Hemispheres (Rush album)

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Studio album by Rush
Released 29 October 1978
6 May 1997 (remastered CD)
Recorded June–August 1978 at Rockfield Studios in South Wales, UK
Genre Progressive rock, hard rock
Length 36:14
Label Anthem (Canada)
Atlantic (Japan)
Epic/Sony (Japan)
Producer Rush and Terry Brown
Rush chronology
A Farewell to Kings
Permanent Waves
Singles from Hemispheres
  1. "The Trees"
    Released: 1978
  2. "Circumstances"
    Released: 1979

Hemispheres is the sixth studio album by Canadian rock band Rush, released in 1978. The album was recorded at Rockfield Studios in Wales and mixed at Trident Studios in London.[1] It was the last of two albums they would record in the United Kingdom before returning to their homes in Canada.


Following themes going back to Rush's second album, Fly by Night, on Hemispheres lyricist Neil Peart continues to heavily use fantasy and science fiction motifs. Similar to their 1976 release, 2112, Hemispheres contains a single, epic song broken into chapters as the first side of the album ("Cygnus X-1, Book II: Hemispheres") while the second half contains two more conventionally executed tracks, "Circumstances" and "The Trees."

The album's final track, the ambitious nine-and-a-half-minute "La Villa Strangiato," was the band's first instrumental release. According to Peart the band spent more time recording "La Villa Strangiato" than they did recording the entire Fly by Night album.[2][3]

The album contains examples of Rush's adherence to progressive rock standards including the use of epic, multi-movement song structures, complex rhythms and time signatures, and flexible guitar solos, like those found in "La Villa Strangiato." In the 2010 documentary film Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage, the band members comment that the stress of recording Hemispheres was a major factor in their decision to start moving away from suites and long-form pieces in their songwriting. That change in philosophy would manifest itself in the band's next album, the considerably more accessible Permanent Waves. The band's seventh album would mark their commercial success, paving the way for the multi-platinum Moving Pictures.

For a short period of time, the album was available in Canada also as a red vinyl LP in a gatefold sleeve with poster (catalogue number SANR-1-1015), and as a limited edition picture disc (catalogue number SRP-1300), both of which have become much sought-after collector's items.

Chart performance[edit]

Although Hemispheres received good reviews and became Rush's fourth consecutive gold album in the United States, it proved to be a weaker seller than many of the group's other albums. It peaked at No. 47 on the Billboard 200, becoming the last Rush studio album to fail to make the Billboard Top 10 until 1987's Hold Your Fire.[4]

Hemispheres would not reach U.S. platinum status until December 1993, over 15 years after its initial release.[5]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[6]
Rolling Stone (favorable)[7]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 3/5 stars[8]

In a reader's poll held by Rolling Stone, titled "Readers' Poll: Your Favorite Prog Rock Albums of All Time", this album ranked #8.[9]

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics written by Neil Peart; all music written by Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson, except "La Villa Strangiato" written by Lee, Lifeson and Peart.[10] The segments titled "Monsters!" and "Monsters! (Reprise)" in "La Villa Strangiato" are adapted from a composition entitled "Powerhouse" by Raymond Scott. [11]

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Cygnus X-1 Book II: Hemispheres"
  • I. Prelude - 0:00
  • II. Apollo (Bringer of Wisdom) – 4:29
  • III. Dionysus (Bringer of Love) – 6:59
  • IV. Armageddon (The Battle of Heart and Mind) – 9:05
  • V. Cygnus (Bringer of Balance) - 12:01
  • VI. The Sphere (A Kind of Dream) – 17:02"  
  • 4:29
  • 2:30
  • 2:06
  • 2:56
  • 5:01
  • 1:06
Side two
No. Title Length
2. "Circumstances"   3:42
3. "The Trees"   4:46
4. "La Villa Strangiato (An Exercise in Self-Indulgence)"
  • I. Buenos Nochas, Mein Froinds! - 0:00
  • II. To Sleep, perchance to dream... - 0:27
  • III. Strangiato theme - 1:59
  • IV. A Lerxst in Wonderland - 3:15
  • V. Monsters! - 5:49
  • VI. The Ghost of the Aragon - 6:09
  • VII. Danforth and Pape - 6:45
  • VIII. The Waltz of the Shreves - 7:26
  • IX. Never turn your back on a Monster! - 7:52
  • X. Monsters! (Reprise) - 8:02
  • XI. Strangiato theme (Reprise) - 8:17
  • XII. A Farewell to Things - 9:20"  
  • 0:27
  • 1:32
  • 1:16
  • 2:34
  • 0:20
  • 0:36
  • 0:41
  • 0:26
  • 0:10
  • 0:15
  • 1:03
  • 0:15



  • Arranged and Produced by Rush and Terry Brown
  • Music recorded at Rockfield Studios (Wales), June–July 1978 by Pat Moran
  • Vocals recorded at Advision Studios, London, by Declan O' Doherty
  • Mixed at Trident Studios in Soho by Terry Brown; assisted by John Brand
  • Original album Mastered by Ray Staff
  • Remastered By Bob Ludwig
    • Hugh Syme - art direction and graphics
    • Bob King - art direction
    • Yosh Inouye - cover photography
    • Fin Costello - band and poster photograph


Album - Billboard (North America)[12]

Year Chart Position
1978 Billboard Top LPs & Tape 47


"The Trees"
  • Released:1978
  • Written by: Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson & Neil Peart
  • Produced by: Rush and Terry Brown
  • Chart positions:
  • Released:1978
  • Written by: Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson & Neil Peart
  • Produced by: Rush and Terry Brown
  • Chart positions:

Remaster details[edit]

A remaster was issued in 1997.

  • The tray has a picture of the star with man painting (mirroring the cover art of Retrospective I) with "The Rush Remasters" printed in all capital letters just to the left. All remasters from Rush through Permanent Waves are like this.
  • The remastered CD has all of the original album cover art, including the back cover and poster of the band which was missing on the original CD issue. When the poster is folded closed, the outside shows "Rush Hemispheres" text printed in red and yellow on a black background. Most copies have this insert placed behind the front cover in the CD case, but apparently some copies have this insert toward the front.

Hemispheres was remastered again in 2011 by Andy VanDette for the "Sector" box sets, which re-released all of Rush's Mercury-era albums. Hemispheres is included in the Sector 2 set.[13]