Permanent Waves 40th Anniversary Edition

CD Two - Permanent Waves World Tour 1980
Beneath, Between & Behind*
By-Tor & The Snow Dog+
The Spirit Of Radio*
Natural Science*
The Trees*
Cygnus X-1+
Cygnus X-1 Book II+
Closer To The Heart*
Jacob's Ladder^

* Live in Manchester
+ Live in London
^ Live in Missouri

40 Years . . . But Who's Counting?

By Ray Wawrzyniak

Welcome to the fortieth anniversary celebration of the release of Permanent Waves, the seventh studio album from Rush. Permanent Waves was first released in January of 1980, reached number four on the charts in the United States, and number three in Canada and the UK. Permanent Waves was certified gold within three months of its release in the United States and was eventually certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America in 1987.

It's certainly no small feat to create a work of art that leaves fans indelibly stamped for forty-plus years. Fitting, then, that "permanent" is linked to this particular piece of art. Permanent Waves has indeed been a permanent staple on rock radio since its release in 1980. Songs from Permanent Waves also found a permanent place in setlists throughout the band's many tours from 1980 onward. And, Permanent Waves has forever found a permanent home in the hearts of Rush fans worldwide.

While writing and rehearsals for Permanent Waves officially began in mid-July of 1979, its story actually began just over six weeks earlier, on June 4th of 1979, when the tour in support of Rush's sixth studio album, Hemispheres, came to a close at the Pink Pop Festival in Galeen, Holland. What followed that tour's finale was a first for Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and Neil Peart. That being... a break. A six week-long, bona fide vacation. A vacation from the road. A vacation from buses, from hotels, and from backstage dressing rooms. A chance for each of the three band members to reintroduce themselves to home, to family, and to life away from the rigors of being in a successful recording and touring rock band. Not only was this break deserved, but, admittedly, it was needed. As bassist/vocalist Geddy Lee identified retrospectively in 2010, looking back on the period after having recorded Hemispheres, the band was "...getting fried, getting stupid...not taking care of ourselves..." It would seem that a six-week break, then, was just what the doctor ordered.

Thus, when Geddy, Alex, and Neil reconvened in July of 1979 to begin work on what would eventually become Permanent Waves, they were collectively decisive in their vision for this next recording project. Decisive not only with what the band members wanted, but what they didn't want as well.

"You can only go so long before you have to do something else," explained Geddy to Jon Sutherland of Record Review magazine in 1980. "There comes a point when you find yourself falling into a certain pattern and it becomes time to shake your head loose and do something else. As far as the 'conceptual album,' we've done that. We've taken it to its logical limit and it's time to do something else." The "pattern" Geddy was referring to, of course, was the band's pattern of recording concept album after concept album. Perhaps Caress Of Steel, 2112 and Hemispheres were not concept albums in their entirety, per se. However, each one of those three aforementioned albums did feature a side-long suite, dedicated to one long, thematic, sustained piece of work. Three of the four albums that preceded the arrival of Permanent Waves were considered by some to be a concept album, and as Geddy explained above, the band did not want to continue that pattern with studio album number seven.

Alex Lifeson wholeheartedly agreed, when talking with Sutherland in 1983. "Our goal has always been to grow, evolve and change. That is what we try and do. I would be more nervous and afraid of repeating something, which would be very easy to do."

Thus, the collective mindset was clearly focused prior to the band's arrival at Lakewoods Farm in July of '79. It was here, on this farm in a small town two hours north of the band's hometown of Toronto, where writing would begin for what would eventually lead to this groundbreaking new album. This album, that was born out of their unified reaction to their experience after having recorded and toured in support of Hemispheres.

As Geddy further explained to Jon Sutherland, "We wrote it (Hemispheres ), rehearsed it, and recorded it in a very short period of time. We had to sound like we'd been playing it for three months where in actuality we'd only been playing it for a few days. Permanent Waves was a reaction to that."

That first night at Lakewoods Farm was atypical to a first night at a remote location. Rather than quietly settling in, anticipating the writing and rehearsing that lay ahead, the band instead dove right into work, jamming on that very first night. A jam spawned the song briefly known as "Uncle Tounouse." As Neil wrote in "Personal Waves," the essay he penned for inclusion in the Permanent Waves tour book, "That first night (in Lakewoods Farm...) we put together an instrumental mish-mash, which we christened "Uncle Tounouse." It never became anything itself, but parts of it were plundered bit-by-bit to form quite a few other things."

The tried and true division of labor for the band was honored here at Lakewoods. Neil would be off in his own cottage room, working on lyrics, while Geddy and Alex would sequester themselves together in the basement to work on musical ideas. After just two weeks, the band already had rough sketches of four songs; "The Spirit Of Radio," "Freewill," "Jacob's Ladder," and "Entre Nous." It was off to the Sound Kitchen then, a studio in northern Toronto, to record demos for each of the songs written thus far. This transition from Lakewoods to the Sound Kitchen served multiple purposes. Primarily, Geddy, Alex, and Neil, along with trusted producer extraordinaire Terry Brown, were given their first real opportunity to hear if these new ideas were indeed leading them toward their previously stated mission. And, secondarily, the band would be premiering two of these songs in front of live audiences within the next month thereafter, and therefore needed to be well-rehearsed for their live debut.

During the demo recording stage, as Neil told Cheech Iero of Modern Drummer magazine in early 1980, "The three of us try to establish the same feeling for what the song should be. Then you bring the technical skills in to try to interpret that properly and achieve what you thought it would."

Furthermore, talking to Ohio Scene's Entertainment Weekly's Jim Chlebo in early 1980, Geddy would go on to add that, "The whole ideology behind this album was to make sure we did not lose the ability to write songs that make it as concise, little pieces. We haven't written such songs in a long time. The closest was "Circumstances," on Hemispheres, and that wasn't close enough. It was a song, but one constructed of movements more than a song with one main flow."

And so, after two weeks of writing at Lakewoods Farm, followed by a period recording demos at Sound Kitchen, the first fruits of their labor were ready to be field-tested.

In September of 1979, the band embarked on a short tour. Make no mistake about it, though; this "Semi-Tour Of Some Of The Hemispheres " was a Hemispheres show in its comedic title only. The Hemispheres tour setlist proper had now been scrapped, and a brand-new show had been scripted by Geddy, Alex, and Neil. Featured in this new setlist were two of the tracks the band had written and demoed; "The Spirit Of Radio" and "Freewill." As unique as it was for the band to premiere songs live before their proper release, it wasn't necessarily groundbreaking. In years gone by, the band had premiered "Xanadu" in front of live audiences before committing it to vinyl. And not too long before that, just shortly after Neil had joined the band in fact, songs that would eventually find a home on Fly By Night were played live as well, before being properly recorded.

This series of shows, over a five-week period in the fall of 1979, was critically important for the band to prepare themselves for the recording sessions they had lined up. According to Alex, in a 1982 interview featured in Sounds magazine, "You can't really get in shape for the studio by sitting in a rehearsal studio like you can from playing a two-hour set with soundchecks and everything..." In addition to the two tracks being played live during this "Semi-Tour...," "Jacob's Ladder" and "Entre Nous" were also being soundchecked the afternoon before every show as well. An early glimpse at each song's respective soundcheck and/or live performance would prove that its foundation had been solidly built. Clearly, the band was ready. Ready to hit the studio, and to begin laying the foundation for what would eventually become a career-defining album.

