Grace Under Pressure (Rush album)

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Grace Under Pressure
Rush Grace Under Pressure.jpg
Studio album by Rush
  • April 12, 1984 (1984-04-12)
  • June 3, 1997 (1997-06-03) (Remastered CD)
Recorded November 1983 – March 1984
Studio Le Studio, Morin-Heights, Quebec
Length 39:23
Producer Rush, Peter Henderson
Rush chronology
Grace Under Pressure
Power Windows
Singles from Grace Under Pressure
  1. "Distant Early Warning"
    Released: April 1984
  2. "The Body Electric"
    Released: 1984
  3. "Red Sector A"
    Released: 1984
  4. "Afterimage"
    Released: 1984
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic3/5 stars[3]
Kerrang!(very favourable)[4]
Rolling Stone3/5 stars[5]

Grace Under Pressure is the tenth studio album by Canadian rock band Rush, released in 1984. It reached No. 10 on the Billboard 200 chart and went platinum in the US upon its initial release.

Background and production[edit]

During the tour supporting their previous album, Signals, the members of Rush began by meeting with producer Terry Brown in Miami, informing him that they wanted to move on. Unhappy with the sound of the Signals album, they were also keen to see how they would work with someone other than Brown. Despite their decision to part ways Rush included a small tribute to him in the liner notes of Grace Under Pressure, which states "et toujours notre bon vieil ami — Broon." The quote translates to "and always our good old friend."

The search for a different producer was long and arduous. Following Brown's amicable departure, Rush approached producer Steve Lillywhite to record the album. However, after initially agreeing, Lillywhite backed out of the project at the last minute, ultimately working with Simple Minds instead.[6] Other potential producers were considered; the band would bring in potential producers weekly, all while continuing to write and record song demos. The band would eventually select Peter Henderson, who had previously worked with Supertramp, Split Enz, Wings, Frank Zappa and King Crimson. However, this did not end the band's struggles, as Henderson, despite being a remarkably gifted engineer, was very "indecisive," leaving the band to make most of the creative decisions for the record themselves.[6] Thus, the band ended up handling most of the production work themselves. The recording process ultimately took four and one-half months, virtually non-stop[6], making it one of the longest albums to create in their career to that point.

The album was recorded at Le Studio. Current events found in the Toronto-based newspaper The Globe and Mail inspired much of the lyrical content of the album, particularly "Distant Early Warning," "Red Lenses" and "Between the Wheels." After a few months, the mixing stage had begun, and Neil Peart discussed the details of the cover art with Hugh Syme. The band spent up to fourteen hours per day in the studio, perfecting the album's dystopian sound. In a 1984 interview, Alex Lifeson described Grace Under Pressure as the "most satisfying of all our records"[7] and has also stated that it was one of the most difficult Rush albums to make.

A music video produced for "The Enemy Within" would be the first played by the Canadian music television channel MuchMusic, which launched in August 1984.[8]


Musically, the album marks yet another development in Rush's sound; while continuing to make extensive use of synthesizers as on Signals, the band also experimented by incorporating elements of ska and reggae into some of the songs. The guitars played a larger role than on Signals, with Lifeson stating that "I think the guitar on 'Signals' took a bit of a back seat. The keyboards were really upfront ... though in a sense that's what we were trying to achieve, we wanted to go for a different perspective on the whole sound. But, possibly, we lost direction at times on Signals."[9]

Sleeve design[edit]

The cover art was painted by Hugh Syme, who had collaborated with Rush since 1975 when he designed the cover for Caress of Steel. On the back cover is a band portrait by the photographer Yousuf Karsh.[10] The original vinyl pressing also featured a photo depicting an egg being held in a C-clamp.


A remaster was issued in 1997.

  • The tray has a picture of three fingerprints, light blue, pink and lime green (left to right) with "The Rush Remasters" printed in all capital letters just to the left. All remasters from Moving Pictures through A Show of Hands feature this logo, originally found on the cover art of Retrospective II.
  • The back is a plain, off-white panel with the track titles printed as well as the production and copyright information.
  • The insert displays the cover art. The colour of the cover art has been altered: it is of a richer, brown-grey colour base, as opposed to the light blue base of the original LP release. The new cover is featured in nearly all of the album's modern representations. When the case is opened, the inside shows the photo of the band from the back of the LP version of the album. The insert unfolds to show the image of the egg in the C-clamp, which has a thin red border around it and credits the image to Deborah Samuel.
  • Also in the insert are the lyrics, similar to those included with the LP. Like the LP, the title and lyrics of "Red Lenses" are printed completely in lowercase.
    • Some consider the title in all lower case ("red lenses") to be the proper and accepted writing.

