These images are for personal use only, and cannot be redistributed without explicit permission from the webmaster. This gallery features high quality Rush art from the albums and tourbooks for use as desktop wallpaper. Most of these images were simply cropped to fit your monitor, while others were manipulated (requiring a few liberties) to fit the 4x3 proportion. Whenever possible, informational quotes have been included relating to the images. Need download and installation help? Having trouble displaying these wallpapers on your widescreen monitor?
"The Rush Art Gallery": this Power Windows website original image features every studio and live album arranged by release date. Inspired by the original Retrospective linernotes artwork, this composite image was created by merging aspects of the liner art from the Retrospectives and Gold compilation albums with the remaining studio and live album covers. This image is updated with all new studio and live Rush releases. Click here for a version for widescreen monitors.
"I used the explosion graphic because I felt that it represented the nature of the band. For a three-piece group they had a lot of power and force in their sound...We agreed on a concept and an approach. In Rush's early days they didn't have much money and so I kept it to a 2 colour job (black and red)" - Paul Weldon, Chemistry
Fly By Night, cover painting by Eraldo Carugati, who later painted the covers of the four KISS solo albums released in 1978.
"One of the first lyrics I submitted to Alex and Geddy was 'Fly By Night,' and when the time came to make our first album together, we decided that was a good title. (Our other candidate was Aurora Borealis, so we probably made the better choice.) As a bird lover since childhood, I remembered an illustration of a snowy owl swooping down toward the viewer with fierce eyes, and I suggested an image like that for the cover, maybe with the northern lights in the background. It fell to me to talk on the phone to the record company artist in Chicago, and try to describe this picture in words. In the same way that writing those few lyrics for the band would lead to me becoming the band's chief wordsmith, that phone conversation led to me becoming the 'graphic arts supervisor.'" - Neil Peart, The Complete Tour Books 1977-2004, 2005
Artwork from a Fly By Night tour tshirt, later included in the "2006 Official Wall Calendar".
Caress of Steel: The lyric sheet was altered to create the live photos collage; the live photos were taken June 25th, 1975, at Toronto's Massey Hall, one of the last shows of the Fly By Night tour. The image on the far right, originally found in the live photo collage, later appeared in the R30 Tourbook.
"In 1975, just before we recorded our next album, Caress of Steel, our manager, Ray, showed me an illustration by the keyboard player with one of Ray's other clients, Ian Thomas. The keyboard player was Hugh Syme, and thus began a 30-year collaboration between Hugh and me, on album covers, tour books, my own book covers, instructional videos, Buddy Rich tribute albums, concert DVDs - basically anything with my name on it, would have Hugh's name on it. Hugh and I learned some lessons early on. We discussed ideas for the Caress of Steel cover, and Hugh drew the illustrations and even made each of the letters from acrylic resin, cast in three dimensions. However, someone at the record company felt inspired to make a few 'creative' alterations, and when I first saw the completed album (in a record store in Winnipeg, as I recall), the illustrations were framed in bizarre fluffy clouds, and instead of the silvery, metallic look we had envisioned, the whole cover had an awful, washed-out tint of...let's say cold tea." - Neil Peart, The Complete Tour Books 1977-2004, 2005
"[Hugh Syme] was playing for the Ian Thomas Band when I met him, and they had the same management company as us. They showed me some artwork he'd done for Ian Thomas and I really liked it. I had collaborated on 'Fly By Night' with the art director at Mercury Records, so I was kind of the spokesperson for our graphic arts department. I still am. Hugh and I struck up such an artistic collaboration that he and I can be on the phone and bounce ideas off each other, and know how it's going to look before it's done. He does my book covers, my videos, the instructional DVD...he's my graphics art guy." - Neil Peart, Classic Rock, October 2004
"The first one I did was Caress of Steel. They were pencil drawings, even though they don't look like it on the album. They printed them in a sort of pseudo-sepia tone. I had vignetted with an airbrush the blue area around the illustrations, which was later reinterpreted by the film strippers who were making the jackets in Chicago at the time. They took it upon themselves to cut a hard-edged mask around it. The lettering was cast, and chrome plated." - Hugh Syme, Creem, 1983
2112: both the front and back cover were enhanced to fit the width of your monitor. Bob King, credited as design assistant to Hugh Syme in the linernotes on A Farewell to Kings, Hemispheres and Archives, was photographed as the starman, and would later be photographed as Dionysus on Hemispheres and as one of the movers on Moving Pictures.
"All it means is the abstract man against the masses. The red star symbolizes any collectivist mentality." - Neil Peart, Creem, 1982
"The man is the hero of the story. That he is nude is just a classic tradition ... the pureness of his person and creativity without the trappings of other elements such as clothing. The red star is the evil red star of the Federation, which was one of Neil's symbols. We basically based that cover around the red star and that hero." - Hugh Syme, Creem, 1983
"The Red Star represents the Solar Federation on 2112, and the man standing against it is supposed to represent the individual standing against this authoritarian government. And it's come to become our logo, for want of a better word. It bascially stands for the individual against the masses." - Geddy Lee, "Rockline", May 21, 1984
"All the World's a Stage, where you opened up the cover and, wow, there were three pages of pictures of us in action on stage...." - Geddy Lee with Geoff Barton, Sounds #66, November 1981
A Farewell to Kings: the back cover was enhanced to fit the width of your monitor. Rush artist Hugh Syme had previously played keyboards in The Ian Thomas band, whose guitarist, Josh Anderson, was called on to be the "puppet king".
"He was really a rake of a man, really, really thin and he was perfect for the part. He had a beautifully receding forehead already and all I had to do was go and retouch his mouth, shoulder and knee joints to appear mannequin-like." - Hugh Syme, Chemistry
"The sky and the foreground are not in the same place. The buildings and the sky are from Toronto, and the foreground was a demolished warehouse in Buffalo. I would've loved a cathedral in the same condition, or something more worthy of the pathos you were intended to feel for an old building being in that state. We also began a series of puns with that album, in that the King is a puppet King." - Hugh Syme, Creem, 1983
Archives, a reissue of the first three studio albums as a triple set, released shortly following A Farewell to Kings. Originally released with a gray cover, the album was repackaged with a black cover sometime around 1981. With both images, I removed some of the space between the album's title and the star image, allowing me to give a larger crop of the subject matter. The band member portraits originally appeared in the A Farewell To Kings tour book.
