June 28, 2010

Catch the spirit, catch the spit

With Canada Day only three days away, it's time to turn the Summer of Nostalgia (as I always do, for at least one week) over to 100%, government-approved, Canadian Content.

This time, I thought, I would do something different. Who says "100%, government-approved, CanCon" better than - you guessed it - Rush? Seriously, these guys are so Canadian that they dropped a reference to Willowdale into a Tolkienesque fantasy epic, and were declared Canada's "ambassadors of music" in 1979. Rush couldn't be any more Canadian unless you painted them red and white, dipped them in maple syrup, then had Ricky, Julian, and Bubbles drag them behind their horses in the RCMP Musical Ride. (Come to think of it, Ricky tied Alex Lifeson up in duct tape and abducted him, so they're already part of the way there.) On top of that, they're just darn fine musicians and fun to listen to because they refuse to take themselves seriously. (Name another band who will balance the wall of amps on one side of the stage with random props, like coin-operated dryers or chicken rotisseries, on the other.)

And what better way to start a week of Rush than with their most identifiable song - Tom Sawyer? (Once again, embedding disabled. Sorry!)

The 1981 album Moving Pictures was a transitional album for Rush, marking a move away from album-side-length science-fiction or fantasy epics to shorter, more radio-friendly songs. The synthesizer also began to take a more prominent role - the first note you hear on Moving Pictures is "Tom Sawyer"'s distinctive snarl - and would dominate their music throughout the 80s.