Moving Pictures (Rush album)
|Studio album by Rush|
|Studio||Le Studio, Morin-Heights, Quebec|
|Producer||Rush, Terry Brown|
|Singles from Moving Pictures|
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide|||
Moving Pictures is the eighth studio album by Canadian rock band Rush. It was recorded and mixed from October to November 1980 at Le Studio in Morin-Heights, Quebec, Canada, and released on February 12, 1981. Building on their previous album, Permanent Waves, Moving Pictures follows a more radio-friendly format and includes several of the band's best-known songs, such as the singles "Tom Sawyer" and "Limelight", the rock radio standard "Red Barchetta", and the instrumental "YYZ".
Moving Pictures became the band's highest-selling album in the United States, peaking at #3 on the Billboard 200, and it remains the band's most commercially successful recording. The album was one of the first to be certified multi-platinum by the RIAA upon establishment of the certification in October 1984, and eventually went quadruple platinum. Moving Pictures is one of two Rush albums listed in 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die (2112 is the other). Kerrang! magazine listed the album at #43 among the "100 Greatest Heavy Metal Albums of All Time". In 2012, Moving Pictures was listed as #10 on 'Your Favorite Prog Rock Albums of All Time' by Rolling Stone. In 2014, readers of Rhythm voted Moving Pictures the greatest drumming album in the history of progressive rock.
The album cover art is a visual pun on the title, and a triple entendre. The first meaning is represented by the movers carrying pictures, with the second by the people watching them who are emotionally moved by the pictures. The third meaning is shown on the back cover, where the entire scene is revealed to be a set for a motion picture.
Work on the album began in August 1980 at Stony Lake, Ontario. "The Camera Eye" was the first to be written, followed by "Tom Sawyer", "Red Barchetta", "YYZ" and "Limelight". "Tom Sawyer" grew from a melody that Lee had been using to set up his synthesizers at sound checks.
At Phase One Studios with producer Terry Brown, they began recording demos. "Tom Sawyer" and "Limelight" were polished in October by playing them live on a warm-up tour and then they started the main recording at Le Studio in Quebec. "Red Barchetta" was recorded in one take, while others took many. There were problems with equipment failures and they finished three days behind schedule.
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The second song on Moving Pictures is "Red Barchetta". The lyrics were inspired by the short story A Nice Morning Drive by Richard S. Foster, first published in the magazine Road and Track in November 1973. Instead of an MGB roadster as featured in the original story, Peart has reported that the car that inspired the song's title is a Ferrari 166 MM Barchetta. Foster recounts the story of how he and Peart finally met in 2007 over their mutual love of BMW motorcycles in an article titled "The Drummer, The Private Eye, and Me".
Next is the Grammy-nominated instrumental "YYZ". The title is the IATA Airport Code for Toronto Pearson International Airport, which is played repeatedly in Morse code (-.--/-.--/--..) at the beginning of the song using a 5/4 time signature, where the dashes (-) are played using eighth notes and the dots (.) use sixteenth notes.
"Limelight" is another perennial radio favourite. The lyrics are autobiographical, based on Peart's own dissatisfaction with fame and its intrusion into personal life. The song contains two self-references: the first, the line "living in a fish-eye lens, caught in the camera eye" references the next track, "The Camera Eye", while the line "all the world's indeed a stage, and we are merely players", references the title of the live album All the World's a Stage, itself taken from William Shakespeare's As You Like It.
Side two of the original vinyl release opens with "The Camera Eye", to date Rush's last song lasting longer than ten minutes, a frequent occurrence earlier in their career. Lyrically and musically it is an attempt to capture the energy and moods of two of the English-speaking world's great cities: New York City (first verse) and London (second verse). Although most of the songs on the album were staples of Rush's live sets, this song had only been played on the tours for Moving Pictures and Signals until the 2010–11 Time Machine Tour, during which Moving Pictures was played in its entirety. The title refers to short pieces of the same name in the U.S.A. trilogy of John Dos Passos. Neil Peart has stated that he is an admirer of Dos Passos' work.
The sixth song, "Witch Hunt", opens with faint voices (which Alex Lifeson explained on In the Studio with Redbeard were recorded outside Le Studio in sub-zero temperatures with the band and others shouting in a humorous way) and sound effects produced by a synthesizer, before transitioning into the song proper. It features Hugh Syme, artist for most of Rush's album covers, on keyboards, and double-tracked drums in one verse. "Witch Hunt" would become a part of the Fear series of songs, which includes "The Weapon" from Signals, "The Enemy Within" from Grace Under Pressure, and "Freeze" from Vapor Trails.