"Well, that's basically a sore point with the marketing aspect of the management. They had the name of the package in mind as Archives, and I had every intention of making a look as much a part of the archives as possible-as opposed to being a rock 'n' roll cover. It's almost a library piece. It's changed a little bit: it was sort of repackaged again two years ago. For all the cover being very sedate-albeit a little boring and uneventful-it involved a special cover treatment which was actually more expensive than most covers." - Hugh Syme, Creem, 1983
Hemispheres: I manipulated the poster insert for the band member image. Click here for the cover image cropped for widescreen monitors.
"...we still don't talk about Hemispheres..." - Neil Peart, The Complete Tour Books 1977-2004, 2005
"The band told me, 'Go ahead, we'll see it when we get back,' because they were in Wales for the whole album and all my conversations with them were over the telephone. They didn't see it until it got out. Technically, it's an abomination. Once again, it's an effort in the progressive area of punning. They talk about Apollo and Dionysius in the lyrics, so I figured that Apollo would be the severe, Magritte business man, and that Dionysius would, again, be the reinstitution of a figure." - Hugh Syme, Creem, 1983
"Permanent Waves is the result of a conversation which I had with Neil out at his home in the country. We spoke all evening about Rush growing up, and how we were going to do these EKG readings of each member as they were recording. We were going to tape their temples and chests and have real heartbeats of them while they were playing. So Permanent Waves was going to be a technical statement, and we were going to treat that with red and gold foil, and do a nice study in design- as opposed to a photographic thing. I walked out and, in the doorway, said 'Wait! Let's try something with Donna Reed, with her permanent Toni hairdo, and have her walking out of a tidal wave situation.' Neil gave me this blank look and said, 'Get out of here.' The following day, he asked me to consider doing just that because he'd discussed it with the band, and they'd all thought it was more likely for a cover than the serious approach." - Hugh Syme, Creem, 1983
"The woman on the cover is really a symbol of us. If you think that's sexist in a negative way - well, it's really looking at ourselves so I don't think it can be. The idea is her perfect imperturbability in the face of all this chaos. In that she represents us. In the basic sense, all that cover picture means is forging on regardless, being completely uninvolved with all the chaos and ridiculous nonsense that's going on around us. Plus she represents the spirit of music and the spirit of radio, a symbol of perfect integrity and truth and beauty." - Neil Peart, Sounds, April 5, 1980
The newspaper on the cover is the infamous November 4th, 1948 edition of the Chicago Tribune, who forced the band to alter the headline on most editions of the cover. Different alterations exist on various pressings; the version offered here utilizes a combination of sources to recreate the original infamous newspaper headline. In addition, as explained below Coca-Cola asked that their brand logo be removed from the billboard on the far-right of the cover; here is a crop of the original cover with the Coca-Cola sign intact.
"There are always the inevitable last minute crises, such as the Chicago Daily Tribune being still so embarrassed about their 'Dewey defeats Truman' error of more than thirty years ago that they actually refused to let us use it on the cover!" - Neil Peart, "Personal Waves", Permanent Waves Tourbook
"We shot the newspaper with the headline 'Dewey Defeats Truman,' which now looks like '(Arabic)-Daily-(Arabic),' because we got a threat from the legal people at the Chicago Tribune, who are still embarrassed about their over-anxious printing of that headline...anything that pertains to that headline, according to the Chicago Tribune, is an embarrassment, and is subject to litigation if we were to print up any facet of it. To boot, Coca-Cola asked that we strip out their billboard way off in the background because it was too close to a cotton-clad mons pubis." - Hugh Syme, Creem, 1983
The background scene pictured on the Permanent Waves cover is the corner of Seawall Boulevard and 23rd Street in Galveston, Texas, photographed by Flip Schulke during Hurricane Carla on September 11th, 1961, with a photograph of model Paula Turnbull added in.
"We finally came across a photo by a man called Flip Schulke. Flip had been known to strap himself to telephone poles to grab the worst of the weather on the Florida coast and this was one of those images. I was able to work with that as a foundation [click here for more infomation]." - Hugh Syme, Chemistry
"A pun, a pure pun. It became pertinent to me later that the Queen's Park building In Toronto where it was shot had all the right elements: three arches, three pillars per arch; there are three members of Rush, and all of that. I asked that the witch be in there, only because of the song 'Witch Hunt', which I played on. The one painting had to be of Joan Of Arc as far as I was concerned - which ended up being a bit of a nightmare because I couldn't find any archival pictures or paintings which were suitable. So I ended up getting some burlap, and a pine post, two sticks and a bottle of scotch. Deborah Samuel, the photographer who I used on that session, got wrapped up in burlap so she could make her cameo appearance. We just lit lighter fluid in pie plates in the foreground. It was basically a half hour session because we had no other alterative but to do it ourselves." - Hugh Syme, Creem, 1983
"The photographs taken by Deborah Samuel in the inside sleeve were done in sequence to symbolize the moving pictures as well." Alex Lifeson, "Rockline", May 15, 2002
"Hugh's cover concept was his most amusing to date, but it was also expensive, and Mercury would not pay the extra cost. So Rush ended up spending $9,000 of their own money to ensure the cover's quality." - Visions
"For extras, Hugh borrowed friends, neighbours and even his hairdresser's parents - 'I had to call in a lot of favours,' he says." - Chemistry
Bob King, credited as design assistant to Hugh Syme in the linernotes on A Farewell to Kings, Hemispheres and Archives, served as one of the movers. Bob recruited his friend Mike Dixon, who discussed the cover in July 2005 (including the fact that Bob had previously served as the Starman on 2112 and as Dionysus on Hemispheres).
