Time Stand Still (song)

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"Time Stand Still"
Single by Rush featuring Aimee Mann
from the album Hold Your Fire
B-side "High Water" (USA)
"Force Ten" (UK)
Released October 19, 1987
Genre Pop rock, synthrock, progressive rock
Length 5:07
Label Anthem (Canada)
Mercury (USA)
Writer(s) Neil Peart (lyrics)
Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson (music)
Producer(s) Peter Collins and Rush
Rush chronology
"Time Stand Still"
"Prime Mover"

Time Stand Still is a single by the progressive band Rush that was featured on their 1987 album Hold Your Fire.[1] A music video for the song was directed by Zbigniew Rybczyński. Released as a single in 1987 credited to "Rush (featuring Aimee Mann)", "Time Stand Still" peaked at No. 3 on the U.S. mainstream rock charts. It was also a minor hit single in the United Kingdom, peaking at No. 42 on the Singles Chart. The song got positive reviews from critics and remains a fan favorite to this day.

Development and composition[edit]

"Time Stand Still" was the first track Peart wrote for Hold Your Fire.[2] According to Peart, he wrote the lyrics of "Time Stand Still" based on his time with Rush. According to Peart:

"All through the '70s our lives were flying by; we spent so much time on the road that it became like a dark tunnel. You start to think about the people you're neglecting, friends and family. So the song is about stopping to enjoy that; with a warning against too much looking back. Instead of getting nostalgic about the past, it's more a plea for the present."[3]

"Time Stand Still" is a progressive rock song played in a E major key at a moderately fast rock tempo. The song starts at a time signature of 7
, before going in a common time by the first verse.[4] Til Tuesday member Aimee Mann briefly sings in each chorus of the song, marking Rush's first collaboration with another singer.[5] Alex Lifeson said that the band thought a female singer "would suit the song." Initially, they hoped for Cyndi Lauper to fulfill their intentions of including additional female vocals, later approaching Chrissie Hynde because, according to Lifeson, "we thought she'd be perfect. But Chrissie was unavailable at the time..." Rush later called Mann to be featured,[6] and paid her $2,000 to sing in the song.[7] Lifeson said that "her voice blends with Geddy [Lee]'s perfectly and I think it creates the right atmosphere for the song. It's just something new for Rush..."[6]

Critical reception[edit]

In 2013, Popmatters writer Adrian Begrand listed "Time Stand Still" #8 on his "10 Songs That Will Make You Love Rush," calling it "Rush’s best pop moment."[8]

Music video[edit]

Zbigniew Rybczyński directed the video.

The song's music video was directed by Zbigniew Rybczyński. According to the editor of the video, Glen Lazarro:

"Zibig had shot footage of country landscapes for Rush. The idea was to shoot short pieces of Rush performing the song against green screen, then composite them together. When we started working, Zbig decided he loved the stage and wanted to composite Rush over that instead. I suggested that we shoot them live in the stage, but Zbig wanted everyone to “float” around it. He also insisted that everything had to happen “live.” Each new layer would be placed on top of the preceding layer without making protection copies or “laying off” a copy, as we used to say. The green screen footage was shot with the same giant studio camera Aimee Mann is using in the video. Zbig would give some vague direction to Rush; I would set up the effects, play the audio track and press record, causing multiple one-inch tape machines to roll up on the third floor."[9]

Live performances[edit]

The song was later included on the band's 1989 live album A Show of Hands. Aimee Mann was also featured in the video.[10] "Time Stand Still" was a staple in Rush's live show after its release, being performed on the Hold Your Fire, Presto, Roll the Bones and Counterparts tour before being retired. The band brought the song out of retirement recently, and played it during each show on Rush's 2010–11 Time Machine Tour.

Cover versions[edit]

The song has been covered by Canadian female singer, Nelly Furtado, in October 2010 as part of the soundtrack of the film "Score: A Hockey Musical".

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1987) Peak
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[11] 42
US Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks (Billboard)[12] 3
Canadian Chart (RPM)[13] 52

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Rush Gets In The Way Of Its Music". Los Angeles Daily News. February 6, 1988. Retrieved February 27, 2010. 
  2. ^ Peart, Neil. Fireworks: The Making of "Hold Your Fire. 2112.net. Accessed from June 21, 2013.
  3. ^ Milano, Breit (November 19, 1987). The Down-To-Earth RUSH. Boston Globe. Accessed from June 20, 2013.
  4. ^ Time Stand Still Digital Sheet Music by Rush. Sheet Music Plus. Accessed from June 21, 2013.
  5. ^ Strauss, Duncan (February 6, 1988). "Rush Delivery: They Could Have Mailed It In". Los Angeles Times. p. 6. Retrieved February 27, 2010. 
  6. ^ a b Putterford, Mark (October 17, 1987). Lifeson Times. Kerrang!. Accessed from June 21, 2013.
  7. ^ Klein, Joshua (November 15, 2000). Interview - Aimee Mann. A.V. Club. Accessed from June 21, 2013.
  8. ^ Begrand, Andrian (April 17, 2013). 10 Songs That Will Make You Love Rush. Popmatters. Accessed from June 21, 2013.
  9. ^ Lazarro, Glen (August 11, 2011). Rush Job: Rush & Mr. Mister. 99tigers.com. Accessed from June 1, 2013.
  10. ^ Macinnis, Craig (March 8, 1988). "Rush happily dwarfed by its own technology". Toronto Star. Retrieved February 27, 2010. 
  11. ^ "October 1889/ Archive Chart: 31 October 1889" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved June 19, 2013.
  12. ^ Rush - Chart History: Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks. Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Accessed from June 19, 2013.
  13. ^ "Top Singles - Volume 47, No. 9, December 05 1987". RPM. Retrieved 2012-03-23.