Cygnus X-1 Book II: Hemispheres (18:08)

  1. Prelude (4:27)
  2. Apollo Bringer of Wisdom (2:35)
  3. Dionysus Bringer of Love (2:05)
  4. Armageddon The Battle of Heart and Mind (3:06)
  5. Cygnus Bringer of Balance (4:05)
  6. The Sphere A Kind of Dream (1:05)
Circumstances (3:41)
The Trees (4:46)
La Villa Strangiato (9:35)

Alex Lifeson
Six and twelve string electric and acoustic guitars, classical guitar, Roland guitar synthesizer, Taurus pedals

Neil Peart
Drums, orchestra bells, bell-tree, tympani, gong, cowbells, temple blocks, wind chimes, crotales

Geddy Lee
Bass guitar, Mini Moog, Oberheim polyphonic, Taurus pedals, vocals

Produced by Rush and Terry Brown
Arrangements by Rush and Terry Brown
Recorded at Rockfield Studios, Wales, during June and July 1978
Engineered by Pat Moran
Vocals recorded at Advision Studios, London
Engineered by Declan O'Doherty
Mixed at Trident Studios, Soho, London, August 1978
Engineered by Terry Brown with invaluable assistance from John Brand
Tape Operators (Trident): Simon Hilliard, Mike Donegoni, and Reno Ruocco
Mastered at Trident by Ray Staff

Graphics by Hugh Syme
Art Directions by Hugh Syme and Bob King
Cover photography by Yosh Inouye
Inner sleeve and poster photography by Fin Costello
This album was processed through the Duffoscope!

Management by Ray Danniels and Vic Wilson, SRO Management Inc., Toronto
Executive Production: Moon Records
Roadmaster and Lighting Director: Howard (Herns) Ungerleider
Concert Sound Engineer and Crew Co-ordinator: Major Ian Grandy
Stage Manager: Michael (Lurch) Hirsh
Stage Right technician: Liam (Leaf) Birt
Stage Left technician: Skip (Slider) Gildersleeve
Centre Stage technician: Larry (Shrav) Allen
Guitar and synthesizer maintenance: Tony (Jack Secret) Geranios
Concert sound by National Sound and Electrosound (U.K.)
Concert Lighting by See Factor
Concert visuals produced by Rush and Nick Prince
Projectionist: Harry (keep the change) Dilman
Those daring drivers!: Bruce (The Pin) Aldrich (Howdy howdy!), Jwerg (Ah think Ah see the problem!) Hoadley, Mike (Say Guy!) Morrison, and Tom (Zig-Zag) Whittaker

The Wonderful Persons List: Austen Fagen, Abe Schon, The UFO'S, the Max Websters, the Pat Travers Band, the Monks, Bert the driver, Fin Costello, Ruke Bernstein, Joe Bombase, Young Ward, Jerry Mickelson, Arny Granat, Bubble and Squeak, all at SRO and all at Rockfield, Advision, and Trident

© 1978 Mercury Records © 1978 Anthem Entertainment


    Click to enlarge Click to enlarge
  • Mercury, October 24, 1978
  • Highest Billboard Chart Position: 47 - Certified Gold by RIAA: December 14, 1978 - Certified Platinum: December 1, 1993
  • Canadian red vinyl edition released October 10, 1978.
  • Hemispheres was Phonogram/Mercury's first commercial picture disk, released in December 15, 1978, with 50,000 units produced.
  • Reissued September 17, 2013 as a Audio Fidelity Sound Labs Gold SACD edition
  • Reissued May 19, 2015 by Universal Music Enterprises on 200-gram, heavyweight vinyl with a download code for a 320kbps MP4 vinyl ripped Digital Audio album download as well as high resolution Digital Audio editions in DSD (2.8mHz), 192khz / 24-bit, 96kHz / 24-bit.
  • On April 22, 2017, UMe/Anthem/ole released a 5000 copy limited edition 12" single of Cygnus X-1 (Books I and II) on 180g vinyl with new artwork by Hugh Syme for Record Store Day. Featuring "Book I: The Voyage" on side A and "Book II: Hemispheres" on side B, this was the first time these tracks were released as a single.
  • Click here for the 'Hemispheres' Transcript Archive.

In Their Own Words

"We spent more time recording 'Strangiato' than the entire Fly By Night album. It's recorded in one take but it took 40 takes to get it right! It was our first piece without any vocals at all. So each section had to stand up with a theme and musical structure of its own." - Geddy Lee, Visions
"As the song [La Villa Strangiato] developed, we decided to flavour certain sections after some cartoon ideas." - Alex Lifeson, A Show Of Fans, Summer 1996
"'The Trees'...was a parable about collectivism." - Neil Peart, Roadshow
"'La Villa Stangiato'...It's epic. There are so many parts to that song, and everybody shines on it. My recollection is that it was only a few takes to record the song. In fact if you listen closely during the guitar solo you can hear the previous solo ghosting underneath. I remember us playing the whole song in one piece and then we dropped in for that solo." - Alex Lifeson, ClassicRock.com, May 2015
"Tonight they will premiere the album on CHUM-FM's Night At 11. The three bandmembers will talk with Rick Ringer in the studio, play the new album and take phonecalls from listeners. The album itself will hit the stores on Tuesday in a red vinyl edition available only in Canada." - Toronto Sun, October 5, 1978


Tour of the Hemispheres

By Geoff Barton, September 15, 1978

R30 Tourbook, click to enlarge

In the beginning, in 1974, there was an album called "RUSH" and a fresh-faced youthful threesome from Toronto, Canada, pounding out heavy rock rhythms in Zeppelin-type style.