"We were actually supposed to be two little guys on the back, because Bobby worked on the design team with Hugh. Here is myself on the front cover [pointing at the mover second from the left carrying Joan of Arc, then pointing at his moving partner on the far left] and that's my good friend Bobby King who is the guy that got me involved in this project...He is also the same fellow in this picture here that you might recognize [points at the Starman picture], and he's also on Hemispheres! Here's my buddy Mario Prudenti [pointing at the mover third from the left holding "A Friend in Need"], and the gentleman behind this picture [the Starman] is Kelly Jay, who used to sing with Crowbar. These are some lovely relatives of Deborah Samuel, and a couple kids they brought along [pointing at the family on the right]...We shot the video footage first, which you probably saw at some of the concerts. This is the Parliament Building in Toronto, so we were lucky enough that they're closed on Sundays that we got to use that, so we had a good time....When we did Exit Stage Left they brought me back." - Mike Dixon, GregNosek.com, July 26, 2005
"When Hugh Syme was developing the multitude of puns for the cover, he wanted the guys 'moving pictures' to have some 'moving pictures' to be moving past the people who were 'moved' by the 'picture' - get it? The card-playing dogs [C.M. Coolidge's "A Friend in Need"] are there because it was a funny, silly idea - one of the most cliche'd pictures we could think of - a different kind of 'moving picture.'" - Neil Peart, "Backstage Club Newsletter", December 1985.
Rush Through Time, a compilation album released by Mercury Records in Holland, Mexico, and perhaps elsewhere, shortly after the release of Moving Pictures. The cover image previously appeared in the Hemispheres Tourbook, as well as the front cover of The Words And The Pictures, Vol. I.
"Released by the German company entirely without our knowledge or consent (not that they need it), and certainly contains nothing of any interest - not even the cover, and certainly not that title. We wouldn't do that. Have you noticed that everyone puns with our name except us?" - Neil Peart, "Backstage Club Newsletter", September 1988
Exit...Stage Left, the complete cover, manipulated to fit your monitor by removing some of the dead space to capture the full image in a 4x3 screen space. The cover contains elements from all previous albums; click here for a complete list.
"The whole title came from a character in an American cartoon called Snagglepuss. He's a great little creature, a lion, and every time there's trouble he flees, uttering 'Exit...stage left' or 'Exit...stage right'. But the fact of the matter was that the album cover picture was taken from stage left. And coincidentally that's the direction in which Snagglepuss runs most of the time." - Geddy Lee, Sounds #66, November 1981
"We wanted to have Snagglepuss's tail on there. You know, 'Exit Stage Left', with a picture of just his tail. Forget it! They wanted all kinds of legal hassles and tons of money." - Neil Peart, "Jam! Showbiz", October 16, 1996
"The pictures on the inner sleeve of Exit Stage Left are unidentifiable as Rush group members. Guitarist Alex Lifeson's face is obscured by his arm, Peart has his back towards the camera and is almost obscured by assorted timpani, and Lee is just a murky blue silhouette. Geddy: 'That was sort of accidental, but in the end it worked out real well. We just picked the photographs we thought were neat and different...it's a complete departure from All the World's a Stage, where you opened up the cover and, wow, there were three pages of pictures of us in action on stage. This time we wanted to be a little more subtle..." - Geddy Lee with Geoff Barton, Sounds #66, November 1981
"The theatre scene was captured at Toronto's Winter Garden Theatre, which had been closed since 1928 and had fallen into disrepair. The plan was to use the original people from previous album covers, which caused no end of problems. 'We discovered the perils of having people waiting,' says Hugh Syme; worse, some had unexpected expectations. 'Paula Turnbull [the same model pictured on Permanent Waves] became a noted model in Europe - enough that when I brought her back, she was appalled to know that I didn't have a trailer for her.' Josh Anderson, the original "king" on A Farewell To Kings couldn't get there at all: his plane was delayed due to weather...'We had owls, we had a of of people in attendance but no puppet king. I, believing with the blind optimism that I have, that if I go down Yonge Street in the middle of a blizzard, I just might get lucky. So, we were touring down Yonge Street, between the windscreen wipers I could see peoples' faces vaguely through the blizzard and I saw this guy like a beacon. There he was, a thin man in the midst of our panic, on Yonge street. I jumped out of the car, went up to him and he was pretty taken aback, because I was not in the frame of mind to being sensitive to what a passer by may think of this request, I was hell bent on having him come to the session and do this. He said he was en route to the stereo shop to buy a stereo and I said, can it wait, can you come, can you go into makeup. He went into makeup for two hours and he came out a puppet. No one has ever noticed that it was not the same character and I bought the man his stereo for his services.'" - Chemistry
"We decided to go with the girl pulling the curtain back on the front instead of the back. It was originally intended to be the other way around, so when I flipped the photograph over, I had to write 'RUSH' on the equipment box in the foreground, and I had to strip out the information on the Stage Door and write in the word 'EXIT.' [The crowd shot is from an actual Rush concert in Buffalo, N.Y.], we really wanted the band. Believe it or not, we went to about 15 shows, trying to get the band saying 'Thank you, good night,' and at the same time, walking towards the camera." - Hugh Syme, Creem, 1983
Signals: I rearranged the group images and merged them with the album title graphic for the composite group image, and enhanced the subdivision blueprint to fit your monitor. The school on the back cover is named after then-Montreal Expo baseball player Warren Cromartie, and both he and the Expos are thanked in the Signals linernotes. Geddy would later sing backup vocal on the song "Who's Missin Who" on the 1988 album Take A Chance, for Warren Cromartie's band, Climb.
"With Signals, I'd planned to connect each band member to an ECG machine while they were playing, and show those three waves on the cover. Simple and elegant, we thought. Then, the Police album Ghost In The Machine was released with a similar concept, and it was back to the drawing board. Radio towers, Marconi and Tesla inventions, even the classic joke joy buzzer all fell onto the cutting room floor. Then, in a moment of glib frustration, I suggested - to the consternation of Ray Danniels - the dog and hydrant. Who could know, then, how favoured that cover would become?" - Hugh Syme, Classic Rock Special Edition, June 11, 2012
"We wanted the album to sound different and we also thought that the packaging should have a different feel. When we were talking about Signals, Hugh had this concept of taking the idea down to a basic human level - territorial or even sexual. So that's how the design with the dog and the fire hydrant came about. The little map on the back features make-believe subdivisions, with a lot of silly names and places. The red dots represent all the fire hydrants and basically the whole thing maps out a series of territories." - Geddy Lee, Success Under Pressure, 1984
"I was given the word 'Signals.' It was such a broad concept that it was baffling for all of us. We really had trouble with that one, and I decided that, with such a phenomenally important word with the kind of potency it potentially had, to go with something really dumb, really inane. But something which would still tie in with songs such as 'Chemistry,' and the subdivision aspect of the fire hydrants, lawns, and neighborhood dogs. The back cover's a little subtle, perhaps over-indulgent. Again, it's been fodder for some of those quizzes you hear on the radio. It hasn't been totally ignored..." - Hugh Syme, Creem, 1983
Anthology, a compilation album released by Mercury Records in Venezuela, after the release of Signals. Art and Design by Grafi/Record. I manipulated the left side of the image to fill the 4x3 proportion of your monitor.
