Countdown (Rush song)
|Single by Rush|
|from the album
|B-side||"New World Man", "The Spirit of Radio" (live)|
|Writer(s)||Alex Lifeson, Geddy Lee, Neil Peart|
|Producer||Rush & Terry Brown|
|Rush singles chronology|
Countdown is a Rush song that describes the launch of STS-1 and the Space Shuttle Columbia  as the group watched from a VIP area called Red Sector A at the time. The song incorporates audio from voice communications between astronauts John W. Young and Robert Crippen and ground control along with commentary from the Kennedy Space Center Public Affairs Officer leading up to the launch.
The song incorporates foreboding serious tone with driving rhythm along with heavy amount of synthesizer, with Lee playing only a minimal amount of bass guitar. Lyrics paint a vivid account of their experiences witnessing the launch. It closes the album Signals, and its cautionary tales of man's reliance on technology, on a more positive, celebratory note.
The song was used as a wakeup song for astronauts during STS-109, which was the last successful flight of Space Shuttle Columbia. It was used again for astronaut Mike Fincke during STS-134, flown by Space Shuttle Endeavour on its final mission before retirement. Fincke described how his friends Greg Shurtz and NASA employee Ken Fisher chose the song because the band was inspired to write it after viewing the launch of STS-1. Fincke went on to say the song was played as a tribute to the space shuttle program, which has inspired people around the world.
This song, as printed in the liner notes of the Signals album, is dedicated to "the astronauts Young & Crippen and all the people of NASA for their inspiration and cooperation."
The song itself ends very abruptly around 5:49, but a reprise of "The Analog Kid" from earlier on the album is included as a hidden track, extending it to 6:49. Some vinyl pressings of the album, as well as most pre-recorded tape editions, should have ended without this reprise. Original North American pressings of Signals contain the reprise by comprising and reflecting its inclusion.
- Price, Carol Selby (1999). Mystic Rhythms: The Philosophical Vision of Rush. Wildside Press LLC. pp. 131–132. ISBN 1-58715-102-2.
- Popoff, Martin. Contents Under Pressure: 30 Years of Rush at Home and Away. ECW Press. p. 102. ISBN 978-1-55022-678-2.
- Roberto, Leonard (2000). A Simple Kind Mirror: The Lyrical Vision of Rush. iUniverse. ISBN 978-0-595-21362-7.
- "STS-109 Wake-up Calls". NASA. Retrieved 8 July 2011.
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