me a few years later when the likes of the PMRC emerged. Did they foresee their coming with this song?

Track Listing:

1. Tom Sawyer

2. Red Barchetta

3. YYZ

4. Limelight

5. The Camera Eye

6. Witch Hunt

7. Vital Signs



Geddy Lee- vocals, bass, bass pedals, synthesisers

Alex Lifeson- all guitars, moog Taurus

Neil Peart- drums, percussion, all bells

“Moving Pictures” highlights the problem I had with people’s mind set throughout the 80s. This is the tendency to put music into nice, neat little categories and because of tracks like “Tom Sawyer” and “Limelight” on this album, people believed that Rush was heavy metal. I believe it is that categorising that influenced them into a more synthed out sound later on. So, when you dust this album off to play it again, (I know some of you haven’t stop listening to it and I don’t blame you) do so without trying to categorise. Just enjoy it for the great album it is and appreciate what fine musicians the members of Rush are.

Next post: Rory Gallagher- Stage Struck

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