Moving Pictures

Geddy Lee - Bass guitars, Oberheim polyphonic; OB-X; Mini-Moog; and Taurus pedal Synthesizers, vocals

Alex Lifeson - Six and twelve string electric and acoustic guitars, Taurus Pedals

Neil Peart - Drums kit, timbales, gong bass drums, orchestra bells, glockenspiel, wind chimes, bell tree, crotales, cowbells, plywood

Produced by Rush and Terry Brown

Arrangements by Rush and Terry Brown
Recorded and original stereo mixes mixed at Le Studio, Morin Heights, Quebec, during October and November of 1980
Engineered by Paul Northfield
Assisted by Robbie Whelan, and our computerized companions: Albert, Huey, Dewey, and Louie
Digital mastering engineered by Peter Jensen
Hugh Syme is the featured guest performer once again, playing synthesizers on 'Witch Hunt'

Art direction, graphics and cover concept by Hugh Syme
Photography by Deborah Samuel

Management: Ray Danniels, and Vic Wilson, SRO Productions, Toronto
Executive Production: Moon Records

Road Manager and Lighting Director: Howard Ungerleider
Concert Sound Engineer: Ian Grandy
Stage Manager: Michael Hirsh
Stage Right Technician, and Crew Cheif: Liam Birt
Stage Left Technician: Skip Gildersleeve
Centre Stage Technician: Larry Allen
Guitar and synthesizer Technician: Tony Geranios
Stage Monitor Mixer: Greg Connolly
Projectionist: Lee Tenner
Personal Shreve and Factotum: Kevin Flewitt

Concert Sound by National Sound
All-Stars: Tom Linthicum, Fuzzy Frazer, Dave Berman
Concert Lighting by See Factor International
Easy Co.: Nick Kotos, George Guido, Bob Kniffen, Bob Cross
Concert Rigging: the daring Bill Collins
Transportation expertly guided by Tom Whittaker, Billy Barlow, Kim Varney, Arthur MacLear, Pat Lines, Bill Fuquay, Mike and Linda Burnham

Fabulous Persons: at Le Studio: André, Yaël, Pam, Paul, Robbie, Roger, Harry, Claude & Gisele, André et Le Bouffe en Broche, Ted (Theo) McDonald, Irv Zuckerman & Associates (The Beords), Brain (Vings) Lski, George Vis, Ted Veneman, Max Lobstors, Saga & crew, 38 Special & crew (27-24), Drexel, Gerry, Griffin & Family, Terri at the Hawkins farm, Asteroids, volleyball (the Retardos & the Frantics 21-8!), the Greenie (you must be drinking!), Bill Ward, Loveman, Lovewoman & the Lovemachine, Scar & The Ignorant Wildfire Game, Top Secret, the Montreal Canadiens, Steven Shutt, Screvato, Robin & Phase One, Bill Elson, Cliff Burnstein, Jim Sotet, Sherry Levy, and the Oak Manorians.

Special British Supplement: Wild Horses; Jimmy & Sophie, Brian & Dee, Clive, Dirk (no relation), Mr. & Mrs. Robinson. Fin Costello, Bill Churchman, Alan Philips, Barry Murfet, Tex Yodell, Lofty & Stage Crew, Steve Tuck, Robbie Gilchrist

Dept. of Above-And-Beyond: Ray, Rhonda, L.B., Dear Olde Broon (a great mind thinks alike), Happy Birthday Ms. Broon (wrong again, eh, Hovis!)

Featuring Daisy as 'Ski Bane'

Our continuing appreciation to the people and products of Tama, Avedis Zildjian, and Rickenbacker

Coolidge Dog Painting from the Archives of Brown & Bigelow, St. Paul, Minnesota.