The album closes with "Vital Signs", which features a sequencer part produced by an OB-X synthesizer, and shows distinct reggae flavour. Reggae influences in Rush's music were first heard on their previous album, Permanent Waves, and would later be heard more extensively on the band's next two studio releases, Signals and Grace Under Pressure.
The album cover is a monument to triple entendre. On the front cover there are movers who are moving pictures. On the side, people are shown crying because the pictures passing by are emotionally "moving". Finally, the back cover has a film crew making a "moving picture" of the whole scene. The album cover was taken in front of the Ontario Legislative Building at Queen's Park, Toronto. The pictures that are being moved are the starman logo featured on the reverse cover of the 2112 album, one of the famous Dogs Playing Poker paintings entitled A Friend in Need, and a painting that presumably shows Joan of Arc being burned at the stake on May 30, 1431.
Mike Dixon, one of the movers on the Moving Pictures and Exit...Stage Left album covers, discussed the various people on the Moving Pictures cover with the website 2112.net. The first, Bobby King (seen furthest to the left on the album cover), was a member of Hugh Syme's design team, and is credited for assisting Syme on A Farewell to Kings, Hemispheres and Archives. Dixon explains that King is not only one of the movers, but also the original Starman on 2112 and Dionysus (the nude man) on the Hemispheres cover. According to Dixon, the mover holding the Starman painting is Kelly Jay, singer of the Toronto band Crowbar (Crowbar performed with Rush at the Minkler Auditorium in 1973; an advertisement for this show is seen in the liner notes for Different Stages). Dixon also confirms photographer Deborah Sammuels is the Joan of Arc character and that her relatives are the family on the right. However, this conflicts with information provided in the Rush biography Chemistry, which states "Hugh borrowed friends, neighbours and even his hairdresser's parents."
The film crew shown on the back cover actually shot the scene with motion picture film, and the album's front cover is a single frame from this film. This was revealed to Rush concertgoers several years later, when the still image was projected on a large screen behind the band, and then suddenly came to life as a full-motion film sequence.
A Mercury Records 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 remastered CD restores all of the original artwork found on the vinyl copy of the album as well as the lyrics, and includes the moving picture of drummer Neil Peart which was missing on the original CD issue.
Moving Pictures was remastered again in 2011 by Andy VanDette for the "Sector" box sets, which re-released all of Rush's Mercury-era albums. It is included in the Sector 2 set.
Moving Pictures was remastered for vinyl in 2015 as a part of the official "12 Months of Rush" promotion. The high definition master prepared for this release was also made available for purchase in a 24-bit/48kHz 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 analog copy of the original digital master, using a 192kHz sample rate. But since Moving Pictures was originally mixed on digital equipment at 16-bit/44.1kHz, no audio above 22kHz 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 48kHz.
Two disc 5.1 Surround Sound release
Moving Pictures was re-released in a 2-disc 30th Anniversary set on April 5, 2011. The first disc contains the standard stereo mixes of the songs. The second disc, available as either a DVD-Audio or Blu-ray disc, contains all the album's tracks in Audiophile 5.1 Surround and Stereo and music videos for the songs "Tom Sawyer", "Limelight", and "Vital Signs".
The "Vital Signs" music video is billed on the disc packaging as "previously unreleased", although it appeared on the 1985 Rush video compilation Through The Camera Eye and had been aired on MTV and other video outlets since the original release of Moving Pictures.
|1.||"Tom Sawyer" (Peart and Pye Dubois)||4:34|
|3.||"YYZ" (Lee, Peart; Instrumental)||4:26|
|5.||"The Camera Eye
|6.||"Witch Hunt" (Part III of "Fear")||4:46|
- Geddy Lee – lead vocals, bass guitar, bass pedals, Minimoog, Oberheim polyphonic synthesizer, OB-X, Moog Taurus
- Alex Lifeson – electric and acoustic six- and twelve-string guitar, Moog Taurus
- Neil Peart – drums, timbales, gong, bells, glockenspiel, wind chimes, bell tree, crotales, cowbell, plywood
- Paul Northfield – engineering
- Deborah Samuel – photography
- Robbie Whelan – assistant engineering
- Bob Ludwig – mastering and remastering
- Peter Jensen – digital mastering and editing
|1981||Canadian Albums Chart||1|
|UK Albums Chart||3|
|U.S.||RIAA||4x Platinum (4,000,000)|
|Canada||RIAA||4x Platinum (400,000)|
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