Grace Under Pressure was remastered again in 2011 by Andy VanDette for the "Sector" box sets, which re-released all of Rush's Mercury-era albums. Grace Under Pressure is included in the Sector 3 set. Unlike the other albums in the "Sector" series, the remaster for Grace Under Pressure was based on a digital transfer originally created and used for the 1997 remaster, as opposed to the original master tapes, which were sonically degraded by 2011.[11]

Grace Under Pressure was remastered for vinyl in 2015 by Sean Magee at Abbey Road Studios as a part of the official "12 Months of Rush" promotion.[12] The high definition master prepared for this release was also made available for purchase in a 24-bit/48 kHz digital format at several high-resolution audio online music stores. These remasters have significantly less dynamic range compression than the 1997 remasters and the "Sector" remasters by Andy VanDette. Sean Magee remastered the audio from an analogue copy of the original digital master, using a 192 kHz sample rate. But since Grace Under Pressure was originally mixed on digital equipment at 16-bit/44.1 kHz, no audio above 22 kHz exists in the original digital master or any of the remasters, which is why many digital music stores are only selling the album at a maximum sample rate of 48 kHz.[13]

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics written by Neil Peart; all music composed by Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson.

Side one
1."Distant Early Warning"4:56
3."Red Sector A"5:10
4."The Enemy Within (Part One of Fear)"4:33
Side two
5."The Body Electric"5:00
6."Kid Gloves"4:18
7."Red Lenses"4:42
8."Between the Wheels"5:44




Year Chart Position
1984 Billboard 200 (United States)[14] 10
RPM100 Albums (Canada)[15] 4
UK Album Chart[16] 5
Swedish Album Chart[17] 18
GfK Dutch Album Chart[18] 27
German Album Chart[19] 43


"The Body Electric"
  • Released:
  • Written by: Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart
  • Produced by: Rush and Peter Henderson
  • Chart positions: #105 (US), #56 (UK)[20]
"Distant Early Warning"
  • Released:
  • Written by: Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart
  • Produced by: Rush and Peter Henderson
  • Chart positions: #3 (US Mainstream Rock)
"Red Sector A"
  • Released:
  • Written by: Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart
  • Produced by: Rush and Peter Henderson
  • Chart positions: #21 (US Mainstream Rock)
  • Released:
  • Written by: Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart
  • Produced by: Rush and Peter Henderson


Country Organization Sales
US RIAA Platinum (1,000,000)[21]
Canada CRIA Platinum (100,000)[22]
UK BPI Silver (60,000)[23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Revisit: Rush: Grace Under Pressure". 16 February 2016. Retrieved 12 July 2016.
  2. ^ "Grace Under Pressure (1984) Stereogum". Retrieved 12 July 2016.
  3. ^ Prato, Greg. "Grace Under Pressure – Rush". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2012-03-11.
  4. ^ Barton, Geoff (5 April 1984). "Pressure Points". Kerrang!. 65. London, UK: Spotlight Publications Ltd. p. 13. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  5. ^ Loder, Kurt (21 June 1984). "Grace Under Pressure". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2012-03-11.
  6. ^ a b c Popoff, Martin (2004). Contents Under Pressure: 30 Years of Rush at Home and Away. ECW Press. pp. 110–111. ISBN 978-1-55022-678-2.
  7. ^ Hansen, Eric. ""Playback: The Making Of An Album – Rush 'Grace Under Pressure'" – Guitar Player, August 1984". Retrieved 12 July 2016.
  8. ^ "Remembering MuchMusic's birth days". Toronto Star. Canadian Press. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  9. ^ Hansen, Eric. ""The Pressure Principle" – Kerrang!, No. 70, May 3-16, 1984". Retrieved 12 July 2016.
  10. ^ Grace Under Pressure liner notes
  11. ^ "Andy VanDette On Remastering 15 Rush Albums – The Masterdisk Record". Archived from the original on 23 August 2014. Retrieved 12 July 2016.
  12. ^ "12 MONTHS OF RUSH: 14 ALBUMS FROM MERCURY ERA FOR RELEASE IN 2015". Retrieved 10 July 2015.
  13. ^ "Rush – new 2015 vinyl and hi-res reissues thread". Steve Hoffman Music Forums. Retrieved 10 July 2015.
  14. ^ "Grace Under Pressure Billboard Albums". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2012-03-11.
  15. ^ "Top Albums/CDs – Volume 40, No. 10, May 12, 1984". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 2012-03-11.
  16. ^ "Grace Under Pressure Chart Stats". Chart Retrieved 2012-03-11.
  17. ^ "Rush – Grace Under Pressure (Album)". Media Control Charts. Retrieved 2012-03-11.
  18. ^ "Rush – Grace Under Pressure (Album)". Gfk Dutch Charts (in Dutch). Media Control Charts. Retrieved 2012-03-11.
  19. ^ "Album – Rush, Grace Under Pressure". (in German). Media Control Charts. Retrieved 2012-03-11.
  20. ^ "The Body Electric Chart Stats". Chart Retrieved 2012-03-11.
  21. ^ "RIAA Database Search for Grace Under Pressure". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 2012-03-11.
  22. ^ "Gold Platinum Database – Title: Grace Under Pressure". Music Canada. Archived from the original on 2012-09-07. Retrieved 2012-03-11.
  23. ^ "BPI Certified Award Search for Rush". British Phonographic Industry. Archived from the original on 2011-07-04. Retrieved 2012-03-11.