Time Stand Still (song)

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"Time Stand Still"
Single by Rush featuring Aimee Mann
from the album Hold Your Fire
ReleasedOctober 19, 1987
LabelAnthem (Canada)
Mercury (USA)
Rush singles chronology
"Time Stand Still"
Music video
"Time Stand Still" on YouTube

"Time Stand Still" is a song by Canadian progressive rock band Rush, featured on their 1987 album Hold Your Fire.[1] 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 on November 6, 1987. It was also a minor hit single in the United Kingdom, peaking at No. 42 on the Singles Chart. A music video for the song was directed by Zbigniew Rybczyński.

Development and composition[edit]

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

"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 in the key of E major. The tempo is moderately fast. The song starts in 7
before going to common time by the first verse.[4] 'Til Tuesday frontwoman Aimee Mann briefly sings in each chorus of the song, marking Rush's first collaboration with another vocalist,[5] with Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson adding that the band thought a female singer "would suit the song".[citation needed] Initially, the band had hoped to recruit Cyndi Lauper to sing the part, then later approached the Pretenders' Chrissie Hynde because, according to Lifeson, "we thought she'd be perfect. But Chrissie was unavailable at the time." Rush later recruited Mann[6] and paid her $2,000 to sing on the track,[7] with Lifeson saying 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" at #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 Polish filmmaker Zbigniew Rybczyński. According to the editor of the video, Glenn Lazzaro:

Zbig 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]

Aimee Mann appears with the band in the video, which was filmed over the course of an entire day.[10][11]

Live performances[edit]

The song was performed on the tours for the albums Hold Your Fire, Presto, Roll the Bones, and Counterparts. After not being played live for 16 years, it was included in the set list for the 2010-2011 Time Machine Tour. Live recordings of the song appear on the albums A Show of Hands (1988) and Time Machine 2011: Live in Cleveland (2011).


Chart (1987) Peak
UK Singles (OCC)[12] 42
US Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks (Billboard)[13] 3
Canada Top Singles Chart (RPM)[14] 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"". Power Windows. Retrieved June 16, 2017.
  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. The 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 7, 2021.
  9. ^ Lazarro, Glen (August 11, 2011). Rush Job: Rush & Mr. Mister. 99tigers.com. Accessed from June 1, 2013.
  10. ^ Greene, Andy (October 7, 2013). "Geddy Lee Dives Into Rush's Video Timeline". Rolling Stone. Retrieved January 24, 2016.
  11. ^ Greene, Andy (February 16, 2017). "Flashback: Rush Team With Aimee Mann for Surreal 'Time Stand Still' Video". Rolling Stone. Retrieved June 16, 2017.
  12. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved June 19, 2013.
  13. ^ Rush - Chart History: Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks. Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Accessed from June 19, 2013.
  14. ^ "Top Singles - Volume 47, No. 9, December 05 1987". RPM. Archived from the original on January 10, 2014. Retrieved March 23, 2012.