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YYZ (song)

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Instrumental by Rush
from the album Moving Pictures
ReleasedFebruary 12, 1981 (1981-02-12)
Audio sample
Music video
"YYZ" on YouTube

"YYZ" (natively pronounced why-why-zed) is an instrumental rock composition by the Canadian rock band Rush from their 1981 album Moving Pictures. The live album Exit... Stage Left (1981) and the concert video recording A Show of Hands (1989) both include versions in which Neil Peart incorporates a drum solo – as an interlude on the former, and as a segue out of the piece on the latter.[2][3]

Title and composition[edit]

YYZ is the IATA airport identification code of Toronto Pearson International Airport, near Rush's hometown. The band was introduced to the rhythm as Alex Lifeson flew them into the airport. A VHF omnidirectional range system at the airport broadcasts the YYZ identifier code in Morse code. Peart said in interviews later that the rhythm stuck with them.[4] Peart and Geddy Lee have both said "It's always a happy day when YYZ appears on our luggage tags."[5]

The piece's introduction, played in a time signature of 10
, repeatedly renders "Y-Y-Z" in Morse Code using various musical arrangements.[6][7]

"YYZ" rendered in Morse code
- . - - - . - - - - . .

Music video[edit]

An official animated music video was released on YouTube on March 11, 2022 to coincide with the release of the 40th anniversary edition of Moving Pictures. The video contains elements from the parent album cover, and depicts a heist in Toronto. It also contains various easter eggs referencing Rush's other work, such as a fast food chain named Fried by Night, based on their album Fly by Night.

Awards and nominations[edit]

"YYZ" was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Rock Instrumental category in 1982. It lost to "Behind My Camel" by The Police, from their album Zenyatta Mondatta.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Popoff, Martin (January 5, 2024). "The Top 20 unlikely Progressive Rock hits, ranked". Goldmine. Retrieved January 7, 2024.
  2. ^ "Neil Peart Solo Number 4 – Exit... Stage Left, 1981". theparadiddler.com. Retrieved 2018-10-28.
  3. ^ "Neil Peart Solo Number Six – A Show of Hands, 1988". theparadiddler.com. Retrieved 2018-10-28.
  4. ^ Martin Smith (2010). Rush: Classic Albums: 2112 & Moving Pictures (DVD). Eagle Rock Entertainment. Event occurs at 122 minutes.
  5. ^ "Rush by Brian Harrigan from Power Windows". 2112.net. Archived from the original on 2004-06-17. Retrieved 2011-09-29.
  6. ^ Raggo, Michael T.; Hosmer, Chet (31 December 2012). Data Hiding Exposing Concealed Data in Multimedia, Operating Systems, Mobile Devices and Network Protocols (1st ed (Online-Ausg.). ed.). Rockland, MA: Elsevier Science. ISBN 978-1597497411.
  7. ^ Berti, Jim; Bowman, Durrell, eds. (2011). Rush and philosophy : heart and mind united. Popular Culture & Philosophy. Vol. 57. Chicago: Open Court. ISBN 978-0812697162. OCLC 670481677.
  8. ^ "24th Annual Grammy Awards Final Nominations". Billboard. Vol. 94, no. 3. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. January 23, 1982. p. 90. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved February 12, 2011.