Four years and another five discs later, in '78, there is an album called "HEMISPHERES" and a more mature, more experienced band creating music of a personal, highly developed and inarguably unique nature.

First taste of what was to come occurred shortly before the release of RUSH's second album, "FLY BY NIGHT", when original drummer John Rutsey left the band and new skinsbeater Neil Peart arrived. Immediately Peart took ahold of the lyric reins and RUSH's music, with the full consent of the two remaining founding members Alex Lifeson (Guitar) and Geddy Lee (Bass, Vocals), began to take on a less straight ahead, more mystical flavour. A third platter, "CARESS OF STEEL", saw this development taking further shape, with a whole side being devoted to the tale of a soul-searching quest for "The Fountain of Lamneth". But is wasn't until their fourth album that RUSH truly defined their role as epic music story-tellers, scions of Sci-Fi and sword and sorcery as well as a rock band.

Entitled "2112", once again an entire side of the album was taken up with the musical relating of a titanic tale. This time around it was a case of futureshock, a story of a society in the 22nd century living under the so-called "Temples of Syrinx" ...a race of priests who regarded music as a corrupt force force and who reckoned that a guitar was "a toy that helped to destroy the elder race of man!" When such an instrument was played in one of their temples, and its joyous music filled its barren halls, the priests reacted with predictable venom.... "2112", lovingly crafted, stunning and stimulating, marked a turning point in RUSH's career, becoming a hugely successful album. In an attempt to acquaint new-found fans with their past recorded work, the next RUSH release was a double, retrospective style live album called "ALL THE WORLD'S A STAGE". And later, in 1977, the band again broke new ground by coming to Britain, encasing themselves in rural Rockfield Studios in Wales and recording an album by the name of "A FAREWELL TO KINGS".

Away from the bustle of city life, RUSH came up with a pastoral yet powerful album, its by now traditional 'epic track' present in the form of the space opera "Cygnus X-1", a story about a spaceship pilot plunging through a black hole in space. And if you thought that RUSH might have exhausted all areas of inspiration, then lend an ear to this, their latest album "HEMISPHERES", in which -- to borrow a phrase -- they boldly go where no band has gone before. Again recorded at Rockfield, the album contains just four tracks, two short, straightforward and sensitively rendered ("The Trees" and "Circumstances") the other couple high-powered, hot-blooded and often mind-blowing in their complexites ("La Villa Strangiato" and "Hemispheres"). It is these latter two numbers that show just how greatly RUSH have developed over the years. The band call "La Villa Strangiato" a "musical reconstruction of some of Alex's nightmares" (apparently the guitarist is often plagued by the most vividly bad dreams) and appropriately it's totally unlike anything they've ever attempted before. It's many parted, multi-faceted and definitely deserving of careful scrutiny and many plays. Meanwhile "HEMISPHERES" itself brings an end to the story of "Cygnus X-1", which had its beginnings on the previous album "A FAREWELL TO KINGS". It had, if you remember, a cliff hanger ending when our hero disappeared through a gapin black hole...never to be seen again? The "2112"-length "Hemispheres" number concludes the tale in unexpected, unorthodox fashion -- if you expected RUSH to cop out and go for usual science fiction stand-by explanations of "other dimensions" or "matter transportation", think again. "HEMISPHERES", through hard-hitting and dynamic, evocative lyrics, tells the tale of a battle between the gods Apollo and Dionysus, of the intervention of the deity Cygnus and of the "balance" he eventually manages to achieve.

All this, plus no small amount of rock and roll as well. What more could you wish for?

Behind The Scenes

Our Road Manager and Lighting Director is Howard Ungerleider. Weeks in advance of the show, Herns is glued to the telephone, with the promoters, stage managers, caterers, and hotels in each city on the tour. It is his job to arrange all the travel, accommodations, technical requirements, and personal needs for the band and the crew. He also takes care of the band finances. As lighting director, Herns if the man who designs the system itself, and operates the control panel during the show.

Mike Hirsch is our Stage Manager, who arrives each morning with the first truck and the lighting crew, and is the last to leave in the early hours of the following day, with the last truck -- and the lighting crew! Michael supervises all aspects of the equipment load-in, set-up, and load-out. He organizes the sound checks, the backstage security, and the set changes during the show, ensuring that the show starts, runs and ends on time.