When recording each of the two previous studio albums - 1977's A Farewell To Kings, and 1978's Hemispheres - the band traveled to the UK and recorded at Rockfield Studios in Wales. This time around, a new studio was chosen to host the recording sessions. A studio that is highly credited in the evolution of the Rush sound. A studio that gave a crisp, new sound to the band. If producer Terry Brown is often considered the fourth member of the band, Le Studio, in Morin Heights, Quebec, Canada, thus should be considered their home away from home.

Le Studio. Just the mere mention of its name conjures up a romantic vision for Rush fans around the globe. One can draw a direct line that parallels the band's arrival at Le Studio, with their ascent as a recording band, and - surprisingly - as a band now heard regularly on the radio. Some have said Le Studio is given a disproportionate amount of credit in helping the band find their sound. The fact of the matter is, Le Studio earned and deserves due credit. Le Studio had both tangible and intangible qualities that allowed the band to flourish. The band, and that studio, were a perfect match. Le Studio, and Rush, were in perfect sync with each other. The band seemed to be working with this new studio, rather than against it, as was the case in the recording of Hemispheres. It is no exaggeration to say that Le Studio is one of the stars of Permanent Waves.

Neil helped paint the picture of Le Studio, in his aforementioned "Personal Waves" piece. "Le Studio is a wonderful place, nestled in a valley of the Laurentian Mountains about sixty miles north of Montreal. It is situated on 250 acres of hilly, wooded land, surrounding a private lake. At one end of the lake is the studio, with the luxurious and comfortable guest house situated at the other, about a mile away. We commuted by bicycle, rowboat, on foot, or in laziness or bad weather, by car. We arrived in the full, ripe glory of autumn, and were there through a genuine Indian Summer, and we heralded the coming of snow and winter, all in our four week stay! The recording facilities are, of course, nothing less than excellent in every way. The room itself features one whole wall of glass, overlooking a spectacular view of the lake and the mountains. This is in direct contrast to most studios, which are more in the way of being isolated, timeless vaults, which in that respect of course, are not necessarily bad. Here, though, we worked in the light of the sun, and one could watch the changing seasons in idle moments, rather than a dimly lit, smoky view of musical and electronic hardware."

When talking with CBC's George Stroumboulopoulos in 2014, Neil continued. "So much of our body of work was recorded at Le Studio. I felt lucky and grateful to have had all that. What it meant artistically and personally together, to work in the studio all day then go play volleyball together at night under the lights. Those experiences were so formative, artistically and as a collaborative unit."

In September of 2017, Geddy reminisced on what made Le Studio such an important landmark in the band's career arc. "What Le Studio meant to us is really hard to put into only a few sentences. It was not only a place where we did some of our best work, but we also experienced many profound personal moments there. To say nothing of the friendships that were forged there that still endure today. Le Studio played a key role in our album recording experience at a pivotal point in our career. We not only worked there for months at a time, but we lived and played in the home on the property, separated only by a beautiful lake and the glorious foothills of Laurentian Mountains. It was truly a part of the great Canadian landscape...and literally a home away from home for us. It will always have a special place in our hearts."

Meanwhile, in November of 2019, I spoke with producer Terry Brown. Terry was very insightful when it came to the choice of Le Studio for the recording of Permanent Waves.

"I'm pretty comfortable anywhere, to be honest with you, but somebody came up with the idea to record at Le Studio. I think Ged was more than likely the one who had checked it out initially and talked to the band. I got a call; 'Hey - we booked this studio in Quebec, it's only a six-hour drive from Toronto, it's residential, and it's this, and it's that, and it was like... 'Well, let's give it a shot!' It was a great move, no doubt about that. We had a great engineer there in Paul Northfield who was the studio's chief engineer, he knew the room really well, had a great knack with sounds, and, coupled with the state-of-the-art gear it just made the whole thing a seamless affair."

Terry continued; "Our hosts at Le Studio were absolutely amazing, they looked after us providing everything we needed which included luxurious accommodations, catered French food from a very colourful, local Parisian chef and an endless supply of cappuccinos provided by our resident barista, Robbie. Everything about it was all very first class, and extremely enjoyable, the perfect environment to embark on a very special production."

So the proverbial table was set. After having worked themselves into shape during their recently-concluded "Semi-Tour Of Some Of The Hemispheres ", with their unprecedented preparation via the writing sessions and demos, and with the majesty of Le Studio at their fingers, Permanent Waves was conceived.

And as the curtain was pulled back on not only a new year, but on a new decade as well, the world would be greeted with a brand-new Rush.

"Begin the day with a friendly voice
A companion unobtrusive
Plays that song that's so elusive,
And the magic music makes your morning mood..."

And so begins the unveiling of Permanent Waves. There may be no song, or lyric, better suited to lead off an album, from any band or artist, in the history of recorded music. That first verse is so welcoming. "The Spirit Of Radio" not only became one of the biggest hits of the band's career, but it is arguably the single most important song in their oeuvre. Certainly, "Tom Sawyer," from their 1981 album Moving Pictures may be more popular. And, the title track suite to 2112 was undeniably important in helping the band solidify their identity. But with "The Spirit Of Radio," the band suddenly had a song being played regularly on radio. As much as "The Spirit Of Radio" has been discussed and written about over the course of the last forty years - and rightfully so - the full, unabridged story still needs to be told.

Upon first being introduced to "The Spirit Of Radio," fans noticed a dedication, printed below the lyrics to the song on the album's inner sleeve. The dedication reads, "Inspired by 'The Spirit Of Radio' in Toronto, alive and well (so far)." The source of that dedication, and inspiration, was Toronto's very own CFNY-FM, located at 102.1 on the radio dial.

David Marsden became the program director at CFNY in 1978. As David explained when he and I talked in October of 2019, "In the mid-1970s, I had been working at CHUM-FM in Toronto, which at the time was a very progressive radio station. After about four-to-five years at CHUM, a new program director was hired there. One night, he gave me a playlist, and told me, 'Here's your playlist for tonight,' to which I responded, 'What's a playlist?' Suffice it to say, I would resign from CHUM shortly thereafter." David continued. "CFNY reached out and hired me as their evening announcer."

David's move to CFNY ultimately intersected again with Rush, with "The Spirit Of Radio," and thus with Permanent Waves. But, that's not where David's story with the band began. As David recalled...

"I remember playing their first album while working at CHUM-FM in Montreal. I was the first person to really get behind the band. In fact, one night while I was in the studio at CHUM, the request line rang. It was Alex Lifeson himself on the other end, phoning in to request that I play a track from that first album, simply because he knew I'd play it! He asked me to play songs that I had already been playing, as a matter of fact. Years later, Alex reminded me that I was the first person he ever heard play Rush on the radio."

David then recalled the origin of "The Spirit Of Radio." "One day, I was out for an afternoon drive during lunch hour. I clearly remember thinking to myself, 'We (CFNY) need some sort of catch phrase.' For some reason, I was thinking about 'The Spirit Of St. Louis', and suddenly, I thought, "Hmmmm. The spirit of radio..." So I jotted a note to myself, because I liked the way that sounded. When I got back to the station after lunch, I put a note up on the bulletin board to tell all the on-air personalities, 'After you say the call letters of the station, follow it with, 'the spirit of radio'.' There was no meeting that was held that decided this new slogan, or anything like that. It was that simple."