"Neil let Hugh know what was happening with the lyrics and he got an idea of the music from the rough tapes. He went ahead and did a beautiful abstract painting, which I think is the best he's ever done." - Alex Lifeson, Free Music, June 1984
"The serene and peaceful bottom part of the picture represents 'grace', the turbulent and troubled top represents 'pressure'. Thus; 'grace' under "pressure', or 'P' over 'G'. The humanoid figure is just a symbol relating to the two conditions, but also relates a bit to 'The Body Electric.'" - Neil Peart, "Backstage Club Newsletter", Janurary 1988
"The background imagery simply mirrors the P/G symbol; grace UNDER pressure In a physical sense. Abstract, but simple. The head represents the onlooker perhaps, or an 'everyman' symbol facing the world, and perhaps a hint of the character In 'The Body Electric'. That's about it really." - Neil Peart, "Backstage Club Newsletter", September 1988
"...the people in 'Red Sector A', the concentration camp, are being graceful under pressure. Despite those horrific conditions, they tried to retain some semblance of normal living conditions - something they can hold on to. One idea for the album cover was someone reaching out from behind barbed wire to clutch a flower." Neil Peart, Music Express, June 1984
"Well, we were all sitting around in Horseshoe Valley, a place north of Toronto where we were writing new material, and we were discussing what to do about the LP sleeve. I said to Neil, 'Why don't we go for a real nice black and white portrait on the back, we've never really done anything like that before'. Geddy immediately latched on to the idea and said, 'Yeah, why don't we get Karsh?!' Everyone's reaction was positive, but we didn't think we had a chance. We thought, well, we can try, but he didn't strike us as being the kind of photographer likely to do this sort of thing. But he did!...basically he's a photographer of Hollywood actors and Royalty...and just about everyone in between! Looking at it, you can see that Karsh's pictures are very honest, they're not flattering in any way. Everybody in the band looks...a little older, a little rougher (laughs). But I think that's good. It's definitely not a rock 'n' roll picture, but it's a very true, realistic picture of the three of us." - Alex Lifeson, Kerrang!, May 3-16, 1984
"We enjoyed a pleasant day in Ottawa, having ourselves immortalized by the famous portrait photographer, Yousuf Karsh. It was an inspiring and elevating experience to sit before the lens of the portrayer of kings, queens, presidents, popes, astronauts, authors, scientists and film stars. And there he was, taking an album cover photo for bums like us! It was wonderful to see, at his seventy-five years of age, his tremendous energy, creativity and swift changes of mood. He provided us with a memorable and broadly applicable quote when told that the lights in the room were not independently adjustable: 'That is not an answer that I can accept. That is not an answer that I can accept!'"- Neil Peart, "Pressure Release", P/G Tourbook
"We left for Karsh's Ottawa studio at six in the morning for a ten o'clock photo session. It's a very honest, real picture of the band but it was not taken at the best of times. I don't know if it's really as strong as we thought it could be." - Alex Lifeson, Free Music, June 1984
"I think the picture brings out our personalities quite nicely. But it also looks like a bar mitzvah photo, doesn't it?" - Geddy Lee, St. Paul Pioneer Press
Power Windows: I rearranged and merged the group images with the cover's album title graphic for the composite group image. The cover is an original painting by Hugh Syme, which later hung in the SRO offices in Toronto. The televisions pictured on the cover are based in reality: the one in the foreground is a 1949 General Electric Bakelite "Locomotive", while the two in the rear were both made in 1958 by Predicta.
"It is pretty abstract...I love the scene of this sort of Billy Bibbit-like character confused as to his reality. The windows that he's looking out are in a sense very powerful windows. This is an album of power. We are talking about different types of power and the way they affect us, and the way they affect him. The boy is a little shaken as to which way he should look and which window is his reality." - Geddy Lee, "Rockline", Nov 18, 1985
"The three [television] sets represent Alex, Geddy and Neil, the boy has a power window to Rush. But is the boy closing the window to reality and just living in Rush world?" - Visions
"From a commercial standpoint, the icons of those old televisions were lovely, recognisable. It also had a Marshall McLuhan nod to the power window that television is, so it all made sense. [Photographer] Dimo Safari and I tirelessly searched locations to find the right window and cedar floorboards. We 'auditioned' several vintage televisions from several collectors that Dimo had been acquanted with." - Hugh Syme, Chemistry
"There have been times when art has been embellished, or revised by the band. Power Windows was one; I was steadfast that the lonely boy trying to control his world with his television remote should be in an empty room. Geddy overruled me on that, and I'm now grateful that I bowed to his convictions. The cover is much more intriguing and engaging for the collection of old Philco TV sets painted into the left side of the canvas. That's probably my favourite cover too, for artistic and personal reasons. The eleven weeks of painting coincided with the death of my father; my work was my solace." - Hugh Syme, Classic Rock Special Edition, June 11, 2012
"Probably Power Windows [of all my album covers resonates with me most], for both artistic and personal reasons. The 11 weeks of painting coincided with the death of my father. I came to discover that work, my work, was my solace." - Hugh Syme, PROG #26, June 2012
"The three balls, geometrically and physically create a tension in the way they're suspended. They relate to the balls of fire, as it relates to holding your creative fires." - Geddy Lee, "Only Music", December 1987
"We began with the idea which appears on the inner sleeve, then decided it would be graphically interesting to simplify it down to the image which appears on the cover, and let the full image be revealed in a secondary manner. Reverse reduction." - Neil Peart, "Backstage Club Newsletter", September 1988
"Perplexing as it was for management to comprehend (who were approving the budget for this street scene extravaganza), Hugh decided to retire the street scene to the inner sleeve, replacing it with an outer cover that was shocking in its simplicity. In these pre-digital days, however, even this was not simple to produce. 'The "Rush" type was vacuum formed and inset into a 4 x 8 feet plastic surface that was then painted by an auto body shop,' explains [photographer] Glen [Wexler]. 'The red balls are a repetition of a suspended billiard ball.' There was plenty that could be read into symbolism of the three balls, caught in a mutual, perpetual orbit. 'Sure, you can look at it as three people, three balls, but it's all that and more,' said Geddy." - Chemistry
The inner sleeve's "juggler" image has been greatly enhanced by merging scans from the Hold Your Fire tourbook with the "Prime Mover" single (which offers more of the street scene than the album version, including the equipment crate on the far left of the image). In addition I also brought back the Signals dog and the boy from Power Windows which were removed from the album version by Hugh Syme at the band's request (see below). [For an even more enhanced version, where I filled the empty space in the upper third of the image with additional floors to the buildings and additional album art elements from pre-Hold Your Fire albums not originally represented with imagery (Fly By Night, 2112, A Farewell to Kings, Hemipsheres, Exit Stage Left and Grace Under Pressure), click here].
