Vinyl Rewrite- RUSH: Signals(1982)

When I received on Friday this text from Tbone’s brother Darr that Neil Peart had passed I was shocked as were millions of others.

I basically spent Friday night(and basically the weekend) surfing FaceBook and Twitter as hundreds of tributes poured into that fella Peart who revolutionized rock drumming.  Guys like Paul Stanley/Peter Criss/Mike Portnoy/Slash/Duff/Gene Simmons/Lars Ulrich/Julian Lennon and Taylor Hawkins who commented that Neil had the ‘Hands of God’ were brilliant and all from the heart.

Fellow Bloggers such as Mikey/HMO/80’s MetalMan/Destroyer of Harmony/Andrew/BOP/Jeff Jap/Bourbon and Vinyl wrote awesome posts about Peart’s passing.

I was going to as well but I thought I would also talk about the very first RUSH album I purchased which was Signals back in 1982.

Tbone in the summer of 1981 got Moving Pictures on vinyl and that was my intro to RUSH as they were HUGE that year as Tom Sawyer and Limelight were everywhere.

Xmas 1981 my parents gave me Moving Pictures along with Exit Stage Left which just blew my mind!

Once Signals hit the streets in  September 1982 we were all snapping it up pretty much the day it hit the streets. What a way to start Grade 10 that year. First week back to school and a new RUSH album to dig into.

Safe to say I blew out a few weeks of doing homework that September as I was studying the lyrics of Neil Peart as well as the riffage brought forth by Lee/Lifeson!

Signals was 80’s Rush. 8 tracks. 4 songs per side. Synthy driven as the opener Subdivisions proves. Analog Kid has to be in my Top 5 all-time Rush Tunes. I love how Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson lock horns with the bass and guitars and Neil just does the rest on the song.

Chemistry is awash in keys but what a fantastic tune. Neil drives the song forward. The wild thing about Chemistry is it’s one of the few Rush tunes that the lyrics were written by Neil/Geddy and Alex!

Countdown details the very first NASA Launch of the Space Shuttle. A total Prog Rock track and the way Neil writes the lyrics you think you were there with him..

Lit up with anticipation
We arrive at the launching site
The sky is still dark, nearing dawn
On the Florida coastline

Circling choppers slash the night
With roving searchlight beams
This magic day when super-science
Mingles with the bright stuff of dreams

Floodlit in the hazy distance
The star of this unearthly show
Venting vapors, like the breath
Of a sleeping white dragon

Crackling speakers voices tense
Resume the final count
All systems check, T-minus-nine
As the sun and the drama start to mount

The air is charged, a humid, motionless mass
The crowds and the cameras
The cars full of spectators pass
Excitement so thick, you could cut it with a knife
Technology high, on the leading edge of life

The earth beneath us starts to tremble
With the spreading of a low black cloud
A thunderous roar shakes the air
Like the whole world exploding

Scorching blast of golden fire
As it slowly leaves the ground
Tears away with a mighty force
The air is shattered by the awesome sound

Excitement so thick, you could cut it with a knife
Technology high, on the leading edge of life
Like a pillar of cloud, the smoke lingers
High in the air
In fascination with the eyes
of the world, we stare

Safe to say that Neil was my favorite teacher in Grade 10 whereas I could lye in my bed and drop the needle on this album and it would just take my mind away as there was always something going on within the parameters of a RUSH song. Whether it was the music or the lyrics.

So Brilliant!

People have gone on at times that Alex was at times buried under the keyboards in the 80s, Perhaps but what I always dug that come solo time the guitar would be upfront as they would just strip it all back to that three-piece band no one could touch em. Then, now or forever! Listen to Alex’s solo from Subdivisions for reference.

New World Man was a cool single that grazed just inside the Top 40 single charts which was impressive, to say the least. New Word Man is RUSH writing a little prog-rock ditty and just kicks into gear when it goes from the pre-chorus to the chorus.

Peart always pushed himself as a drummer. I mean listen to some of his drumming on Signals and I hear at times The Police’s Stewart Copeland (check out Digital Man at the end of SIde 1)who himself is no slouch on the skins. See Neil at that time could adapt some influences and incorporate it into his playing. He always pushed the envelope. Check out and crank up this live clip posted below!

Losing it is another tune with RUSH shifting gears almost into Prog Ballad (is there such a thing?). Losing It tells the tale of a dancer breaking down from wear and tear on her body. You could almost say that about Neil as a drummer as the man played like a beast for over 40 years and even his body began to break down not that anyone of use ever noticed as Neil wouldn’t allow it!

This album is my favorite studio album by RUSH( 2012’s Clockwork Angels is a very close second as is Counterparts). It’s still hard rock but with a different kind of vibe. Along with Iron Maiden at the time. The lyrics made me think. Which was a good thing doncha think?!