On multiple occasions, Neil himself would go on to cite CFNY by name, as the radio station that inspired the spirit of the song. In February of 1980, for example, Neil told radio station WABX in Detroit, "In a direct sense, ("The Spirit Of Radio") was inspired by a radio station in Toronto, called CFNY-FM, who are perhaps the last of the really free FM stations. Just...the kind of personal experiences when you turn on the radio in the morning, you hear a song that you haven't heard a lot, but all of a sudden captures you and just...starts off your day in a perfect footing. Or if you're driving along and all of a sudden the perfect piece of music for a particular moment comes on the radio... Those kinds of magic things that everyone has a relationship to are irreplaceable, and they're the kind of thing that's readily being lost from radio as it's becoming more...homogenized. It does stand for that. It is a tribute to that particular radio station, because it is a vanishing breed. And it also has a larger message to say to anybody who works in radio and any really could be titled "The Spirit Of Music" just as easily, because it has just as much to do with musicians making their own music as radio stations playing it."

While radio may have been becoming "homogenized," the band's music was becoming decidedly more and more customized. Rush in the fall of 1979 were now exploring new sounds, new instruments, and new styles, never more evident than within "The Spirit Of Radio," as Geddy mentioned to Jon Sutherland.

"That tune ("The Spirit Of Radio") seemed to be the right opportunity to sneak some reggae in. We wanted to do several different styles (of music) in that tune, since that tune represents the radio."

To further illustrate the consistency with which CFNY was credited as the source of inspiration for "The Spirit Of Radio," in 1980, while being interviewed by Jim Ladd for his "Innerview" special, Neil reiterated CFNY's role. "Actually, "The Spirit Of Radio" could be called "The Spirit Of Music," because it has as much to say to musicians, or more, than it has to say to radio stations. That particular song was written about a radio station that is the paradigm. It's called CFNY-FM, and it's in Toronto. And they are still what FM radio was fifteen years ago. So, I listen to it constantly when I'm at home, and it represents something, maybe the precious, last stronghold of something. Their slogan is actually "the spirit of radio," so it was directly inspired by that station, and in the first verse of the song, it deals with personal experiences with radio, when you wake up in the morning and turn on the radio..."

With CFNY's inspiration being clearly and consistently identified, I asked David Marsden why CFNY was not specifically identified by name within that sleeve dedication.

"Well, (band manager) Ray Danniels called me one day. He told me, 'We've got a new song called 'The Spirit Of Radio' that was inspired by your station. But, we know if we identify CFNY as the source of the inspiration of the song, other station will play it! So, we can't put the call letters on the album.' I wasn't going to argue with Ray. Ray and I knew each other very well by that point. So, all of us at CFNY decided we would not play heavy into the 'Spirit Of Radio' thing, because then other stations wouldn't play it. So, we backed away from publicizing ourselves and our affiliation with that song out of respect for Ray, and out of respect for the band. Although, if you look carefully on the vinyl album, close to the album's sticker label, the numbers '1021' are etched onto the groove. Ya' know, '102.1,' where CFNY was located on the dial. So, in a way, CFNY is directly identified."

"After 'The Spirit Of Radio' kind of broke big on radio, our relationship with Ray and the band was no different. At that time anyway, CFNY was now playing punk, and new wave. Ya' know, The Police, Talking Heads, Ultravox and the like. But even still, I never turned my back on the band. But their success, and the success of 'The Spirit Of Radio' has nothing to do with me. It's not about me playing them first on the radio. It's about what they did after I first played their music. That's true of any musician or artist. It was more important for me and for CFNY to keep quiet about being the inspiration for that song, because it was more important for them to do their marketing the way they wanted."

David concluded, "Back in 1980, I was just running a struggling radio station. I was the opposite of what Rush was doing on stage. But I knew that when they went home, or when they got in their cars, unbeknownst to me and my staff, they tuned in to CFNY."

As David mentioned, he never turned his back on the band, despite working at a station who were no longer playing Rush, or AC/DC, or Black Sabbath, for example. Similarly, the band never turned their back on David, or on CFNY. For years and years thereafter, when being asked about "The Spirit Of Radio," the band never wavered in their recognition of the true source of inspiration. While countless radio stations around North America believed they were the true source of inspiration, the band knew otherwise.

Years later still, in November of 1987, while replying to questions in a "Rush Backstage Club" newsletter, Neil was still being asked about the motivation for "The Spirit Of Radio." And once again, those same call letters were proudly acknowledged. "There is a radio station in Toronto called CFNY-FM, who were in the late seventies just about the last of the truly 'free' radio stations in North America, playing all kinds of weird stuff. Their slogan was (and is), "The Spirit Of Radio," hence, the dedication. The song was inspired by the idea of how special radio can be when it's presented by "real people," and not by chart numbers and "demographics." In spite of becoming a little more formatted over the years (hence the, "so far"), they remain the alternative radio in the area."

"The Spirit Of Radio" became a staple on rock radio, where it has found a permanent home forty-plus years later. During our conversation, producer Terry Brown acknowledged some of the unique qualities that have helped make "The Spirit Of Radio" still resonate forty-plus years later.

"Certainly, 'The Spirit Of Radio' to this day still jumps out of the speakers. Musically I find that song intriguing, just the opening guitar riff and where all the accents are placed - it's the most unexpected musical turn of events! It's not like a blues tune when you know exactly where everything's coming from and where it's all going which leaves it all down to performance and lyric; this tune has so many little aspects that are just totally off the wall and I love it for that very reason. It has such great energy and the perfect subject matter for it's time."

Furthermore, "The Spirit Of Radio" became a staple in the band's setlists, tour after tour after tour. From the Permanent Waves tour in 1980, up to and including their final tour in 2015, Rush embarked on sixteen different tours. It's no surprise that "The Spirit Of Radio" was not only played on every single one of those sixteen tours, but, it was chosen as the proper show opener on five of them.

There was a very brief period, however, when "The Spirit Of Radio" did not appear in a setlist. At the outset of the band's 1990 Presto tour, "The Spirit Of Radio" was absent. After missing in action for the first few shows, "The Spirit Of Radio" was reinstated, and temporarily rotated with "The Big Money" as the opening song in the band's encore. The band ultimately decided that "The Spirit Of Radio" needed to be included nightly, and henceforth, it returned to a permanent slot in that tour's setlist. Other than those few shows, then, "The Spirit Of Radio" was performed at every single show the band played. And, at every one of those hundreds and hundreds of shows where "The Spirit Of Radio" was performed, Alex's inimitable opening guitar line was received with unbridled enthusiasm. Similarly, every time Geddy would sing, "...concert halls...," another eruption would result. And, every Neil Peart drum fill was accompanied by thousands of enthusiastic air-drummers in attendance.

Why is that, though? Often, a song's popularity, or the effectiveness with which it connects with and affects an audience, can be difficult to pinpoint. In the case of "The Spirit Of Radio," though, the rationale behind its ability to connect, and to affect, is plainly inherent within the lyrics themselves.

Never more than here, on Permanent Waves, and especially within "The Spirit Of Radio," does Rush exhibit the four cores of their credibility. First, as was detailed at the outset of this piece, Geddy, Alex, and Neil announced their intent, or their motive with this record, which was then fully realized within "The Spirit Of Radio." Second, the band's capabilities, or, their capacity to achieve results, were now peaking. Third, the results are most certainly achieved. Whether you consider "results" as being album sales, ticket sales, chart position, or the quality of their work itself, Rush's past, current, and anticipated performances lie at the core of their credibility. And lastly, the fourth core of their credibility is their integrity. The band's honesty, and truthfulness, are there in black and white within the lyric to "The Spirit Of Radio," within another lyric in "Natural Science," and was at the core of their collective character and credibility, both onstage and off, throughout their remarkable career. Because of its permanent place on radio...because of the spirit it represents...and because of how well it represents the cores of credibility of the band, "The Spirit Of Radio" maintains its place as the single most important song Geddy, Alex, and Neil ever recorded.