© 1981 Mercury Records © 1981 Anthem Entertainment


  • Mercury/Polygram, February 12, 1981
  • Highest Billboard Chart Position: 3 (premiered at 31 on March 7, 1981) - Certified Gold by RIAA: April 13, 1981 - Certified Platinum: April 27, 1981 - Certified 2x Platinum: October 12, 1984 - Certified 4x Platinum: January 27, 1995
  • "YYZ" was nominated for the Best Rock Instrumental Performance Grammy in 1982 (their first nomination). The winner was "Behind My Camel" by The Police, from Zenyatta Mondatta, the first track written for the band solely by guitarist Andy Summers. In the Police biography Walking on the Moon, producer Nigel Gray stated he believes that the title was an in-joke by Andy Summers: "He didn't tell me this himself but I'm 98% sure the reason is this: what would you find behind a camel? A monumental pile of shit."
  • Released July 7, 1998, the Small Soldiers soundtrack includes DJ Z-Trip's "Tom Sawyer" remix (later included on the DJ Z-Trip All Pro Soundtrack compilation). A promo CD was also released containing an "Alternative Punchit Scratchit Remix" and a "Rock Slamfist Remix".
    "I thought the remix of 'Tom Sawyer' was great, and a few stations have even been playing this lately. What pissed me off was that some of our fans were calling up these stations and denouncing the newer version and demanding it not be played." - Geddy Lee (source unknown)
  • Reissued November 10, 1992, as a Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs Ultradisc II 24 KT Gold CD
  • Reissued April 6, 2011 as the 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition, available on CD/DVD and CD/Blu-Ray. Based on preorders alone, the week before the 30th Anniversary reissue the album re-entered Billboard's Top 200 Albums Chart at #137; the chart shows that the album has spent 69 weeks on the chart and previously peaked at #3. After one week, however, the album dropped out of the top 200.
  • Reissued July 24, 2015 by Universal Music Enterprises on 200-gram, heavyweight vinylwith 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.
  • Click here for the 'Moving Pictures' Transcript Archive.

