A Passage to Bangkok

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
"A Passage to Bangkok"
Single by Rush
from the album 2112
B-side "Free Will" (live)
Released 1976
Format 12" promo
Genre Hard rock, progressive rock
Length 3:34
Writer(s) Neil Peart, Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson
Producer(s) Rush and Terry Brown
Rush singles chronology
"2112 Overture/The Temples of Syrinx"
(1976)
"A Passage to Bangkok"
(1976)
"Fly by Night" (Live)
(1977)
2112 track listing
"2112"
(Track 1)
"A Passage to Bangkok"
(Track 2)
"The Twilight Zone"
(Track 3)
Exit...Stage Left track listing
"YYZ"
(3)
"A Passage to Bangkok"
(4)
"Closer to the Heart
(5)

A Passage to Bangkok is the second song on Rush's album, 2112. Released in 1976, the song follows the album's title song 2112. With the album's title track comprising the first half of the record, "A Passage To Bangkok" opens the second side of the album (on the original LP and audio cassette).

Subject content[edit]

The song's lyrics, written by drummer Neil Peart, may be interpreted as describing drug tourism (specifically marijuana).[1] The lyrics employ innuendo, eschewing naming any actual drugs. The song describes visiting Colombia, Mexico, Jamaica, Morocco, Thailand, Afghanistan, "golden Acapulco nights"[2] (a possible reference to Acapulco gold), Nepal, and Lebanon. Mention is made of "smoke rings", "pipe dreams", various fragrances, and welcoming natives who "pass along" their (unspecified) crops, all from the above locales.

In the documentary Classic Albums Presents The Making of 2112 & Moving Pictures (2010), Peart states the intent was to be "light in tone and write some funny songs" when discussing "A Passage To Bangkok". The documentary features music critics, fellow rock musicians (Taylor Hawkins), Rush producer Terry Brown, and Peart explaining and demonstrating the subtleties in the song that make it a tongue-in-cheek reference to drug use in the 1970s.[3]

Performance and instrumentation[edit]

In earlier performances of the song (such as the version recorded on Exit...Stage Left), Geddy Lee would use a doubleneck Rickenbacker bass guitar, so that he could play rhythm guitar during Alex Lifeson's guitar solo.

When the song was revived for the 2007-2008 Snakes And Arrows Tour, Lee used his otherwise-retired Rickenbacker 4001 bass to play the song.[4]

Cultural references[edit]

The introduction and finale of the song both incorporate a variation of the Oriental riff. When the song was played on the 2007-2008 Snakes And Arrows Tour, the concert's rear screen featured stock footage of the locations mentioned in the lyrics, interspersed with clips from Reefer Madness.

Performances by other musicians[edit]

Tool frequently uses the main riff of "A Passage to Bangkok" as the intro for their own song "Cold and Ugly" (and "Jambi" at several shows on their 2006-2007 tour) when they play it live.

An orchestrated version of "A Passage to Bangkok" appears on Exit...Stage Right, a string quartet tribute album that features 12 Rush songs converted into classical pieces.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Steve, Elliott (26 June 2011). The Little Black Book of Marijuana: The Essential Guide to the World of Cannabis. Peter Pauper Press, Inc. p. 146. ISBN 978-1-4413-0726-2. 
  2. ^ Barrett, Grant (23 May 2006). The Official Dictionary of Unofficial English. McGraw Hill Professional. p. 173. ISBN 978-0-07-149163-1. 
  3. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nxl-mIAtH0#t=12m35s
  4. ^ A Passage To Bangkok - Live in 2007 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j5FrHuRcqoA