Limelight (song)

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For the song by Kepi and Kat, see Limelight (Kepi and Kat song). For The Alan Parsons Project song, see Stereotomy.
Single by Rush
from the album Moving Pictures
B-side "YYZ"
Released February 28, 1981
Format 7"
Recorded October – November 1980 at Le Studio, Morin Heights, Quebec
Genre Progressive rock
Length 4:26
Label Mercury Records
Writer(s) Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and Neil Peart
Producer(s) Rush and Terry Brown
Rush singles chronology
"Tom Sawyer"
"Vital Signs"
Moving Pictures track listing
"The Camera Eye"
Audio sample
file info · help

"Limelight" is a song by the Canadian progressive rock band Rush. It first appeared on the 1981 album Moving Pictures. The song's lyrics were written by Neil Peart with music written by Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson. "Limelight" expresses Peart's discomfort with Rush's success and the resulting attention from the public. The song paraphrases the opening lines of the "All the world's a stage" speech from William Shakespeare's play As You Like It; the band had previously used the title for its 1976 live album.

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.[1]


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.[2]

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.[3]

Appearances in popular culture[edit]

  • The song was featured somewhat extensively in the 2009 movie I Love You, Man. The same film also featured "Tom Sawyer", the hit single from the same album.
  • The song was also featured in the film Fanboys, which also featured "Tom Sawyer".
  • The song was referenced in the 2009 movie Adventureland.
  • The song is available as a downloadable track for the music video game series Rock Band, along with the rest of the Moving Pictures album.
  • In an episode of Trailer Park Boys, Bubbles gives Mr. Lahey the finger to the opening riff of "Limelight" while driving by in a car.
  • Gregg Zaun, a former Major League Baseball catcher, used this song as his walk-up song.
  • The song was used in the movie Sonny featuring James Franco and directed by Nicolas Cage.
"Limelight" music video

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Infantry, Ashante (2010-01-20). "(News) New home a place to sing praises of our songwriters". The Toronto Star. Retrieved 2010-06-16. 
  2. ^ "Moving Pictures". In the Studio with Redbeard. 1988.
  3. ^ Joe Bosso (July 2007). "Vital Signs". Guitar World.