"The set [which is only 18-inches tall] was built by Scott Alexander. The road cases are only two inches square. When I look at this neighbourhood, one has to wonder, 'Where is this?' I couldn't resist putting the 'Signals' dog, Spot, next to the fire hydrant. The boy from 'Power Windows' makes another appearance, this time looking out the window, down the street, at something we're not yet made aware of." - Hugh Syme, Visions
"The band felt that the thematic 'tie-in' to the other covers was probably a bit too 'much' - where Mr. Syme had preferred the inclusion of these elements." - email from HughSyme.com explaining why the Signals dog and the boy from Power Windows were removed from the final printed version, April 21, 2003
"The cover of Hold Your Fire was art-directed by Hugh Syme as a pun-filled street scene. To tie up a city street was considered extortionate, so Hugh, living in Los Angeles at the time, decided to go small, engaging photographer Glen Wexler and three miniaturists, Patrick Johnson, Scott Alexander and Olivia Ramiriez to help bring the dark, wet street to life. 'The main building was built at 1/12 scale, as were the Jackson alley buildings (left over from a Michael Jackson shoot. 'Glen still had the buildings, so we used them to create an alley to the left of the foreground building')' explains Scott. 'The diner and the other details to the right side of the main building were done at 1/24 scale, as forced perspective elements.' Apart from working with Scott in the painting and finishing of the set, including the neon sign on the Chinese diner, and a cat in the alley that Hugh cut out of some black paper, fraying the edges to catch the light, Hugh and Glen worked for several days to light the finished set. The 'water' on the street was paint thinner, continually having to be reapplied as it kept evaporating, and the juggler's fireballs were basketballs, coated with highly flammable rubber cement. 'I combined several individual photographic images by reexposing them on 8x10 film in my darkroom,' says Glen Wexler. For characters, the original plan was to use actor Dennis Hopper as the juggler but a schedule conflict prevented this. 'We ended up casting Stanley Brock, best known for his role in the movie Tin Men, says Glen. The boy in the window with his binoculars was the same Toronto stockbroker as Hugh had sit for his painting for Power Windows, flown down to LA for the shoot. 'The final photographic components (the juggler, the three fireballs, the boy in the window with the binoculars, the Dalmatian, his fire hydrant and the shot of the minature road cases in the loading bay) were sent out to the lab for what was then called emulsion stripping, where the film for all these separate elements is literally cut to create one composite transparency.' says Hugh. 'This was then exposed to separate full scale film sheets that were each impregnated with ink. These were then each laid onto the paper to create the final dye transfer print. I would then, using bleach and dye, retouch the print to create a (hopefully) seamless sense that the final shot was taken all 'in camera' as a believable study in 'improbable reality'.'" - Chemistry
For a complete list of Rush references found within the juggler image, click here.
Hold Your Fire References: the juggler is holding fire; the Statue of Liberty, also holding fire, is seen in a window on the far right; "Tai-Shan" is the name of the restaurant written in Chinese; the address "15" denotes this as the 15th album (including Archives).
Other Rush References: the clock is at 21:12 in military time; the fire hydrant from Signals; the televisions from Power Windows; the debut album's Rush logo on the equipment box similar to the one on Exit Stage Left; an oxford shoe worn by the girl on Exit Stage Left leaning against the trash can.
"Did you find the secret phone number in there?...You could win a million dollars!" - Alex Lifeson, "Rockline", February 6th, 1989
A Show of Hands, both the CD and DVD covers, which was enhanced to fit the proportions of your monitor. The cover features "The Rockin' Constructivists", created by John Halfpenny. I reworked the small live shots included in the CD liner notes for the collage image, arranging as many images as possible to fill the 4x3 proportion of your monitor. The 'constructivist' crowd images are from the DVD package.
"Basically, it's a hill with a very dramatic background; black and white with a levitated magician's hat with a rabbit coming out of it. Then, on the field in the foreground are hundreds and hundreds of rabbits all walking around. It's very strange to see them. They all look kind of weird. Some have ears that come down, and some have weird looks, kind of stupid. Some like Geddy, you know, nose and glasses. When we first thought of the idea, we thought, 'This could be really, really stupid'. So, our fingers were crossed when Hugh Syme said he was going to send some ideas over for us to look at. We all started laughing hysterically, 'This is great, it's perfect!'" - Alex Lifeson, Kerrang! #266, November 25, 1989
"Isn't it awful when you have to explain your jokes? It's so awkward when the joke fails, and people insist you try - no one ever laughs at the explanation of a joke. Anyway, the idea was that these bunnies are taking matters into their own, um...paws, and making themselves appear from the hat, and flying around in it. Go on - laugh your head off!" - Neil Peart, "Backstage Club Newsletter", January 1994
The 1990 Profiled interview disk cover, issued by Atlantic in support of Presto. The alternate group photo of the band is perhaps the last promotional photo released with Geddy Lee not wearing glasses.