Our Concert Sound Engineer is Ian Grandy. His job involves the choosing and placing of the individual microphones, and the mixing of the total sound from the sound board in the main house, where he also adds his effects wizardry to enhance the off-stage sound. Also as Crew Co-ordinator, Ian looks after the book-keeping and organizational needs of the crew.

Alex's personal man is Liam Birt, who, as Stage Right Technician, is responsible for the set-up and maintenance of all his amplification and effects equipment. He also choreographs the tight guitar changes Alex requires, assisted by his look alike cohort Jack Secret (a.k.a. Tony Geranios), who is also the guitar maintenance man, and keeps the instruments in tune during the show. Tony also sets up and maintains the synthesizers for both Alex and Geddy.

Skip Gildersleeve is Geddy's right hand man, as Stage Left Technician. Better known to friends and fans alike as the Slider, he is the one who sets up and maintains all of Geddy's guitars and amplifiers, effecting his instrument changes, and on-stage needs.

Larry Allen appears nightly as Centre Stage Technician, setting up and meticulously maintaining the drum kit. He also is responsible for getting the sticks and assorted mallets into Neil's hands in time for his changes. Larry also serves as the Official Tour Shravis.

Our films are made by a man from New York called Nick Prince, and our projectionist is Harry Dilman.

Those daring drivers are George Hoadley, Pat Lynes, Arthur "Mac" MacLear, and Tom Whittaker.

Concert Sound by National Sound, Springfield, Va.
Technicians -- Tom Linthicum, Terry Ward, and Greg Connolly
Lighting by See Factor Industries, Inc., New York City
Thanks also to: Fanfare Sound, Chicago/Electrosound P.A., U.K./Len Wright Travel, U.K./See Factor Trucking, New York City/Edwin Shirley Trucking, U.K.
Management is by Ray Danniels and Vic Wilson, SRO Productions, Toronto, Canada

Booking Agencies

Canada -- The Agency, Toronto
United States -- American Talent International, New York City
United Kingdom -- Bron Agency, London

Correspondence -- P.O. Box 640, Thornhill, Ontario, Canada L3T 4A5

Alex Lifeson

My amplifiers are three Hiwatt 100's spread over four 4x12 Hiwatt cabinets and one Leslie cabinet, with one spare amplifier and two spare cabinets. A Fender J.B.L. Twin Reverb is used for primary p.a. miking.

My guitars are one each Gibson ES335, Gibson ES355, Gibson Les Paul Standard, Gibson Custom Double-Neck, custom built Pyramid, Fender Stratocaster, Roland Guitar Synthesizer, Gibson Dove, Gibson J-55, Gibson B45-12, Gibson C-60 classical, and a Ramirez classical. I also play a set of Moog Taurus pedals.

The effects I use are three Rolands 301 Space Echo's, one Roland chorus, an Electric Mistress, a Morley volume pedal, a Cry Baby Wah Wah, a Maestro parametric filter, Ashley pre-amps for the acoustic guitars, and a custom build effects board designed by L.B., and built by Steele-Power Supply.

Neil Peart

My drums are all by Slingerland, with the inner surface of the wooden shells treated with a process called Vibra-Fibing. This consists of a thin layer of glass fibre and resin, which cuts of two 24" bass drums, 6",8",10", and 12" concert toms, 12", 13", 15", and 18" tom-toms, and a 5"x14" wood shell snare drum. All cymbals are by Avedis Zildjian, with the exception of an 18" Chinese cymbal. The Zildjians are 6" and 8" splash, two 16", one 18" and one 20" crash cymbals, and 22" ride, a pair of 13" high-hits, and 18" pang and a 20" China type.

In the percussion department are orchestra bells, tubular bells, wind chimes, cratoles, timbales, tympani, gong, temple blocks, bell tree, triangle, and melodic cowbells.

For heads I use Remo black dots on the snare and bass drums, Ludwig silver dots on the concert toms and timbales, and Evans Looking Glass (top), and Speed King pedals, and Tama and Pearl stands. I use Pro-Mark 747 drumsticks with the vanish sanded off the gripping area.

Geddy Lee

I use two Rickenbacker 4001 basses, one Rickenbacker 4002 bass, one custom-modified Fender Precision, one custom Rickenbacker double-neck, incorporating a 4001 bass and a twelve-string. All my basses are fitted with Badass bridges and Roto-Sound strings, and a Roland Chorus is used on the guitar.

My amps are two BGW 750-B's, through two Ashley pre-amps, into two 2x15 Teal design cabinets, and two Ampeg V4B 2x15 cabinets. All cabinets are fitted with JBL K140 speakers. I also use a Fender Twin Reverb for guitar.

My synthesizer set-up consists of a Mini-Moog, Moog Taurus pedals, an Oberheim eight-voice polyphonic, and a Roland Space Echo.

Smartphone Wallpaper

Our RUSH smartphone wallpapers have been modified for an 18:9 aspect ratio to fit "most" Smartphones.