Remarkably, after all that, that's just the beginning, because then... there's "Freewill."

In 1979, Rush were still known as the authors of epic tracks. Long, cinematic opuses. Within each track, Geddy, Alex, and Neil, respectively, would be given their moment to shine. It would seem that each of the three musicians would have their own solo section in nearly every song they recorded. Prior to Permanent Waves, perhaps "La Villa Strangiato," from their Hemispheres album, was most emblematic of their admitted musical self-indulgence. But can such indulgences still be maintained, or given space, when the songs the band were writing were now half the length of many of their predecessors? Geddy wondered that himself, when being asked about the relative brevity of their songwriting, post-Hemispheres.

"If we can do something in five minutes that is as effective as something that takes us twenty minutes to do, and has a stronger melody, that maybe doesn't change it's time signature every minute, ya' know. Maybe we can stay in 4/4 and try to make a song that works. I think we always underestimated the value of that, and the difficulty of that. It's not so easy to write a good four or five-minute song."

Similarly, in June of 1980, while the band was in London during the tour in support of Permanent Waves, Geddy spoke to Radio One about the complexity of their music.

"(Our music is) sort of internally complex, more than blatantly complex. That's how we prefer it to be. A song has to have a cohesive sort of feel to it. It has to be a song first, and I don't think the complexity should take away from the basic structure of the tune, the basic melody of the tune anyway, which is what we've been trying for...album after album. And I think Permanent Waves was our most successful at trying to do that."

"A five-minute song," as Geddy stated above. More specifically, "Freewill" is a five minute, twenty-three second demonstration of world-class musicianship. A song that does exactly as Geddy identified in each one of the brief excerpts above. Further to the point, within a limit of five minutes and twenty-three seconds, the band displayed all the musical flair that fans had grown accustomed to in Rush's "epic" songs. At just over five minutes, though, is "Freewill" still as effective as songs the band had written previously, songs that were twice its length? No, it is not. The fact is, somehow, "Freewill" is even more effective!

By the fall of 1979, the band had grown as songwriters. As Geddy himself shared with Jon Sutherland, "The better you are as a musician, the more you can apply that to your songwriting." "Freewill" embodies that growth, as well as the band's superior musicianship, and their intellect, all within a more feasible timeframe.

"Freewill" is a song whose lyrics have been dissected by fans and scholars alike since its release in 1980. Neil himself clarified the song's lyrical genesis when talking with Jim Ladd in 1980.

"A lot of mysticism, whether it's astrology or religion, would have you believe that men are evil and must be controlled, and that's the whole premise behind all those things, that there is something better than man, because man isn't so good, and those things have to look after us, because we can't look after ourselves. I believe that might be a nice delusion to hide behind, but when it comes down to it, you make the choices, even if you avoid making the choices by choosing one of these screens to hide behind. You have still made a choice that affects the outcome of your life."

Neil added, "I have tried to explore at least enough into even the Eastern mysticism and so on, to at least find out what it is about that, that attracts people, and what it is that it has to say that people find important. I mean, I do believe in non-physical things, and I believe there are a lot of things that we can't explain, but I don't believe in supreme beings, and I don't believe that there's anybody running my life except me."

An undeniable fan favorite, "Freewill" represents a near-perfect marriage of music and lyric. Neil's drumming effectively serves as emphatic and effective punctuation marks at the end of the lyrical claims he makes. What Rush fan among us does not throw a fist in the air and mimic the two beats after "...some celestial voice...?" Those accents, and the instrumental indulgences the band members were still able to weave into five-plus minutes of instrumental expertise, were always notably well-received when performed live.

Each band member is featured within a band solo section in "Freewill." At the four-minute mark of the song, the band comes back down from the frenetic bass/guitar/drum soloing, and locks in to set up the inimitable, "Each of us, a cell of awareness" lyric. It is at that point in the song - at exactly four minutes - that bedlam would break out within audiences, astounded at the musical prowess they would have witnessed being performed onstage.

"Tom Sawyer" was a song that was always well-received by audiences every time it was performed. As stated previously, "The Spirit Of Radio" would be greeted with generous enthusiasm as well, immediately after its signature opening. However, there is no singular moment in any Rush track that was received more boisterously, more enthusiastically, or with greater pandemonium, than was the case at the four-minute mark of "Freewill." The song was, and is, anthemic. It maintained the complexity the band hoped to preserve, while still being framed in a more radio-friendly length of time. "Freewill" still represents an intellect unparalleled in the lyric of any of Rush's hard rock/progressive rock brethren then, or since. It's a song that caters to both the hard rock sensibilities of each band member, and the progressive rock gene that lived in their respective DNA as well. Not "heavy metal" sensibilities, though, as Alex himself noted in an interview he did in Manchester, England in June of 1980, "We don't really think of the band as a heavy metal band. We haven't for a long, long, long time. We're a rock band, and we play rock music the way we like to play it."

Time and again, show after show after show, that band solo section within "Freewill" would result in "fandemonium" amongst the fans in attendance at a show in which that track was featured. Other than Geddy, Alex and Neil, one other key figure in the Rush family was there to witness nearly every live performance of this standout track from Permanent Waves. That would be Howard Ungerleider. Howard served many roles during his long relationship with Rush, most notably as their award-winning lighting director/designer. During the course of a Rush show, Howard was just as hard at work at his console at the back of the house, as Geddy, Alex, and Neil were onstage. I talked with Howard in November of 2019 and wondered if he took notice of the enthusiasm with which "Freewill" was received.

"Well... You've got to know that during the course of a show, I'm in a trance. I've had good friends of mine come to a show, stand directly in front of the board and wave at me, and then ask me later, 'How come you didn't wave back at me?' Honestly, it's not 'til a song ends, and everything goes black, that I might have a minute to gauge the reaction."

Howard continued then, specifically regarding "Freewill."

"'Freewill' is a powerful song. The synergy between the three of them is just amazing. It's an incredibly powerful solo by Alex. It's a solo that demands your attention, if you're in the audience. And when his solo is done, and the other two finish their solos...well, the audience knows that they've just heard something that's incredible."

Forty years later, we should be so thankful that we have this opportunity to celebrate something that incredible once again.

"We think in terms of the optimum amount of time that it takes to describe a musical feel or to describe a lyrical idea. So whatever it takes to do that is how we decide on the length. And it seems to be that around six to ten minutes is a real natural length for a piece of music." This perspective was shared with radio station WABX in Detroit, in February of 1980, by Neil Peart himself. It would seem that "Jacob's Ladder," then, would serve as one end of the time continuum within which the band was now most comfortable. At seven minutes, twenty-nine seconds, "Jacob's Ladder" finds Rush at their most ethereal, and most cinematic on Permanent Waves.

Moving Pictures, the 1981 studio album that followed Permanent Waves, was an album on which the band was trying to write and create short, cinematic pieces. Perhaps it was their success in doing just that with "Jacob's Ladder" that inspired Geddy, Alex, and Neil to dedicate an entire LP to that artistic line of thought. Similar to the work of a film's cinematographer, Geddy, Alex, and Neil had an artistic image they aspired to reach with "Jacob's Ladder." Neil Peart painted the picture of that vision, when talking to Sylvie Simmons of Sounds magazine in April of 1980.

