Moving Pictures takes a novel historical approach to the making and recording of Rush's album by the same name. This 1981 release was a landmark record, not only for Rush, but also for the entirety of progressive rock.
There's nothing else like it in the Rush catalog. Permanent Waves and Hemispheres were important releases in their evolution as a progressive band, but neither provided the necessary commercial firepower to blast the Canadian trio into the stratosphere of rock stardom. Moving Pictures, with its thematic work and positioning as the antithesis of a concept record, balanced opposing creative sensibilities, garnered the attention of radio programmers across North America, and sold millions of copies around the globe.
As the title of the record suggests, each track projects unique filmic properties, allowing the collective work to escape into the realm of the audiovisual. Unparalleled in the band's recorded output, Moving Pictures boasts multisensory qualities, such as a snarling synth portal opening the record ("Tom Sawyer"), pulse-quickening cyclical patterns corkscrewing through the genre fluid "Vital Signs," a spine-tingling sci-fi thrill ride thinly masking social commentary ("Red Barchetta"), technically precise musical jousting amid time signature changes ("YYZ"), chilling glimpses of a hellish, torch-lit mob haunting "Witch Hunt," the wide-screen dual optics of "The Camera Eye," and a ferocious guitar tone taking a bite out of fame ("Limelight").
Put simply, the seven-track offering solidified the band's global appeal and continues to inspire musicians of all walks of life—forty years after its release. This is its story.
Will Romano is the author of seven books, including Close to the Edge: How Yes's Masterpiece Defined Prog Rock, the critically acclaimed Mountains Come Out of the Sky (with a foreword by iconic drummer Bill Bruford), and the award finalist Big Boss Man: The Life and Music of Bluesman Jimmy Reed. Romano's work has appeared in a variety of publications, such as New York Post, NY Daily News, American Way, Guitar Player, Modern Drummer, Sound on Sound, VH1.com, and others. He spent most of his life in New York and recently moved to Rockford, IL.