In Their Own Words

"There are usually one or two songs that you're struggling with tooth and nail. 'Tom Sawyer' was one of those songs, and right up until the end it was a struggle. Everything we did on that song was just like pulling teeth. Alex went through a hundred different sounds for the guitar solo. There's always one song that haunts you and drives you crazy." - Geddy Lee, Classic Rock, October 2004
"There's no making ['Tom Sawyer'] easier to play - it still takes everything I've got. To get the right sound and feel, a drum part like 'Tom Sawyer' requires full-force, blunt-object pounding with hands and feet, but there's also a demanding level of technique, smoothness, and concentration. Playing 'Tom Sawyer' properly - or as close as I can get on a given night - requires full mental, technical, and physical commitment, and I can't imagine there would be any way to make that kind of output easier. And if you ask me, it shouldn't be. If it wasn't hard, it wouldn't be satisfying to get it right!" - Neil Peart, "Thus Spoke Neil", Drum Magazine, June 2009
"The title [YYZ] refers to the identity code used by the Toronto International Airport. We used the Morse Code signal emitted by the control tower as a rhythmic device for the introduction (-.--/-.--/--..) dah dit dah dah dah dit dah dah/dah dah dit dit, = Y-Y-Z." - Neil Peart, "Notes On The Making of Moving Pictures", Modern Drummer, February 1983
"Sometimes I have a change of heart about being in the first person, and change to the third person. For instance, in 'Limelight', which was a delicate subject to handle, especially for Alex and Geddy, for them to be able to sympathise and empathise with the song, there were times when I had to change it from the first person, to say 'One must put up barriers to keep oneself intact'. Whereas my original intention had been 'I must put up. . . ' And when Geddy suggested that change of focus, I realised it was right. Because it's not just me who has to do this." - Neil Peart, Sounds, March 14, 1981
"Parts one and two do exist, in my notebook. Part one was called 'The Enemy Within'; how fear affects your life and restricts what you do. And part two was called 'The Weapon'; how fear is used against you. How other people keep you in your place, or keep you out of theirplace." - Neil Peart, Sounds, March 14, 1981, confirming the original "Fear" trilogy was already completely written at the time of the release of "Witch Hunt" in 1981
"We were looking for an urban sound effect, and we ended up using a part of Superman, when Clark Kent is arriving at the offices of the Daily Planet amid the traffic and bustle of Metropolis." Neil Peart, "Rush Backstage Club Newsletter", October 1991, regarding the city sounds at the beginning of "The Camera Eye"
"I remember the day 'Witch Hunt' was recorded. Sadly, it was the same night that John Lennon was shot in New York. We were right in the middle of recording it when that all went down. It's one of those songs that means as much today, if not more, considering what's gone on in the world with racial profiling and all these different issues. The sentiment of that song is as appropriate as ever." - Geddy Lee,, April 15, 2011
"We weren't really keen on playing 'The Camera Eye' for a very long time. It wasn't until we ended up doing the whole Moving Pictures album that we made an effort. It ended up being our favorite song to play on a nightly basis. It's a challenging song to play and it's long. There are a lot of ups and downs and a lot of melody changes and key changes. It's a workout but to play it well is very, very satisfying for us. We'll continue to play it on this next tour. [Webmaster's Note: based on this, one can assume that they intended to include "The Camera Eye" on the Clcokwork Angels tour, but that it was ultimately dropped due to time constraints.]" - Alex Lifeson, Guitar Player, November 2012
"It's funny, some of those old songs sound so strange to me now, but when you start playing them you get back into that head-space you were in when they were written and recorded. It's really all about your sense of perspective. A few years ago we brought back 'The Camera Eye'. I never wanted to play that song. I never thought it was particularly worthy. And yet it was one the most requested Rush songs. I couldn't understand it. How could people be so wrong? I realised I underestimate the moment in time - the context of that moment. When we started playing 'The Camera Eye', I thought, okay, there are a lot of pretentious moments in this song. It hasn't aged well. But then I started re-learning the keyboard parts and putting together a slightly different version - instead of eleven minutes it clocks in at nine-and-a-half. And in the playing of it, yes, I fell in love with it again. And that's where it becomes very subjective, and not objective. I stopped being able to tell if it was a pretentious song, and I just enjoyed playing those chords and I remembered why the song got recorded in the first place - I liked the chord progression and the vocal melodies. You can go back to that time and appreciate what you were trying to do. This song - it was a point in your life, and fans want to relive that point in your life and you can have fun playing it. I dig the hell out of that song now." - Geddy Lee,, May 2015
"The Morse code came from a flight back to Toronto. I had a friend who picked us up in a Piper Aztec, a little six-seater plane. The Morse code notifier for Toronto was YYZ. We were listening to it and Geddy or Neil commented on the rhythm of it, what a cool rhythm that would be." - Alex Lifeson,, November 20, 2015


A Rush Newsreel

Byline: Neil Peart

Moving Pictures Tourbook, click to enlarge

... Dateline: New York City, May 9, 1980.

In the midst of a crowded and chaotic backstage scene, following the second of our four nights at the Palladium, a few quiet words of agreement became the unlikely conception for this album. Prior to this, it had been our announced intention to record and release a second live album, but an unlooked-for charge of ambition and enthusiasm caused a last-minute resolution to throw caution out the window! (onto 52nd St.), and dive headlong into the making of a studio elpee instead. The reasons for this are difficult to put on paper, being somewhat instinctive, but all of us had been feeling very positive, and our Research and Development Dept. (sound check jams) had been very spirited and interesting, so it was felt that the creative hiatus provided by a live album was not really necessary at present, and it would be more timely and more satisfying to embark on the adventure of a new studio album. Right!

... Dateline: London, June 4, 1980.

It is never too late to change plans, but not so with arrangements! Thus we went ahead with the live tapings we had planed, recording our five shows at the Hammersmith Odeon, as well as dates from Glasgow, Manchester, and Newcastle. Then we would record some shows in this upcoming tour, and put together a live set that would represent a wider scope of our concerts, musically, temporally, and geographically. This is no bad thing, and should prove to be a good move, unless we change our minds again, in which case we could combine three tours, or four, or...

... Dateline: Toronto, July 28, 1980.

