Xanadu (Rush song)

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Song by Rush
from the album A Farewell to Kings
Released August 18, 1977
Recorded 1977 at Rockfield Studios
Genre Progressive rock
Length 11:05
Label Mercury Records
Composer(s) Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson
Lyricist(s) Neil Peart
Producer(s) Rush, Terry Brown
A Farewell to Kings track listing
"A Farewell to Kings"
"Closer to the Heart"
Exit...Stage Left track listing
"The Trees"

"Xanadu" is a song by the Canadian rock band 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" that will grant him immortality. After succeeding in this quest, a thousand years pass, and the narrator is left "waiting for the world to end", describing himself as "a mad immortal man".

Although the song does not explicitly state what "Xanadu" is, references to Kubla Khan imply that it is a mythical place based on the historical summer capital of the Mongol Empire.[1]


"Xanadu" is the first Rush song in which synthesizers are an integral part. Unlike the previous albums 2112 and Caress of Steel, "Xanadu" used both guitar and synthesizer effects.

The song also marks Rush's clear foray into program music, although previous albums had displayed some elements of this. Subsequent albums during the late 1970s and early 1980s would see the group explore program music more systematically.

"Xanadu" requires each band member to utilize an array of instruments to affect 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) in addition to singing; and Peart took on various percussion instruments (temple blocks, tubular bells, bell tree, glockenspiel, and wind chimes) in addition to his drum kit.

When the song was played during the R30 tour in 2004, the ending of the song was changed so that Lee did not play the rhythm guitar part, as in the original arrangement. However, when it was played on the R40 Live Tour in 2015, Lee once again played rhythm guitar.

Covers and tributes[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Kubla Khan". University of Virginia Library. 1797. Archived from the original on November 28, 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-20. 

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