National Album Day: Moving Pictures by Rush

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In 1987, I was nineteen years old (please don’t work it out). On a warm summer’s night and after an extremely alcoholic trip out, my friend Stuart James put on Moving Pictures by Rush. I didn’t know what it was and I’d not really heard much Rush to that point. I had them pigeonholed as a trio of very loud Canadian odd balls whose singer had a vocal register that put quizzical expressions on dogs’ faces. Within the first few bars of album opener Tom Sawyer, I wanted to know what it was. By the end of side one, I was mesmerised. That evening genuinely changed the way that I thought about music.

Whilst 2112 might have been the record which truly broke Rush as a major force, 1981’s Moving Pictures is the definitive Rush album. It perfectly links the early hard rock, high pitched screaming that had once put me off (but which, as an ardent fan, I now totally understand) with the keyboard infused and more accessible sound which Rush developed in the later eighties and nineties. It’s full of incredible songs and amazing musicianship. Listening to the opening quartet of Tom Sawyer, Red Barchetta, YYZ and Limelight is about the most satisfying way to spend twenty minutes I can think of. The production is quite simply stunning and it has a sound that I don’t think has been matched on any other Rush album. Everybody, and I mean everybody, should listen to it at least once. I’m never going to stop.

Moving Pictures by Rush, 1981. Chosen by photographer and writer Simon Reed



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