The single charted at #4 on the U.S. Mainstream Rock Charts and #55 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, and remains one of Rush's most popular songs. "Limelight" was one of five Rush songs inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame on March 28, 2010.
Geddy Lee describes the motivation for "Limelight" in a 1988 interview:
Limelight was probably more of Neil's song than a lot of the songs on that album in the sense that his feelings about being in the limelight and his difficulty with coming to grips with fame and autograph seekers and a sudden lack of privacy and sudden demands on his time ... he was having a very difficult time dealing with.
I mean we all were, but I think he was having the most difficulty of the three of us adjusting; in the sense that I think he's more sensitive to more things than Alex and I are, it's difficult for him to deal with those interruptions on his personal space and his desire to be alone. Being very much a person who needs that solitude, to have someone coming up to you constantly and asking for your autograph is a major interruption in your own little world.
I guess in the one sense that we're a little bit like misfits in the fact that we've chosen this profession that has all this extreme hype and this sort of self-hyping world that we've chosen to live in, and we don't feel comfortable really in that kind of role.
In a 2007 interview, Alex Lifeson gives his take on "Limelight":
It's funny: after all these years, the solo to "Limelight" is my favorite to play live. There's something very sad and lonely about it; it exists in its own little world. And I think, in its own way, it reflects the nature of the song's lyrics - feeling isolated amidst chaos and adulation.