"It's been a bit of a fight with them [PolyGram]. So far we have had no control over it, they wanted to put in stuff that just doesn't belong there. Things that Geddy had done a few years ago. But now we're working something out with Atlantic's cooperation, they've been great about it. We at least want to be able to look after the packaging and try to make it as good as all our other stuff has been in the past." - Alex Lifeson, Kerrang! #266, November 25, 1989
"...the artwork was lame." - Neil Peart, Rollingstone.com Interview, June 5, 1997
Roll the Bones, besides the cover, all remaining images were greatly manipulated to fit your monitor. I created the group photo by merging the three portrait images contained in the album art. To a greater extent, I extended the "flying wishbones" to fit your monitor by stretching the background without affecting the original wishbones, and added a few more to the formation. To the back cover (the "flying femurs") I removed the song listing and expanded the right side of the image.
"The cover art reflects a style of 17th century Dutch painting called vanitas, in which symbols, such as the skull (and also candles, books, flowers, playing cards, etc.), were used to remind the good Netherlanders of life's brevity, and the ultimate transience of all material things and sensual pleasures...No order [to the numbers on the dice], just descending into chaos." - Neil Peart, "Backstage Club newsletter", January 1994
"The whole cover is based around dice, and dice were originally made from ivory, it's as simple as that. I guess we could've put a piano on there too. Neil works closely with Hugh Syme on the cover art." - Alex Lifeson discussing the photo of the elephant's ass included on the inside sleeve, Kerrang!, April 18, 1992
"I like the Roll The Bones cover quite a lot...it's one of my favorites." - Geddy Lee, "Rockline", December 14, 2005
Counterparts: the linernotes composite and back cover images both required a great deal of manipulation and enhancements to fit your monitor. The linernotes composite image, with its "counterparts", is very similar to Pink Floyd's A Nice Pair album cover (even some of the jokes are the same). The back cover is an example of "illusory triangles", an optical illusion published in National Geographic, Vol. 182, No. 5, November 1992, page 14.
"...the final stop on our Roll the Bones tour, in 1992. I was wearing bandanas on my head on that tour, to keep the sweat our of my eyes, and before the show, I got Andrew (MacNaughtan) to shave my head into a Mohawk, which I kept hidden until the encore. Then I pulled off the bandana and got a big laugh out of Alex and Geddy and the crew." - Neil Peart, Roadshow
"From Evanston, Wyoming, to Salt Lake City, it was 150 miles of mountainous riding...The elaborate fold-out booklet in our Counterparts CD showed a small black-and-white photograph of me standing in front of the band's tour bus with my bicycle. (Beside it is one of me with the Mohawk...) Andrew took that shot early on a frigid morning in the early summer of 1992, at a truck stop in Evanston, Wyoming. I was just about to set off on my second ride over that arduous route, during the Roll the Bones tour." - Neil Peart, Roadshow
The "Stick It Out", "Nobody's Hero" and "Double Agent" singles covers. The latter two were both altered to fit your screen. The "tortoise and hare" and "salt shakers" are also included in the Counterparts linernotes composite.
Test for Echo: Both of the images of the inukashuk were enhanced to fit your monitor. The "Mandelbrot Set" fractal image was also manipulated to fit your monitor; the Inuit writing translates as "Echo - we're listening for it."
"I was up in Yellowknife last June on a motorcycle trip across the country, and there's one of those Inukashuk above the town overlooking it, and I was quite taken with it. I bought a postcard almost exactly the image you see on the cover ... I just came back with this postcard and I thought of 'test for echo.' I thought that's exactly what these men mean when you're out in the wilderness ... when you've been hiking for a few days and you come across one of these things, it's such an affirmation that there's life out there. Again the same thing: it's an echo ... and that's the feeling a traveler in the Arctic would get, that it was a sign of life. The same with the satellite dishes. I was kind of referring to the search for extraterrestrial intelligence and the test for echo going out that way." - Neil Peart, "Jam! Showbiz", October 16, 1996
"Hugh Syme constructed an Inuit effigy out of rocks, but his was less than 18 inches high." - Chemistry [webmaster note, the 18" high model is made out of styrofoam.]
"Originally Neil stumbled upon this picture of himself with his old red sparkle drum kit, and he brought it in, and we thought 'well let's see if we can find one of each of us during that period'. He very much wanted to recreate the look of his new drums like his first drum set, and that kind of got the ball rolling. The search went out to find pictures from around the 13 year-old-period." - Geddy Lee, "Rockline", September 23, 1996
"The teenage pictures in the T4E package are another kind of 'echo,' and of course they have the more important attributes of being funny and...kind of cute." - Neil Peart, A Show Of Fans #17, Summer 1997
"We had actually done a version of it (the 2001: A Space Odyssey image) with three astronauts on it to reflect our three guys that keep appearing here and there as the stone-carvers and the mountain-climbers, so we had a version of that with the Inukashauk under the light and the three astronauts in the foreground. They made us change it, so that's how that came about. They were quite amenable to letting us use the original image, which I thought was nice enough, but they wouldn't hear of us (altering it). We figured that image was still relevant to the song." - Neil Peart, "Jam! Showbiz", October 16, 1996 [webmaster note: The image from was enhanced to remove the fold and staples; this image is not actually found in the film, however, and is likely from a still production photo or an outtake.]
This image of the "lost ship Fantasy" is from the tourbook. The snowflake wallpaper image is a screen capture from Neil Peart's A Work In Progress DVD, enhanced to match the proportions used on the Test for Echo cd label. The final five images shown here were all enhanced to remove staples, printed lyrics, folds, etc., or to fit the proportions of your monitor. As I had space to fill in the "Half the World" 'torn up photograph' image, I took the liberty to create a new constellation.
Retrospective I & II, released by Mercury records less than one year after the release of Test for Echo on Atlantic. The starman oil painting is by Dan Hudson. The Retrospective II cover is a simple crop, but the remaining seven images required enhancing to fit your monitor. For both gallery wall images, the frames were rearranged to fit your monitor, and both Retrospective covers were added to their respective gallery walls (in the case of Retrospective II, I removed the Retrospective I cover and replaced it with the one from Retrospective II).
"I got a little bit involved because I didn't want [Mercury Records] doing what they had done the last time they did a thing like that [Chronicles]. Last time they did it...the artwork was lame. So I got involved myself and made sure the artwork was decent..." - Neil Peart, Rollingstone.com Telephone Interview, June 5, 1997
Different Stages: The original artwork of the back cover and the "thank you" page have the same background texture, which I merged to create the final "schematic" image. The smaller Different Stages live shots were manipulated for the far right image; as many images as possible were arranged to fill the 4x3 proportion of your monitor.