"'Jacob's Ladder' looked at a cinematic idea. We created all the music first to summon up an image - the effect of Jacob's Ladder - and paint the picture, with the lyrics added just as a sort of detail, later, to make it more descriptive."

One could parallel "Jacob's Ladder," then, to "YYZ," the Grammy® Award-nominated instrumental track found on Moving Pictures. "YYZ," of course, is an instrumental well-known not only for the preeminent musicianship within the track, but for the fact that it is an instrumental about something. Absent of lyrics, "YYZ" somehow captures the mood, feel, and the spirit of an airport, of an airplane's lift-off, and of its descent. Similarly, as explained by Neil, "Jacob's Ladder" was first conceived instrumentally, with the idea of capturing a weather-related phenomenon, and putting it to music. Neil discussed the phenomenon further when talking with Jim Ladd.

"In my lyrics, I've drawn a lot of references from the bible, because it's a very colorful source of images. I grew up not religious, but in a religious background, going to Sunday school, and taking religious education in school and so on. So, all these things do suggest themselves as metaphors. 'Jacob's Ladder' is a lovely phrase, those two words themselves. And that's in fact what we started with. We looked at this song as being a cinematic kind of exercise. And before any lyrics were written, we talked about the image of Jacob's Ladder, of a cloudy sky coming along, and then all of a sudden these beams of light which everybody sees, and I've always found it a very inspiring sort of thing. We had that experience in common. So we created the music just out of that vision, or that image, and wrote the whole song around that. And then in retrospect, I went back and wrote a couple of verses of lyrics just to make the image a little more acute and also to bring the vocals in as an instrument of the sound."

Another incredible union of music and lyric, "Jacob's Ladder" transcends the listener throughout the various moods and colors of this epic. You and I, and our fellow listeners, are greeted gently at the beginning of the track with an unassuming, instrumental introduction. The band then opens up into a two-minute-long progressive rock groove, weaving in and out of a variety of time signatures, after which we reach the gorgeous, ethereal middle section of the song. The manifestation of the musical and lyrical marriage unfolds before us. As Geddy sings, "All at once, the clouds are parted...," it would seem that the song itself is parting wide open, and the listener is given what feels like a virtual reality experience with an authentic Jacob's Ladder. A combination of Geddy's Oberheim synthesizer, followed by Alex's staccato guitar lines, mimic the sun's rays coming through the clouds, until the entire painting, or the entire fabric has fully been woven, upon which the viewer, or rather, the listener, can marvel. An unbridled masterpiece has seemingly been painted before our very eyes, or ears.

It would seem that a song as cinematic as "Jacob's Ladder" would have been tailor-made for the era of MTV, had it been created in the day and age where music video ruled the airwaves. Since MTV was not an option in 1980, "Jacob's Ladder" would therefore have been a perfect candidate to be given a full, lush, onstage production, compliments of the band and Howard Ungerleider. The song was indeed played during the band's 1980 Permanent Waves tour, but oddly, it was then put on a shelf, where it remained dormant for thirty-five years thereafter. During this extended hiatus from the stage, "Jacob's Ladder" ranked at or near the top of polls that identified songs that fans would most like to have the band resurrect.

Finally, in May of 2015, when Geddy, Alex, and Neil embarked on their R40 tour, to the surprise and delight of all fans in attendance on opening night, "Jacob's Ladder" was unearthed. It was on that opening night, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, when "Jacob's Ladder" was fully realized in a colorful, cinematic live performance and presentation. Howard Ungerleider's lighting effects captured the Jacob's Ladder phenomenon brilliantly, lifting the song, and helping to fully realize the vision the band had intended when it first appeared on the album you're now holding, Permanent Waves. "Jacob's Ladder" live, onstage, became an absolute tour-de-force.

What other band in 1980 - or in 2020, for that matter - could give you a single side of a vinyl album that is as full of integrity, musicianship, and cinema, as Rush did with side one of Permanent Waves? As remarkable as side one is, incredibly, it's only half of the story. So please; take your vinyl copy of Permanent Waves, turn it over to side two, and drop the needle on "Entre Nous," which continues the extraordinary musical evolution represented here on Permanent Waves.

Only on an album like Permanent Waves, and with a band like Rush, would "Entre Nous" not be the first single released to radio. Or the second. In fact, "Entre Nous" was the third single released from the album.

As is the case with "The Spirit Of Radio," Neil Peart as lyricist draws the listener in immediately. As Neil wrote in his tour book essay in 1980, "The only complete lyrics I had brought with me (to the sessions at Lakewoods) were 'Entre Nous.'" Neil's lyrics to this song play out almost like a letter being written, whether it's from friend-to-friend, spouse-to-spouse, or otherwise. In 1987, Neil would use that same approach - crafting lyrics in the form of a letter - with the song "Second Nature," from Rush's Hold Your Fire album. Neil was generous enough to have given you and I, and our fellow Rush fans, insight into his intent with "Entre Nous," again when speaking with Jim Ladd on his "Innerview" special in 1980.

"It's meant to be somewhat of a letter really, a personal letter. It deals with personal relationships, both male-female, and male-male relationships, and also on a larger scale, I think, social relationships, too, between individuals and groups of people, and groups and groups, and all the subdivisions that our society is made up of. And basically, what it says is, let's stop fooling ourselves, we are different. Let's admit it. I think a lot of today's neuroses and people's insecurities and so on come from the fact that they are afraid to show that they're different, and they're afraid to demonstrate the fact that they have 'weirdnesses,' ya' know? That's the thing I think you have to come to grips with and accept your faults, and accept your strengths as well, which is equally important. A lot of people are as ashamed of their strengths as they are of their weaknesses. It's really sad. I'd like people just to look at each other and say, 'We're very different.' It's almost impossible for us to understand each other. I think no matter how long you've known a person, you can still be surprised by them, and there's still times when you look at them and say, I don't know what you're thinking. You can't get inside another person, it's absolutely impossible. So, that's another important part of the song, too, is how far apart we really are."

As much as the virtuoso musicianship on Permanent Waves has been celebrated here thus far, Neil Peart, the lyricist, is front and center with "Entre Nous." Throughout his career as Rush's primary lyric writer, Neil developed his own unique "voice." Occasionally, as Neil would embark on a new lyrical challenge, he would attempt to elevate a stylistic approach he had used when crafting lyrics for a song that appeared on a previous album. As well, Neil would challenge himself - and the listener - by presenting a lyrical idea with a bold, new approach to the craft. For example, on the band's 1989 album Presto, Neil crafted an entire set of lyrics using anagrams, for the song "Anagram (for Mongo)." In 2007, Neil's lyrics for "The Larger Bowl" were a brilliant example of Neil adapting a song's lyrics into the poetic form of a pantoum. Lyrically, then, "Entre Nous" stands out as another example of a master wordsmith, crafting a set of lyrics that allowed him to speak universally about relationships, this time within the frame of a letter. Terry Brown himself agreed with this assessment when he and I spoke.

"I always loved it. I always loved that it had a little bit of French woven into it too. (laughs) A really great lyric from Neil... He's done it so many times, it's not as if he's not used to writing a great lyric, but there's something about the lyrics in that song that are very endearing with a great human quality to it."