An intense thunderstorm raged outside all day long, while indoors a storm of a different kind was brewing. In the studios of Phase One, two complete sets of equipment crammed the room, and two complete bands filled the air with a Wagnerian tumult, as Max Webster and ourselves united to record a song for their album, called "Battlescar." This could only be a very unique and enjoyable experience, attempting something on such a scale as this, and I think the result will testify to its success. This day also afforded Pye Dubois (Max's lyricist) the opportunity to present us with a song of his, humbly suggesting that it might be suitable for us, if we were interested. Having been long-time admirers of Pye's work, we were indeed interested, and it eventually became "Tom Sawyer," and it is interesting that an identifiable Max influence crept into the music, by way of Pye's lyrical input.

... Dateline: Stony Lake, Ontario, August, 1980.

The address and time of year will probably best describe the setting, as the creative work begins in earnest. For those interested in Alex's adventures in aviation, it may be reported that a large pile of wreckage, and a rather sizeable hole in the top of a truck, bear witness to his prowess in the field of radio-controlled airplanes. (There's a man outstanding in -- Never mind!) Happily, he was somewhat more fortunate in his dealings with the genuine article, (and on many an afternoon) could be seen buzzing and strafing the house.

These exciting distractions aside, we were banished to the barn, and began the process of assembling ideas, both musical and lyrical. "The Camera Eye" was the first to be written, soon followed by "Tom Sawyer," "Red Barchetta," "YYZ," and "Limelight." Things were taking shape.

It is interesting sometimes to retrace the sources of some of the musical ideas; for instance, the instrumental section of Tom Sawyer grew from a little melody that Geddy had been using to set up his synthesizers at sound checks, then was forgotten until we were searching for a part in that song, when it emerged as very strong theme. "YYZ" is the identity code used by Toronto International Airport, and the intro is taken from the Morse code which is sent out by the beacon there. It is always a happy day when YYZ appears on our luggage tags!

On the other end of those tags, though, it becomes increasingly apparent to us just how valuable touring is, primarily in our development as individual musicians, which in turn directs the progression of our music. Sometimes in the dark days of a mid-tour depression, brought on by fatigue, homesickness, and hence frustration, the stresses of touring would seem to outweigh the benefits, but when we reach the 'Final Exams' of writing and recording, the evidence of change and improvement is very rewarding.

... Dateline: Toronto, August 31, 1980.

We return to Phase One, together with our long-suffering old standby, Terry Brown (Broon), our co-producer and Chief Objective Ear, fouling the air with "Gitanes," and offering criticisms and suggestions where necessary. We put together some rough demos of the aforementioned five songs, as well as a rough (to say the least), and riotous (to say the most), version of "Witch Hunt." This was the winner of the most re-written song award, being very difficult to get a handle on, but our intention had always been to use it as the 'production number' of the album, in the tradition of such pieces as "Different Strings," "Madrigal," and "Tears." This frees us from our usual practice of writing as we would play live, maintaining the discipline of a three-piece band. It would serve as a sort of vehicle for experimentation and indulgence. For instance, we would be using Hugh Syme's talents on the keyboards, and my entire drum part was recorded twice (as two drummers) in one verse, while in another, a percussion section was created by recording each sound differently. The introduction was a very strange endeavour, as we assembled a 'Vigilante Choir' out in the snow, and the sound of the 'haunted child' at the beginning. Although the main thrust of our work has always been directed towards its live presentation, it is nice to take a small dose of studio indulgence!

... Dateline: Portland, Maine, October 1, 1980.

It was here that we concluded a short tour, mainly the eastern seaboard of the United States, in which we rehearsed the five completed songs whenever possible, and introduced "Tom Sawyer" and "Limelight" into our shows, although both would undergo some changes before being committed to tape.

... Dateline: Morin Heights, Quebec, October through December, 1980.

Once again we returned to the beautiful Laurentian Mountains, and to the amiable ambiance of Le Studio. We had been very much looking forward to our return here, and were not disappointed, it proving to be every bit as great as our memories. A very friendly place.

