Xanadu (Rush song)

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Song by Rush
from the album A Farewell to Kings
ReleasedAugust 18, 1977
Recorded1977 at Rockfield Studios
GenreProgressive rock
LabelMercury Records
Composer(s)Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson
Lyricist(s)Neil Peart
Producer(s)Rush, Terry Brown

"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 before transitioning to a narrative written by Neil Peart, which in turn was inspired by the Samuel Taylor Coleridge poem Kubla Khan.


In Peart's lyrics, the narrator describes searching for a place 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 where "Xanadu" is, references to Kubla Khan imply that it is a mythical place based on Shangdu, 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.

An abbreviated version of the song, omitting the second verse and Lee's rhythm guitar part during the ending, was performed as part of a medley during the R30 tour in 2004. However, for the R40 Live Tour in 2015, the band played the entire song with the rhythm guitar included.


Rolling Stone magazine readers polled on the top 10 Rush songs of all time voted Xanadu as number six.[2]

Cover versions[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Kubla Khan". University of Virginia Library. 1797. Archived from the original on November 28, 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-20.
  2. ^ "Readers' Poll: The 10 Best Rush Songs". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 5 October 2017.

External links[edit]