Permanent Waves

Geddy Lee: Bass Guitars, Oberheim polyphonic; OB-1; Mini Moog; and Taurus pedal synthesizers, vocals
Alex Lifeson: Six and twelve string electric and acoustic guitars, Taurus pedals
Neil Peart: Drums, tympani, timbales, orchestra bells, tubular bells, wind chimes, bell tree, triangle, crotales

Produced by Rush and Terry Brown
Arrangements by Rush and Terry Brown
Recorded at Le Studio, Morin-Heights, Quebec, during September and October 1979
Engineered by Paul Northfield
With general assistance from Robbie Whelan
Mixed at Trident Studios, Soho, London, in November 1979
Engineered by Terry Brown
Assisted by Adam Moseley, Craig Milliner, and Geddy Lee, with cameo appearances by Stev S. Hort

Special featured guest: Hugh Syme, piano on "Different Strings"
Inspiration and vocal coaching by Daisy the Dog
Steel drums by Erwig Chuapchuaduah

Art Direction and graphics by Hugh Syme
Cover concept by Hugh Syme and Neil Peart
Photography by Fin Costello, Flip Schulke and Deborah Samuel
Cover girl couturiére: Ou la la
Colour colaboration: Peter George
Pilot of Juliet Foxtrot Kilo: Mike Deere
Management by Ray Danniels, SRO Management, Inc., Toronto
Executive Production: Moon Records
Road manager, lighting director, and assistant to Mr. Shreve: Howard (Herns) Ungerleider
Stage manager: Michael (Lurch) Hirsh
Concert sound engineer: Ian (the Weez) Grandy
Stage right technician: Liam (Punjabi) Birt
Stage left technician: Skip (Slider) Gildersleeve
Centre stage technician: Larry (Shrav) Allen
Guitar and synthesizer maintenance: Tony (Jack Secret) Geranios
Electrical technician: Ted (Theo) McDonald
Stage Monitor mixer: Gred (Gordie) Connolly
Projectionist: Harry (Tex) Dilman
Personal Shreve: Sam (Shreve) Charters
Concert sound by National Sound and Electrosound (U.K.)
Concert lighting by See Factor International
Concert rigging by Bill Collins

All of the above was transported by the skilled hands of: Tom (Whitney) Whittaker, Pat (No. 9) Lines, Arthur (Mac) MacLear, Gene Guido, and Tim Lewis

Honourable mentions: Moe Kniffman, Nick Kotos, George (Ike) Guido, Bob (Puppy) Cross, John LeBlanc, Bill Churchman, Dave (Shreve 1) Donne, Fuzzy Frazer, Dave Burman, Helmut, Nick Prince, Graham (Wild Man) Hewitt, Sgt. Rock & Easy Co., Second City Television, Lakewoods Farm, The Sound Kitchen, Lefty, D.K.D., Steve Herns, Le Studio: Andre, Yael, Pam, Kim, Carole, and Roger, Andre & La Barratte, the Wines & Crew, FM & Crew, Wireless & Crew, The Maxoids, Marvin Gleicher, Brian Robertson, Jimmy Bain, Michael Schenker, the Projectors, Peter Mensch, the P.M., Bob (the Grove) Snelgrove, the inmates of the Great Fog, Gerry Griffin, Lee Scherer, and their families and friends at NASA, Henry Spencer and baby, Le Mont St. Michael, the Montcalm, vin-du-hairface, volleyball, Space Invaders (10p), euchre, Malibu Grand Prix, hockey - Steve Shutt and Larry Robinson, thanks for the sticks!, M*A*S*H, The Jack Secret Show, Rickey, Lucy, and Ethel, (Where's Fred?), Neal and Larry at the Percussion Centre, all at Oak Manor and all at Trident. Ho-Hoo!

We express our appreciation to the fine people and instruments of Gibson, Moog, Tama drums, Rickenbacker, and Sunn amplification