We were soon made painfully aware (literally) of the ambitious nature of our project, as we had to work long and hard to capture the right sounds and performances for each track. The only exception to this, for no apparent reason, was "Red Barchetta." With only a few runs to get the sounds together, it was to be that rarest of all animals (for ourselves, anyway!), a one-take wonder. No one could have been more surprised than we, especially after the relentless grinding it had taken to capture "Tom Sawyer," "Limelight," and "YYZ." (Are you sure, Broon?)

We had purposefully left one song still unwritten, with a view to writing it directly in the studio, as we have had such good results from this previously. Songs such as "Natural Science," and "The Twilight Zone" have benefitted from the pressure and spontaneity of this situation, although then it happened by force of circumstances, where now our planning includes a space for 'no-plan.'

"Vital Signs" was the ultimate result, eclectic in the extreme, it embraces a wide variety of stylistic influences, ranging from the sixties to the present. Lyrically, it derives from my response to the terminology of 'Technospeak,' the language of electronics and computers, which often seems to parallel the human machine, in the functions and interrelationships they employ. It is interesting, if irrelevant, to speculate as to whether we impose our nature on the machines that we build, or whether they are merely governed by the inscrutable laws of Nature as we. (Perhaps Murphy's Laws?) Never mind!

ANYWAY!! The tracks were eventually finished, albeit a few days behind schedule, when the mixing and the disasters began. In a massive electronic freak-out revolution, the digital mastering machine, the mixdown computer, and one of the multi-track machines, gave up their collective ghosts one after the other, driving poor Broon to distraction, and setting us two weeks behind in the end. After much technical tearing of hair and gnashing of teeth, the machine maladies were finally put right, and Geddy returned to perch on Broon's shoulder, and the Skiers of the Woods were seen no more on the Wilderness Trails.

As with anything that drags on too long, we were glad to finally finish, but even more glad to hear what it was we had finished! It is a curious sensation, when listening back to a completed album for the first time, how quickly all those months and all of those difficulties go racing by. How can a mere forty minutes of music contain and express all of the thoughts, feelings, and energy that goes into it?

Then suddenly you're listening without analyzing, transformed from the performer to the audience, feeling the responses that you hope the listener at home will feel.

Perhaps it is true that in a synergistic way the output does add up to all of that input, perhaps it is all in there for the discerning listener to experience, maybe Time travels backward at the speed of light, maybe Alex Lifeson is 'Gub,' maybe...

Why are you asking me all these questions?

Management by: Ray Danniels, SRO Productions, Toronto, Canada.
Road Manager and Lighting Director: Howard Ungerleider.
Stage Manager: Michael Hirsh.
Concert Sound Engineer: Jon Erickson.
Stage Right Technician and Crew Chief: Liam Birt.
Stage Left Technician: Skip Gildersleeve.
Centre Stage Technician: Larry Allen.
Guitar and Synthesizer Technician: Tony Geranios.
Stage Monitor Mixer: Greg Connolly.
Security Chief: Ian Grandy.
Personal Shreve: Kevin Flewitt.
Concert Sound by National Sound; Tom Linthicum, Fuzzy Frazer, and Dave Berman.
Concert Lighting by See Factor International; Nick Kotos, Head Technician, possily Mike Weiss, and who knows?
Concert Visuals created by Nick Prince, Al Kamajian, and Nelvana Ltd.
Bus and Truck-Faces: Tom Whittaker, Billy Barlow, Mac MacLear, Pat Lynes, Richard Owens.
Concert Projectionist: Lee Tenner.
Concert Rigging: Bill Collins.
U.K. Transportation by Edwin Shirley Trucking, Len Wright Travel, and Bill Churchman (the Red Flash).
Program design: Hugh Syme.
Photography by Fin Costello, except where indicated.
Booking Agencies: United States -- American Talent International, NYC; United Kingdom -- Bron Agency, London; Canada -- The Agency, Toronto.

