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" is an instrumental rock composition by the band Rush from their 1981 album Moving Pictures. It is one of the band's most popular pieces and was a staple of the band's live performances. 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.[1][2]

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.[3] Peart and Geddy Lee have both said "It's always a happy day when YYZ appears on our luggage tags."[4]

The piece's introduction, played in a time signature of 10
, repeatedly renders "Y-Y-Z" in Morse Code using various musical arrangements.[5][6]

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

Music Video[edit]

An official music video was released on YouTube on March 11, 2022.

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.[7]


"YYZ" has been covered in whole or in part by:

Lee and Lifeson performed "YYZ" with Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins during a Foo Fighters concert at Toronto's Air Canada Centre on March 22, 2008, switching songs midway through "Stacked Actors". In October 2008, Peart performed it with the Buddy Rich Big Band alongside bassist Jeff Berlin as part of the ongoing Buddy Rich Memorial Scholarship Concert series.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Neil Peart Solo Number 4 – Exit... Stage Left, 1981". theparadiddler.com. Retrieved 2018-10-28.
  2. ^ "Neil Peart Solo Number Six – A Show of Hands, 1988". theparadiddler.com. Retrieved 2018-10-28.
  3. ^ Martin Smith (2010). Rush: Classic Albums: 2112 & Moving Pictures (DVD). Eagle Rock Entertainment. Event occurs at 122 minutes.
  4. ^ "Rush by Brian Harrigan from Power Windows". 2112.net. Archived from the original on 2004-06-17. Retrieved 2011-09-29.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ "24th Annual Grammy Awards Final Nominations". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 94 (3): 90. January 23, 1982. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved February 12, 2011.
  8. ^ "The A.V. Club - Video". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 18 October 2018.