© 1980 Mercury Records © 1980 Anthem Entertainment


  • Mercury, January 14, 1980
  • Highest Billboard Chart Position: 4 - Certified Gold by RIAA: March 17, 1980 - Certified Platinum: November 9, 1987
  • Click to enlarge Click to enlarge Click to buy
  • There were three single edits released to support this album. A "The Spirit of Radio" 3:21 edit exists, believed to have been released in the UK on an 80's rock compilation titled Axe Rock or Giants of Rock; if you can identify it, please email me. "The Spirit of Radio" 3:00 promo edit was released as a single backed by "Circumstances" (album version) by Mercury Records in America. The same edit, labeled 2:57, was released in the UK with "Closer To The Heart" (album version). There was also an "Entre Nous" 3:45 edit released as the b-side of the "Entre Nous Special Promotional 12" Disc".
  • While recording Permanent Waves, producer Terry Brown asked Max Webster's Kim Mitchel if he had any audience noise they could use, as the Webster's had recently recorded their live album Live Magnetic Air, and Kim happily obliged. The audience heard in "The Spirit Of Radio" was reportedly recorded during a Max Webster show at a concert hall in Guelph, Ontario, on September 14, 1979.
  • The Remaster release erroneously credits for the lyrics of "Different Strings" to Peart, instead of Lee; a misprint confirmed by Anthem.
  • The background scene pictured on the 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. The cover caused a great deal of controversy for the band as it contains the infamous "Dewey defeats Truman" headline which is still making "waves" to this day (see Wallpaper section for details).
  • Reissued January 8, 2008 as a Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs Ultradisc II - 24 KT Gold CD: this CD comes in heavy stock cardboard gatefold which replicates the original vinyl album packaging, and is gold stamped with a number making it a true limited edition. The CD itself is in a soft cloth sleeve which slips into the gatefold along with the CD booklet and a MOFI technical data informational card. The artwork is faithful to the original album, and even includes the incorrect lyrics of "Freewill" which were eventually corrected in the original Mercury remaster. Unfortunately, this was the last Rush release to be remastered by Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs.
  • Reissued June 16, 2015 by Universal Music Enterprises on 200-gram, heavyweight vinyl with a download code for a 320kbps MP4 vinyl ripped Digital Audio album as well as high resolution Digital Audio editions in DSD (2.8mHz), 192khz / 24-bit, 96kHz / 24-bit.
  • "The Spirit Of Radio (live)" is one of 85 songs included in the video game Guitar Hero 5, released September 1, 2009. Although Rush has been included in previous Guitar Hero releases, this one is unique. We have confirmed with SRO/Anthem that this recording was taken from an unreleased live performance in Manchester, England, on June 17, 1980 on the Permanent Waves Tour (Producer Terry Brown, Engineer Andy Rose, mobile truck recorder - Mobile Studio London).
  • Reissued May 29, 2020 as the Permanent Waves-40th Anniversary Edition in various packaging options which include the original album remastered by Abbey Road Studios in 2015, and previously unreleased live material.
  • Click here for the 'Permanent Waves' Transcript Archive.

In Their Own Words

"This era seems to be pushing New Wave, and this Wave, and that Wave. The material we're doing is just Permanent Wave-it's just music. It's the love of music and how, with everything new, it's just a continuation, like a wave coming back in from the ocean." - Alex Lifesson, Guitar Player, June 1980
"I recently lucked out and found a '69 or '70 Fender Jazz Bass in a pawnshop for an unbelieveably low price of $200.00. Some Jazz Basses have chunker necks, but this one is thin and smooth. It was in beautiful shape and I just love it. In fact, I used it on about half of Permanent Waves." - Geddy Lee, Guitar Player, June 1980
"Preparation for the album took place at Lakewoods Farm set in a cosy little pastoral scene by a lake...The first night together they created an instrumental goulash dubbed 'Uncle Tounouse', which may not have made it onto the album itself but provided bits and pieces for just about every other song." - Sounds, April 5, 1980
"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
"In deciding to bring [Natural Science] back into our live set a few years ago, after not playing it for a while, we made some arrangement changes that we probably would have done at the time it was recorded in 1979 if that long, complex, multi-part suite hadn't been written and recorded in about two days! In most cases, we are happy to play our songs as they were recorded because we remain contented enough with them that way, but other times we can't resist reconsidering. We have done that with a few other older songs, where we felt it simply would have been better without a certain part, or as with 'Entre Nous' last tour, where it would have been better to repeat a certain passage." - Neil Peart, "Thus Spoke Neil", Drum Magazine, June 2009
"Permanent Waves was really a hybrid of Hemispheres and Moving Pictures. We still had some long tracks on there - 'Jacob's Ladder' and 'Natural Science' - but also shorter songs like 'The Spirit Of Radio' and 'Freewill.'" - Alex Lifeson,, May 2015
"After literally months of examination and discussions with the artists, due to the age and fragility of most of original first-generation analog masters to classic Rush titles, we've had to cancel plans to release the titles we had planned. They have deemed that the original masters should not be used for any future re-mastering, and we have to respect that decision. We apparently lucked out big-time with Permanent Waves as it was in pristine condition. Sorry for the bad news but we're not feeling so hot about it ourselves. I believe another indie label is now looking into releasing some Rush titles in the future but mastered from copy tapes." - Best regards, Michael Grantham, Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs, March 2008


A selection of material used to promote the album release.

Smartphone Wallpaper

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