Rush at times on Signals kick out some serious jams just listen to the beginning of Digital Man. Geddy basically solos right out of the gate on that Rickybacher. So smooth as Neil and Alex follow his lead.

Classic Stuff! For me, 80’s RUSH was where I discovered the music created by Neil/Geddy and Alex so this period resonates with me. I’m not the only one that feels that way. Ask HMO and he will tell you the same thing!

As many of you know when I turned 50 a few years back I decided to dive headfirst back into acquiring VINYL!

For my 50th, myself and Tbone headed to Montreal and I was on the prowl for used Vinyl. We were in a huge used record store and Tbone went one way and I went another.

A few minutes later I hear ‘DEKE!” I looked over and Tbone was holding a copy of Signals.  I told him “do not put that back down in the bin!”

What a Score!

Cool to have come full circle as back in 1981 Tbone was the first one between us to own RUSH(Moving Pictures) and then 35 years later there’s Tbone holding a copy of another RUSH(Signals) album.

Time Stand Still

You have to hand it to Neils buddies Geddy and Alex who knew all along what was going on but kept Neils condition private through it all. Much RESPECT for those two fine Gents!

Chuck D (Public Enemy) put it best when he wrote a tribute to Neil and said “Rest In Beats”

Thank you, Neil, for the music and lyrics.

 

43 thoughts on “Vinyl Rewrite- RUSH: Signals(1982)”

  1. Great post, Deke. I can’t imagine finding my way to Rush when I was younger – all that alternative rockery was turning my head and me and my pals were out picking up CDs by Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Melvins, and the likes. I’d be a good bit older before I would find Rush and actually spend time listening to them (thanks to you Canadialanders)… and I’ve still got loads to listen to. As I mentioned at HMO’s place, I’m only family with the three albums at this stage (Permanent Waves, Moving Pictures, and this) which I like.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well J thats a pretty cool 3 pack of RUSH that you own. A great starter pack that’s for sure. I jsut took a quick look see at the iTunes charts and there’s 4 Rush albums in the TOP 15. I’m sure the streaming sites are taking a boost as well. I know what you mean by so much music being out at certian times especailly when you first discover it. The late 70’s and especailly the early 80s had a huge impact on me as a listener.
      Thanks for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, I dare say Spotify and the likes have been hit up the last few days. I’ll likely hit them up myself to hear some of the stuff I don’t know.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Cool writeup. I had those first two Mamas Boys albums. Pretty decent rock act. Straight Forward No Looking Back was a great song. It’s amazing after reading that how much of an impact those few shows had on the McManus brothers.
      Thanks for sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thats for sure. I mean the opening line of AfterImage says it all and even the closing line in Losing It as well.
        It was cool they brought that track back on the 2015 tour.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yeah they used that Count Floyd video live in concert.
      I recall reading a review of the Signals tour in Kerrang when RUSH played there on that tour. The reviewer said the audience in England had no idea what was going on when Count Floyd was doing the intro to The Weapon.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. A long time ago there was a website that had EVERY Rush B-side and there were quite a few. I downloaded the Count Floyd version but will eventually pay through the teeth for an actual 45.

        Yeah it’s very Canadian, only we get that stuff.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Well before I knew who Rush was, I knew who Count Floyd was! So that was always something that caught my eye. The fact that Rush and I love the same comedy makes it more highbrow in my eyes!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I was completely unaware of that song, but I sure did hear the 12 days of Christmas a lot. On the radio every year right from us as kids. My mom was actually into Geddy before I was! It was Tears Are Not ENough. She LOVED when Geddy sings, “OH YOU KNOW THAT WE’LL BE THERE!”

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Tbone got that Bob and Doug album that year as well (81 or 82) man we lsitened to it over and over. They still 12 Days of Christmas on local crap radio at Xmas.
        I always crank it up haha

        Like

  2. Nice job Deke!! What can I say that hasn’t already been said? We were lucky enough to live in the time of this drumming genius, who was also an incredibly gifted lyricist. Musicians that haven’t even been born yet are gonna look back and study him for generations. We were all blessed to be here as it happened.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Brother.
      Great call on us being here in this lifetime of Neils gift of drums and lyrics. Man, I can’t even begin to think about how the whole RUSH camp is coping with this.
      But they must be blown away by the support/words and posts by every walk of life.
      Thanks for stopping in.

      Like

  3. Awesome post Deke. I love all eras of Rush but the early 80’s stuff was when I started listening.
    I would bike half way across town because my buddy had pay-per-view and we could watch Much Music.
    These songs were on tv and radio every day. Good times.
    Cheers dude. I will be doing some more Rush posts over the next bit.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Nice write-up, Derek, and thanks for the shout-out. Not an album I own, but one I am familiar with. One of my daughter’s is a Rush fan and she sings Subdivisions just like Geddy. I now have that connection wired in my brain. Rock on, bro!

    Liked by 1 person

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