Xanadu (Rush song)
|Song by Rush|
|from the album A Farewell to Kings|
|Released||August 18, 1977|
|Recorded||1977 at Rockfield Studios|
|Composer(s)||Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson|
|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".
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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.
- "Xanadu" was covered by Silver Sun and released on their Too Much, Too Little, Too Late EP in 1998, as a four-minute pop punk song.
- Dream Theater recorded a cover of "Xanadu" for the 40th anniversary edition of A Farewell to Kings.