If side one of Permanent Waves showcases Alex Lifeson at his electric best, side two does the same acoustically. Alex's acoustic playing is featured throughout each of the three songs that encompass side two of Permanent Waves. Although here on "Entre Nous," that 12-string sound you hear in the track is not, in fact, a 12-string, as Alex explained to Jim Schwartz of Guitar Player magazine in 1980.

"On 'Entre Nous,' we wanted to get a 12-string sound, but the Gibson B-45 acoustic that I'd been using had a crack in the body. Also, the neck was giving way, and the tone just didn't seem to be happening. So, we tried a combination of my Gibson J-55 standard tuning, and the Nashville tuning of my Gibson Dove. Together they approximated a 12-string layout. And everything rang clear, so that's why we did that."

Similar to "Jacob's Ladder," "Entre Nous" was another song that was long overlooked when setlists were being made. During the "Semi-Tour Of Some Of The Hemispheres," detailed at the outset of this piece, "Entre Nous" was indeed soundchecked the afternoon before each show. However, it was ultimately not chosen to be played on that tour, or on any tour thereafter. That is, until the opening night of the band's Snakes and Arrows tour in June of 2007, when the song was finally given its long overdue recognition. Twenty-seven years after first appearing on Permanent Waves, "Entre Nous" was finally performed live in front of Rush's dedicated fans. Here on Permanent Waves, surrounded by crisp and precise production, "Entre Nous" shines.

On many Rush albums in the 1970s and early 1980s, the band would identify certain songs as being strictly production numbers - tracks that the band and producer Terry Brown would put everything into while recording, with no afterthought to how it might or would eventually be captured on stage. "Different Strings," found here on Permanent Waves, is this album's production piece. It is one of the rare songs in the Rush catalogue that was never played live.

Earlier, when discussing the lyrics to "Entre Nous," Neil was identified as the "primary" lyricist in the band. Primary, yes, but, he was not the band's sole lyricist. Throughout the band's career, Geddy or Alex would occasionally author the lyrics for a particular song. Here on Permanent Waves, the lyrical credit for "Different Strings" goes to Geddy Lee. It would, in fact, end up being the last Rush song on which he would be credited as the sole lyricist.

One can't help but wonder why Geddy would limit himself to only an occasional lyrical attempt. Twenty years after having written the words for "Different Strings," Geddy would go on to write an entire album's worth of lyrics, when he released his first solo album, My Favorite Headache, in 2000. His lyrics on My Favorite Headache were profound, expressive, insightful, and imaginative. Why, then, did he not write lyrics more frequently in the context of Rush? Geddy was pressed on that very topic, when interviewed by Pierre Robert of radio station WMMR in Philadelphia back in 2000. According to Geddy, the answer is quite simple...

"Because I work with such a prolific, and uh, you know, great lyric writer, Neil, that when you step out on your own you always have a bit of that hesitation."

Point well taken. However, with lyrics on "Different Strings" that seem to parallel the sentiment Neil was trying to convey on "Entre Nous," the song seems to be the perfect lyrical and sequential partner here on Permanent Waves. Within "Entre Nous," for example, Neil wrote the following:

"...I think it's time for us to realize
The spaces in between
Leave room
For you and I to grow..."

Similarly, in "Different Strings," what Geddy realized was comparable:

"...Different eyes see different things
Different hearts
Beat on different strings
But there are times
For you and me
When all such things agree..."

Can there be any greater evidence of the symbiosis that existed between Geddy and Neil in 1979/1980, than in these companion lyrics?

As well, a brief reference was just made to the placement of "Different Strings" in the sequence of Permanent Waves. Sequencing songs on an album can certainly be an arduous task. The best, or most ideal sequence of tracks on an album is a topic that is debated amongst fans of nearly any band or artist, let alone within a band itself. With Permanent Waves, though, that issue has rarely, if ever been raised. In the day and age of social media, where every fan has a voice, the sequencing of tracks on Permanent Waves is something that has not been debated. With Permanent Waves, it would seem that the band was firing on all cylinders. Every decision the band was making seemed to be the right one, sequence of songs included.

The outro of "Different Strings" segues perfectly into the album's closing track. In that outro, Alex plays an emotive solo that fades out almost too quickly, leaving fans - this one included - wanting him to have explored that solo even more. Alex made mention of that very solo, and its brevity, again when talking to Jim Schwartz of Guitar Player magazine in June of 1980.

"It reminds me of soldiers sitting around a piano in a smoke-filled pub in England during the war. It's the type of solo I really enjoy playing - an emotive, bluesy sort of thing. The only problem is that the (outro solo) was added on at the last minute; it really starts to happen as the song ends, which was unfortunate." Among the various adjectives that have been attached to Alex as a soloist, "emotive" is one that appears frequently. Here on "Different Strings," this outro solo is typical of the feel and mood that Alex's gift as a guitarist would allow him to capture with perfection.

I pressed Terry Brown for an explanation as to the decision to have Alex's spark of brilliance fade out so quickly at the end of "Different Strings."

"It's funny you should ask, I've read that so many times. Something tells me in the back of my mind, that we got that chunk of the solo, that was so was hard to make it go anywhere from there, other than just being a longer version of what it was. And at the time, for whatever reason, it seemed, 'No, let's just fade it right here, because it's so cool. Let's just fade it, and it's going to make everybody want more!' (laughs)


Permanent Waves closes in grand fashion with the nine-plus minute, epic track, "Natural Science." The genesis of "Natural Science" is an interesting one, in that it was actually borne from the ashes of another track that the band determined wasn't necessarily a good fit for Permanent Waves. That track, titled "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight," has long been discussed in mythical terms by Rush fans worldwide. Reading the lyrics now, as they appear here within this anniversary release, seen on Neil's original handwritten lyric sheet, would confirm that this idea was indeed not necessarily in step with the lyrical direction the band was taking with Permanent Waves.

Shortly after the release of Permanent Waves, both Geddy and Neil talked about the demise of "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight," and how it inevitably fueled what became "Natural Science."

"It was more or less a question of the atmosphere of the tune and the flavor of the tune," Geddy remarked. "'Sir Gawain' was very renaissance, very English. The rest of the album seemed to have a more up-tempo, harder-edged feel, and it just didn't seem to fit." Neil added, "It was a shorter idea really. It was no more of a conceptual piece than "Natural Science" or "Jacob's Ladder" is. It would have been like a ten-minute track, (maybe) fifteen minutes. When we're working on a song, it has to live up to everyone's expectations, and what everyone wants it to be immediately, or else it doesn't get beyond that stage."

"Natural Science," in fact, was the only track that had not yet been written before the band arrived at Le Studio. How "Sir Gawain" morphed into "Natural Science" at Le Studio was further clarified by Neil.

"('Natural Science') was the one track that wasn't written or arranged before we went into the studio, so it was put together right there. Once we had everything else finished, we started working on overdubs, and I went to work on some lyrics. We took pieces from the old 'Sir Gawain' song, and some other pieces that we hadn't used yet, and cooked up some new ones that we needed for it, over the course of about five, six days we put it together."

"Put it together" in three parts, that is. "Natural Science" is delineated lyrically in three chapters: I. Tide Pools; II. Hyperspace; and, III. Permanent Waves. Jim Ladd was sure to press Neil for insight into the lyrical origin of the closing track, and Neil gladly obliged.