"Shooting all those Rush items took me weeks... I mean weeks!!!" - Andrew MacNaugtan, TriNet Chat, December 15th, 2002
"I love the packaging he did on Different Stages, that's one of my favorites. I'm touting tickets outside; Alex in a straight jacket..." - Geddy Lee, Classic Rock, October 2004
"I had to shoot most of the Disc 3 cover...we had the original shot of the Hammersmith Odeon, but everything else had to be photographed. The road, Geddy, Alex, the ambulance...it was a big job, but I think it worked out great. Hugh is an amazing designer! Jolly Teabag was Geddy's idea." - Andrew MacNaugtan, TriNet Chat, December 15th, 2002
Vapor Trails, paintings and portraits by Hugh Syme. I manipulated the cover to fit your screen by stretching the black bands and main "vapor trail" without affecting the other elements. The second image is the cd label itself, merged with the band member portraits from the linernotes. The individual portrait images are from Rush.com, cropped and enhanced to fit your screen.
"Initially the idea was to build on the concept of vapour trails and everything from the serious to the seriously silly was explored, not least the idea of a dragon. That was quikly rejected: 'It kind of tipped the scale way too much into the era of rock music that is 'Wakemanesque', that grand and terribly British folklore kind of thing,' says Hugh. Instead, Neil agreed with Hugh that a comet would work, so the cover artist set about putting together a conceptual piece, in oil on canvas. 'It was a real quick and dirty rendering,' says Hugh, but when Neil and the others saw it, they loved the image. 'What was a study became the original for the cover!'" - Chemistry
"Vapor Trails was very immediate. The painting that I did for that was only intended to indicate to Neil the energy and impressionistic feel I thought the comet should convey. We discussed actual NASA images - specifically, a comet, which symbolised how quickly our own lives sparkle and fade - and those photos all felt too Discovery Channel. So, I did the painting the following morning, initially as a study in style. It officially became the cover later that day, before the paint had even actually dried." - Hugh Syme, Classic Rock Special Edition, June 11, 2012
"For me, [the cover] represents the burning fire of life. It is a beautiful painting, and off of [the ball of fire] comes sparks and trails and whispers... Those are very symbolic to me, they represent memory, spirit, all sorts of things that are connected to life...." - Geddy Lee, "...And the things that we leave behind." - Alex Lifeson, "Rockline", May 15, 2002
"The tarot card 'The Tower' seemed a chilling reflection of the events of September 11, 2001." - Neil Peart, "Behind The Fire", Vapor Trails Tourbook
Artwork from the "Nocturne" tshirt from the Vapor Trails tour, later included in the "2006 Official Wall Calendar". According to the RushBackstageClub, this was Neil Peart's favorite tshirt of the tour; the image is from the Tarot Card "The Moon".
Spirit of Radio Greatest Hits 1974-1987, released by Mercury records less than one year after the release of Vapor Trails on Atlantic. Art direction and design by Hugh Syme, 'then' photo by Fin Costello, 'now' photo by Andrew MacNaughtan (previously appeared in the Vapor Trails tourbook). All images were enhanced to remove staples, printed lyrics, folds, and manipulated to fit the proportions of your monitor. As the final cover image had a great deal of empty space after stretching the width, to fill space I brought the dalmation out from behind the radio.
"We did not have a lot of input in this. This was mostly a record company project. Our opinions were made known and they were very cooperative about doing good packaging for us." - Geddy Lee, USAToday.com chat, Feb 5, 2003
"In the original Vapor Trails design, Hugh Syme had one version of the cover, where on the back, very small in the corner, was this very tiny dinosaur, who was the cause of this great vapor trail. And when we were doing the preproduction for the tour, I was looking for animation ideas to use live. I wondered what it would be like to expolit that little dragon a bit more, turn him into a character, which people at Spin Productions developed into a full-blown character that we used during 'One Little Victory' live. It was a cool, humorous way to use this dragon...the dragon was picked on by Hugh to become the representative of the show in Rio, and of course he's got him dressed up like Carmen Miranda." - Geddy Lee, Contents Under Pressure
"I shot the photo that is on the front cover of the DVD - the live picture. That series of photos I shot with the idea in mind of, 'I better get shots of this. I think this could potentially be a great cover.' So I shot it vertically with the idea in mind of the shape of a DVD. I sent the roll to Hugh Syme and we talked about some ideas and I said, 'I shot these photos specifically for your consideration for the front cover.' I guess from there he sort of rolled with that and came up the dragon idea and just took it to the next level. I think it's very funny and very brilliant - it's a wonderful cover. I think he got the initial [dragon] elements from Norm [Stangl, of Spin Productions, creator of the dragon visuals for the Vapor Trails tour], but Hugh is the one that added all of the fruits and that stuff. He created all of that himself." - Andrew MacNaughtan, Fye.com, September 26, 2003
The image of the dragon statue (replacing "Christ The Redeemer") atop Corcovado mountain in Rio de Janeiro, the image of the individual band members, and the black and white photo taken by Neil's wife, Carrie Nuttall, were all enhanced to remove folds, staples, etc. This image of the dryers is from the Rush In Rio promotional CD sampler. The final six live images are from the Rush In Rio CD art.
R30: the cover art reused the 30th Anniversary tour book cover. The "postal package" is the CD sleeve from the Deluxe edition; both it and the cover of the DVD booklet, featuring the return of the dragon, were created by merging the front and back covers of their respective pieces. The live photo is a performance of "Between The Wheels" from the R30 tour.
Gold, released by Mercury records six months following the release of R30. The cover is a reworking of the Retrospectives artwork. The tray image previously appeared in the 30th Anniversary Tourbook. The third image was taken during the "Mystic Rhythms" video shoot.
Snakes & Arrows, the image was cover enhanced to fit the width of your monitor. The highway image began as a photo Neil Peart took near Amboy, California. The giant arrows are nearly identical to those at the famous "Twin Arrows Trading Post", found on "Route 66" twenty miles east of Flagstaff, Arizona.
