YYZ (instrumental)

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For the airport YYZ, see Toronto Pearson International Airport.
Song by Rush from the album Moving Pictures
Released February 12, 1981
Recorded 1980
Genre Instrumental rock, progressive rock, hard rock
Length 4:25
Label Mercury Records
Writer Geddy Lee, Neil Peart
Producer Rush, Terry Brown
Moving Pictures track listing
"Red Barchetta"
Exit...Stage Left track listing
"Red Barchetta"
"A Passage to Bangkok"

Audio sample
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"YYZ" is an instrumental rock piece by Canadian rock band Rush, from their 1981 album Moving Pictures. Following its initial release, it became one of the band's most popular pieces and has been a staple of the band's live performances. The instrumental has been featured on all live concert video recordings in some form since its release. The live album Exit...Stage Left (1981) and the concert video recording A Show of Hands (1989) both include versions in which Neil Peart incorporates a drum solo - as an interlude on the former, and as a segue out of the piece on the latter.

Title and composition[edit]

YYZ is the IATA airport identification code of Toronto Pearson International Airport, near Rush's hometown. The band was introduced to the rhythm as Alex Lifeson flew them into the airport. A VHF omnidirectional range system at the airport broadcast the YYZ identifier code in Morse code. Neil Peart said in interviews later that the rhythm stuck with them.[1] Peart and Geddy Lee have both said "It's always a happy day when YYZ appears on our luggage tags."[2]

The pieces's introduction, played in a time signature of 5
, repeatedly renders "Y-Y-Z" in Morse Code using various musical arrangements.[3][4]

"YYZ" rendered in Morse code
- . - - - . - - - - . .

Awards and nominations[edit]

"YYZ" was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Rock Instrumental category in 1982. "YYZ" lost to "Behind My Camel", by The Police, from their album Zenyatta Mondatta.

Performances by other artists[edit]

YYZ has been covered in whole or in part by:

"YYZ" has also been featured as a playable encore track in the video game Guitar Hero II, a downloadable track in the Rock Band game series and is featured in Guitar Hero: Smash Hits as its only instrumental. Lee and Lifeson performed "YYZ" with Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins during a Foo Fighters concert at Toronto's Air Canada Centre on March 22, 2008 midway through "Stacked Actors", which then was not finished. In October 2008, Peart performed it with the Buddy Rich Big Band alongside bassist Jeff Berlin as part of the ongoing Buddy Rich Memorial Scholarship Concert series.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Martin Smith (2010). Rush: Classic Albums: 2112 & Moving Pictures (DVD). Eagle Rock Entertainment. Event occurs at 122 minutes. 
  2. ^ "Rush by Brian Harrigan from Power Windows". 2112.net. Retrieved 2011-09-29. [dead link]
  3. ^ Raggo, Michael T.; Hosmer, Chet. Data Hiding Exposing Concealed Data in Multimedia, Operating Systems, Mobile Devices and Network Protocols. (1st ed (Online-Ausg.). ed.). Rockland, MA: Elsevier Science. ISBN 159749741X. 
  4. ^ Berti, Jim; Bowman, Durrell (eds.). Rush and philosophy : heart and mind united. Popular Culture & Philosophy 57. Chicago: Open Court. ISBN 978-0812697162. OCLC 670481677. 

External links[edit]