"Obviously, the original relationship between man and nature was you had to tame it to survive. And then that became more and more sophisticated, and more and more out of hand, then finally it became just...destruction, just for the sake of...I guess out of fear or something. And now it's become the same thing with science where people don't understand it and are afraid of it, and they think you need to eradicate it in order to control it. I think it needs a lot more awareness in people's minds about what science is and what it's doing and why. The fact is that science isn't some impersonal thing that's trying to destroy us. It's not an enemy. It's something that we ourselves created. And if it gets out of hand, it's our fault for letting it get out of hand. So, what it boils down to really is, we just have to take ourselves in hand. More than anything, it's we that need the taming."

Neil continued. "I think that the scientific and mechanical world getting out of hand is a symptom, but it's also a symptom of that positive quest to know, and that drive, that I think is one of the most precious things that we have, if it's contained within a reasonable focus. A lot of people don't have enough reason to handle it."

Ultimately, Neil concluded, ""The statement just means that a lot of people think that in order to tame a thing, you have to conquer it. And, I don't think that's true. The line goes, "Science like nature must also be tamed..." But with a view towards its preservation. In other words, you don't have to wipe it out to save it..."

At nine minutes, twenty-seven seconds, "Natural Science" leaves the listener awed by the power, the fury, and the dynamics of its sonic approach. A gentle opening, with Alex gently strumming his Gibson J-55 underneath Geddy's earnest vocal delivery, sitting atop - of all things - water sounds! That lake around Le Studio that Neil romanticized earlier ends up making an appearance here on "Natural Science." As Neil himself recalled, "Alex and I splashed oars in the lake with shivering hands to record the 'Tide Pools' effects; voices and guitar sounds were sent out over the lake to make use of its natural echo."

A barometer for pure progressive rock, "Natural Science" is held in very high regard by both band and fans alike. Yet once again, "Natural Science" sat on the sidelines for far too long. "Natural Science" was featured on the Permanent Waves tour setlist, as well as the following year's Moving Pictures tour setlist. It wasn't until fifteen years later, though, on the opening date of the band's Test For Echo tour, on October 19th of 1996, that "Natural Science" returned to the stage. If "Natural Science" is Rush's progressive rock pinnacle on Permanent Waves, well, it certainly translated just as effectively, if not more, when performed in front of their loyal fans. Geddy himself acknowledged the song's disappearance from the live stage, and its reappearance, when talking with author Martin Popoff in 2004.

"Natural Science is one of my favorite songs. It kind of went away in our live show for many years, and when we brought it back, we changed the arrangement a bit. There were things in the arrangement that were a little shortchanged in the original song. Like in the second part, where we say, 'wheels within wheels.' It's not a traditional song; there's no real verse/chorus/verse/chorus, but there are certain melodies like that I felt deserved to appear more than they did. I thought making that change would give the song more resonance. So, we did those things, and the last section of the song is made shorter than it was in the original version. I felt we had kind of overdone it on the record. So, sometimes there's that opportunity to fix a mistake or an arrangement. I think that our current version live is the best we've ever played it."

An undeniable piece of musical brilliance to close out the album, "Natural Science" revisits one of the aforementioned cores of credibility the band represents - integrity. Its sequential placement here on Permanent Waves was calculated, too, according to Neil in his interview with WABX. "It was sort of cleaning out my notebook. It was a whole string of images and ideas that I had written down, and I finally found a key that would unite them so... It's perhaps a sketchy thread that draws them together, but it has a lot to say. You almost have to look at it verse-by-verse, because verses cover different things that all tie together. It all ties together in with things that are said in 'The Spirit Of Radio,' too. It's sort of... It closes the album advisedly. It sort of wraps up everything else that we said there, and other things that we've said in the past. And musically, too, it's a refinement of an idea that we've been working on. Around the ten-minute period has been a favorite format of ours for a song, and I think this one is probably one of the best ones that we've done."

"One of the best that we've done." A definitively modest understatement. "Natural Science" is a musical work of art, perhaps the track most representative on Permanent Waves of Rush's capability, or, their capacity to achieve results.

Five weeks after arriving at Le Studio, then, with six tracks now put to bed, it was time for playback, which according to Neil was the most enjoyable part of the process.

"The most satisfying and enjoyable of ceremonies; the Final Playback! This is the climax of the whole project for us - the time when we stop working on the album, and just listen to it. This is the moment for which all that has gone before becomes a fair value; all has been worth it. The moment when you sit back and think to yourself, 'It is good.' We hope you agree."

After being universally approved at playback, the band decided to christen their work, "Permanent Waves." That was not, however, the working title of the album. The band had originally considered titling the album "Wavelength," and had gone so far as to planning to use actual EKG's of the band member's hearts while playing, on the album cover. Ultimately, Permanent Waves was the title chosen, one that sent a clear message as to how the band saw themselves in the musical landscape circa 1980. Neil clarified the title, and its message, in conversation with Lynn Van Matre of the Chicago Tribune in March of 1980.

"Regardless of whether we fit in with today's trends in music or not, the vitality is still very strong. And if you've got that vitality, I don't think the stylistic form of music matters. It doesn't make any difference whether you're doing white reggae or the resurrected '50s rock that most new wave music is made up of, or an ongoing thing like we represent, a permanent wave that isn't affected by styles."

"There are many new wave groups we enjoy and respect, like Talking Heads and Elvis Costello and Joe Jackson. Really, the (album title) joke was aimed more at the press, especially the English rock press that is inclined to write off any band that was around last week and go for whatever's happening this week."

The cover art that adorned Permanent Waves was the brainchild of the band's longtime design collaborator, Hugh Syme. In addition to his appearance playing piano on "Different Strings," Hugh created another truly iconic album cover, effectively representing some of the album's lyrical messages onto a canvas full of detail. Permanent Waves album cover model Paula Turnbull is seen surrounded by "chaos," as Neil described it to Sylvie Simmons.

"The idea is her perfect imperturbability in the face of all this chaos. In that, she represents us. All that 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..."

In Hugh Syme's 2015 book, Art Of Rush, Neil revisited the decision to title the album, Permanent Waves.

"Part of Permanent Waves was to say, 'Look, there's no new wave. Whatever this is, we're part of it. We're moved by the same thing that anyone else who loves music, and wants to play music, is moved by. That wave is a 'permanent wave.'"


Permanent Waves was now signed, sealed, and ready to be delivered. Delivered by a brand name postal carrier? Not quite. Perhaps a delivery from a promotional representative from the record label? Try again. How about a hand-delivered copy of Permanent Waves from Neil Peart himself? In October of 2019, I spoke with Ivar Hamilton. Back in 1980, Ivar was one of David Marsden's colleagues at CFNY, where he served as the import music director. In that role, Ivar would sit at the music meetings at CFNY, and bring his stacks of records to the table that he wanted them to play.

I'll let Ivar pick up the story from there.

"We had a few bands that were coming to us, and letting us know that they were kind of influenced by CFNY. But this was the first time we had a band of international stature come to us and say, 'This record's for you.' When Neil Peart dropped Permanent Waves off at the radio station, it was unexpected. It was a pretty magical moment."

"Rush were on Anthem Records here in Canada. They had a guy working for them who was the promo guy at the time, who normally delivered the things. And that's how you usually got an album. But with Rush, to actually have one of the band members get in his car and drop it off at the radio station, and give it to us before anybody else had it, and tell us, 'We did this because of you,' well, I'll never forget it. I've been in the business now for forty-one years, and to me, it was one of the most unforgettable moments of my career. It was a career magic moment."

