Xanadu (Rush song)
|Song by Rush from the album A Farewell to Kings|
|Released||August 18, 1977|
|Recorded||1977 at Rockfield Studios|
|Genre||Progressive rock, hard rock|
|Composer||Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson|
|Producer||Rush, Terry Brown|
|A Farewell to Kings track listing|
Xanadu is a song by Canadian progressive rock trio Rush from their 1977 album A Farewell to Kings. It is approximately eleven minutes long, beginning with a five-minute-long instrumental section, then transitioning to a narrative written by Neil Peart, inspired by the Samuel Taylor Coleridge poem Kubla Khan.
In Peart's lyrics, the narrator describes searching for something called "Xanadu" (although it is not explicitly stated what this is, references to the poem "Kubla Khan" imply that it is a mythical place based on the historical summer capital of the Mongolian Empire) that will grant him immortality. The narrator finds Xanadu and attains immortality. A thousand years pass, and he is left "waiting for the world to end," bitter in the reality of his successful quest.
"Xanadu" is the first Rush song in which synthesizers are an integral part. Unlike the previous 2112 or Caress of Steel albums, "Xanadu" used both guitar and synthesizer effects, and thus represented a transitional phase for the group.
The song also marks Rush's clear foray into program music. Previous albums had displayed some elements of program music. Subsequent albums during the late 1970s and early 1980s would see the group explore program music more systematically.
"Xanadu" requires each member to utilize an array of instruments to effect the performance. Alex Lifeson used a double-necked Gibson electric guitar (one twelve-string, the other six-string) as well as synthesizer pedals; Geddy Lee made use of a double-necked Rickenbacker 4080/12 guitar (bass and twelve-string guitar) as well as extensive synthesizer arrangements (through both pedals and keyboards) while singing; and Peart took on various percussion instruments (notably temple blocks, tubular bells, bell tree, glockenspiel and wind chimes) in addition to his drum kit work.
More recent performances of the song have been altered in order to simplify the arrangement. For example, when played during the R30 tour, the end of the song was changed so that Lee did not play the rhythm guitar part, as in the original arrangement.
Covers and tributes
- "Xanadu" was covered by Silver Sun and released on their Too Much, Too Little, Too Late EP in 1998, compressing the epic into a four-minute pop/punk song.
- "Kubla Khan". University of Virginia Library. 1797. Retrieved 2007-11-20.