The RUSH Crossword Puzzle No. 1

click here for the answers


1. Seventh L.P.
6. "... the Maples formed a union"
7. "... in my hair"
11. God of Balance
12. River in "The Necromancer"
13. Foot operated cymbals -- "Hi-..."
15. Name of Cygnus" craft
17. "... Signs"
19. "Of hatred and ... -will"
21. "The Camera ..."
22. "Those who wish to ..."
23. "What you ... is your own story"
24. "... Villa Strangiato"
25. "In the ..."
26. "Tom ..."


1. Closing greeting in "Permanent Waves" credits -- "... -Hoo!"
2. "A ... immortal man"
3. "To ... a new mentality"
4. "Witch ..."
5. "Natural ..."
6. Our management company
8. Prince of Darkness
9. "... to telescopic eye"
10. "... Park"
11. "That hides the shining ..."
14. "For their Hearts were so ..."
16. "Trouble with the ..."
18. "A smile for every ..."
20. "Playing a ... hand"

Neil Peart

I am still releasing my hostilities on Tama drums, all with wooden shells, and the inner side 'Vibra-Fibed.' The bass drums are 24", the toms are 6, 8, 10, 12" concerts, and 12, 13, 15, and 18" closed toms. I am still using my 'old faithful' wood-shell snare, a 5 1/2 x 14 Slingerland, and have recently made a switch to wooden timbales, and retired my tympani and gong in favour of a pair of Tama 'gong bass drums,' which are open-ended bass drums on a stand, utilizing oversize heads to give a very deep, resonant sound.

My cymbals are Avedis Zildjians, with the exception of one genuine Chinese China type. The Zildjians are 8" and 10" splash, 13" high-hats, two 16", and one each 18" and 20" crash cymbals, a 22" ride, an 18" pang, and a 20" China type.

In the Percussion Department are orchestra bells, tubular bells, wind chimes, temple blocks, cowbells, triangles, bell tree, crotales, and Burma bell.

I use Remo clear dots on my snare and bass drums, Ludwig silver dots on the concert toms, and Evans Looking Glass (top), and Blue Hydraulic (bottom) on the closed toms. Clear Remos are used on the timbales and gong bass drums. Ludwig pedals, Slingerland high-hat, Tama hardware, and Pro-Mark 747 drumsticks are the final details.

Geddy Lee

Equipment I will be using on the 'Moving Pictures' tour:


Oberheim-- OB-1, OB-X, and OB-8, two sets of Taurus pedals, interfaced with the OB-8, Mini-Moog, Roland Digital Sequencer, assorted effects.

Basses And Guitars

Two Rickenbacker 4001's, Fender Jazz Bass, Rickenbacker 4002, double-neck Rickenbacker, incorporating 4001 with twelve-string guitar, double-neck Rickenbacker, incorporating 4001 with six-string guitar, Ovation acoustic.


Two BGW 750B power amps, two Ashley preamps, two 2 x 15 Thiele-design cabinets fitted with EVM speakers, two V4B Ampeg cabinets with JBL speakers, Yamaha solid state guitar amp.

Vocal Microphone

Electrovoice DS-35.

Alex Lifeson


Gibson ES355, 345, SG Standard, 1175 double-neck, Fender Stratocaster, Ovation Classic & Adanis, for acoustic guitars, 2 Ashley SC-40 preamps, 1 Ashley SC-66 Stereo Parametric Equalizer.


2 Marshall Combos, 2 Hiwatt 100's with 2- 4 x 12 cabinets & 1 Leslie cabinet.


Roland 301 Echo Unit, Advanced Audio Digital Delay, Electric Misstress [sic], 1 Roland Chorus, 1 MXR Micro-amp, MXR Distortion, Morley Volume Pedal, 1 ELL-BEE (L.B.) 30-7965 Model 'C' Type R (Series XL-3427) Remote Floormount Advanced Relay Effects Switching Configuration.

Smartphone Wallpaper

Our RUSH smartphone wallpapers have been modified for a size of 640 x 960 pixels to fit "most" Smartphones.