"To my surprise, 'snakes and arrows' called up several links to something called 'Leela, The Game of Self Knowledge,' or, incredibly, 'The Game of Snakes and Arrows.'..created by Buddhist saints and sages as a game of karma-like many games, a metaphor for life...When I told Alex and Geddy about the Leela connection, and showed them the gameboard painted by Harish Johari, they were as excited by all that serendipity as I was, and we agreed to use his painting for the cover." - Neil Peart, "The Game of Snakes & Arrows"
"Leaving the park at Twentynine Palms, I continued north on the road to the ghost town of Amboy, and Roy's Motel, which appeared in Ghost Rider. In fact, unknown to most people, Amboy also appears on the booklet cover of the Snakes and Arrows CD, and lately, on the new concert DVD, plus at the beginning of the 'What's That Smell?' film that played before 'Far Cry' during our concerts this past summer. I watched it every night from my 'waiting-chair' behind Geddy's ampline (er, rotisseries), before the second set, and it always gave me a smile. Back in 2006, when Hugh Syme and I were trading ideas for that Snakes and Arrows cover, we discussed a surreal desert highway scene. As a reference, I sent him one of my Ghost Rider photographs, taken on a stretch of old Route 66, looking west toward the cluster of crumbling buildings at Amboy, with the unmistakable Amboy Crater in the distance. Hugh ended up 'building' the scene on that original photo, which had been taken in 1998 (as a slide, in those days). Like the Monument Valley ten-years-apart photo that appeared in a story earlier this year, 'South by Southwest,' I decided to pause for a ten-year anniversary shot of Route 66 and Amboy." - Neil Peart, News Weather & Sports, December 2008
The image from "Workin' Them Angels" is an illustration created by Hugh Syme with the assistance of George Eastman House, who supplied the original Lewis Hine photograph on which the illustration is based.
Snakes & Arrows Live: the cover is a variation of an image which previously appeared in the linernotes of the studio album. The "Workin Them Angels" image from the studio album reappeared in the live art, with the "angel" having received a tatoo. The back cover was greatly altered to remove the tracklisting; this image and background was frequently used on tour promotions.
Retrospective 3, released by Atlantic records, their first Rush compilation. The cover is a reworking of an image which previously appeared in the 30th Anniversary Tourbook. The title text has been removed from the cover image. For the linernotes "gallery wall" image, the frames and background were altered and rearranged to fit your monitor.
Working Men, covers of both the DVD and CD editions as well as the linernotes images, enhanced to remove the text. A compilation of three live albums, the cover includes album art elements from each of the live albums it represents. In true Syme fashion, Hugh has also included the usual "trios": in this case, three bulldozers have been added to the roadscene which includes the original three arrowheads.
Time Stand Still: The Collection: A compilation released in Europe covering the years 1974-1987, the artwork features live images from the 1970's. Three of Geddy's retired basses are pictured in the linernotes, including not only his single and doubleneck Rickenbackers but also his teardrop shaped Fender Precision.
ICON: A budget compilation covering the years 1974-1987 released by Universal in the US during the first leg of the Time Machine Tour. A larger crop of the band photo previously appeared in the 30th Anniversary Tourbook.
Moving Pictures Deluxe Edition 30th Anniversary Reissue: along with tons of never before photographs, this package includes the interesting album art image of a "picture" having been "moved", an idea reminiscent of Hugh Syme's early cover concept:
"I knew immediately I wanted to do something that was simple, a Felliniesque interpretation of moving pictures. We had a couple of ideas, one was to have a faded place on a wall where a picture had been and there was still a nail and a string hanging there, like the picture had been there and had been moved. Simply that, but it was a bit dry and retireing and we decided it would be more interesting to do something a bit more cinematic." - Hugh Syme, Chemistry
ICON 2: One year after the release of its predecessor, Universal reissued ICON with a second disk which is notable for the fact that it is the first commercial compilation of live tracks from the Mercury years. The back cover is a previously issued photo converted to red and black.
Moving Pictures: Live 2011, a vinyl only release of the Moving Pictures set from Time Machine 2011: Live In Cleveland. Unique to this release is the back cover, featuring a live shot of the band superimposed over the original album cover. The image is also offered in a cropped, borderless version.
Sectors, a remastered boxed set collection released in three parts, containing all 15 albums released with Mercury from 1974-1987. The booklets contain many images, most of which appeared in previous tourbooks.
Clockwork Angels: The sepia-toned Headlong Flight image, and the cogs showing through the cracks in the wall, are the inside front and back covers of the fan pack edition. The image of the "Seven Cities Of Gold" is a merging of the background from the digital booklet with the larger artwork from the novel. The angel holding the watch (hypnotized by the Watchmaker) appears cropped in the digital booklet; the image here is a merging of images from the digital booklet and the back cover of the fan pack magazine.
"This 'one of many possible worlds' is driven by steam, intricate clockworks, and alchemy. That last element occurred to me because I was intrigued by Diane Ackerman's use of a few alchemical symbols as chapter heads in An Alchemy of Mind. They seemed elegant, mysterious, and powerful. Soon I learned about an entire set of runic hieroglyphs for elements and processes, and as with the tarot cards for Vapor Trails, and the Hindu game of Leela for Snakes and Arrows, I became fascinated with an ancient tradition. As the lyrical 'chapters' came together, I chose one symbol to represent each of them, for the character or mood. Those would end up arrayed on the cover clockface, as first used on the 'Caravan'/'BU2B' single in early 2010. Since then they have shifted a little, as the story has grown, but you can find brimstone at one o'clock for the faith-bashing 'BU2B,' gold at six o'clock for 'Seven Cities of Gold,' earth at eleven o'clock for 'The Garden,' and so on. (The '' in Rush stands for 'amalgamation.') - Neil Peart, Clockwork Angels Tourbook
"Hugh Syme is a very clever and able designer. He works very closely with Neil on all of the artwork. He has done some really dramatic artwork for this record. It made me smile; I got it." Alex Lifeson on the clock's time being 21:12, Classic Rock Revisited, June 21, 2012
Clockwork Angels: The Novel, includes four additional images not found in the original album art. The wall with the Anarchists' graffiti also served as the back cover of the Clockwork Angels tour book.
Clockwork Angels: The Watchmaker's Edition: Read by Neil Peart, this special audiobook release includes deluxe packaging of seven CDs, each contained in their own unique CD sleeve featuring the clock indicating the disk number (one through seven). The back cover of each disk features the alchemical symbol which appears on the clockface at that time. Here is the cover of disk three, as well as the back covers of all seven disks.