Speaking with great pride and passion, Ivar continued. "Neil said, 'Here's our new album. We made this for you.' Of course, Neil was sure to point out the song, 'The Spirit Of Radio.' As a radio station, we thought, I guess we are doing things the right way. I guess we are having some real influence on what's going on at the time. To have somebody come in from one of the all-time great rock bands and do that for you, that was... Like I said, it was a real magic moment."

"Rush had a relationship with David Marsden from the early days. The bands that were good business people had relationships with all the major programmers. But in the instance of this and Rush, it wasn't even so much about that. Yes, they were friends with David, but I think with Rush, they had a personal relationship with the music that was being played on our radio station. I can hear it on Permanent Waves. I can say that I was pretty sure they were influenced by things they heard on that radio station."

It would stand to reason that any artist who has put so much heart and soul into the work, would want to present that completed vision with such a personal and celebratory gesture. Certainly, Neil's personal delivery of Permanent Waves to the radio station that inspired the most important song on the album, and in their career, is testament to the celebratory mood in which the band found themselves after having completed recording.

Similar to 2112, Permanent Waves was a point of career demarcation for Rush. They had figuratively shed the skin they had hardened throughout the 1970s, revealing a new layer of depth. It was time, then, to celebrate Permanent Waves with their loyal fans around the world.

In January of 1980, the band embarked on a tour that would see them play nearly one hundred shows throughout the calendar year. Four of the six songs here on Permanent Waves made their way onto that tour's setlist. Those four songs are found here in the accompanying live material included with this anniversary release. With mixing completed in the fall of 2019 by Terry Brown, listening back now to Rush onstage in 1980, you can feel the band playing with an incredible level of energy. Howard Ungerleider shared that even he felt that same growth in their intensity, purpose, and passion on the tour in support of Permanent Waves.

"Rush as a three-piece band had electricity...a cohesiveness. You can hear it. Like The Who, they (Rush) created that power onstage. Rush had that same thing as The Who. Not even Zeppelin had it. David Bowie had it. Queen had it. I'm talking about live performance. They just had that synergy and power."

Not surprisingly, after having spent weeks mixing the live material included with this anniversary release, Terry Brown noticed the band's power onstage as well.

"They were on fire back in those days, not that they haven't been on fire for forty years! But they were really young and still getting comfy with the tunes live; we'd only recorded them a few months earlier - just...powerful, energetic, and enthusiastic, too. You can just feel the energy coming off all the instruments, and Ged's vocals. It's very exciting."

Whatever metrics you might consider, the 1980 Permanent Waves tour was an undeniable success. The band was enjoying the new material they were bringing out on the road. They were peaking as musicians. And, to top it off, they were actually being well-received by some of the same critics who had offered less-than-glowing reviews in years gone by, as Geddy himself noted in an interview on Radio One in London, in June of 1980.

"A lot of writers came out on this tour and came to us before the show and they'd say, 'I never really liked your band very much, but something's going on. There's all these people here that are getting into it, so I'd like to give it a chance and see if I can understand where you're at.' A lot of them did come around. Some of them haven't, but that's fair enough..."

When asked how Permanent Waves and Rush were being received in the United States at that same time, Geddy added, "Very good. Permanent Waves went up to number four in the charts there. It was a very big success. The tour was almost a total sell-out."

Alex Lifeson echoed Geddy's sentiments.

"This tour has been very good. Permanent Waves did quite well on the charts, so to speak. The response has been really good to the album. A lot of people have come out to see the band and it's been quite strong. Of course, in England it's always strong for us."

Not only was Alex thrilled with the tour, but with his own development as a guitarist as well.

"I think I'm probably at a point now where I can say that I pretty well got my own style, but I'm still influenced by a lot of guitar players, attitude more than anything."

By June of 1980, when the band had reached the UK leg of their tour, it had been decided that the follow up to Permanent Waves would be a live album. Therefore, multiple dates during that tour of the UK were recorded. On June 19th, 1980, while in Manchester, Alex explained why.

"We're recording two dates here in Manchester. We recorded the five dates we did in London, and two dates in Glasgow. It will be for a live album, the idea being that the next tour is going to be quite different from this tour."

Ultimately, the band decided to ride their wave of creativity, and follow up Permanent Waves with another studio album.

The Permanent Waves tour was a chance for the band to go out on the road and celebrate the album with their fans worldwide. So, too, is the purpose of this seminal release. This forty-year anniversary release is built on the same premise; that being, a worldwide celebration. Of course, an anniversary doesn't mean that a work of art necessarily has to be celebrated. But Permanent Waves most certainly deserves this recognition.

In his interview with Radio One in London, Geddy summed up the band's vision for Permanent Waves.

"The whole point of Permanent Waves was to try to use and assimilate everything that we'd learned on previous albums, and to write a more concise album. We wanted to write a better album. We wanted to try our hand at writing songs, and trying to use the knowledge that we'd learned by using other instruments, and sort of assembling melody better than we have in the past, and that was the main intent of the album."

Forty years later, we are truly fortunate to have this opportunity to celebrate such a remarkable band and album. So, whether you're experiencing Permanent Waves here for the first time, or for the fortieth time, in the words of Neil Peart himself, "This record is for you..."

Ray Wawrzyniak would like to thank: Andy Curran, Pegi Cecconi, Ivar Hamilton, Jeff Fura, David Marsden, Howard Ungerleider, Terry Brown, Brian Grunert, my incredibly loving and understanding family, and of course... Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and Neil Peart

Original Album Credits

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
Remastered and Lacquers by Sean Magee at Abbey Road Mastering Studios, London, England
All Lyrics © 1980 Anthem Core Music Publishing (SOCAN/SESAC) administered by Anthem
All rights reserved. Used by permission.
Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws.

Original Album Art Direction and graphics by Hugh Syme
Original 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

40th Anniversary Reissue Credits

Produced by Andy Curran and Jeff Fura
Universal Canada Product Manager: Ivar Hamilton

Mastered by Sean Magee at Abbey Road Studios

Creative Direction: Hugh Syme and Jeff Fura
Art Direction, Design and Illustrations: Hugh Syme
Photos: Fin Costello, Rush Archives, Redfern/Getty Images, K.C. Armstrong

UMe Production Manager: Alex Sale
UMe Product Manager: Kristina Waters

Ray Danniels at SRO Management, Inc., Toronto
Pegi Cecconi, Meghan Symsyk, Sheila Posner
Band Legal: David Steinberg

UMe wishes to thank:
Pegi Cecconi, Meghan Symsyk, Patrick McLoughlin, Laura Henry, Helen Murphy, Alison Hamamura, Chris Price, Ray Wawrzyniak, Richard Chycki, Andrew Daw, Adrian Battiston, Andy Curran, Sean Magee, Lucy Launder, Peach Kazen, Vince Szydiosky, Sue Butcher, Greg Bell, Michele Horie
A Mercury Records and an Anthem Records release.
© 2020 Anthem Entertainment L.P. / UMG Recordings, Inc.

Permanent Waves World Tour 1980 Credits

All tracks newly mixed by Terry Brown and previously released (unless noted)

Beneath, Between & Behind
(Live in Manchester)
(Alex Lifeson - Neil Peart)
Recorded at Manchester Apollo, Manchester UK

By-Tor & The Snow Dog
(Live in London)
(Geddy Lee - Alex Lifeson - Neil Peart)
Recorded at Hammersmith Odeon, London UK

(Live in London)
(Geddy Lee - Alex Lifeson - Neil Peart)
Recorded at Hammersmith Odeon, London UK

The Spirit Of Radio
(Live in Manchester)
(Geddy Lee - Alex Lifeson - Neil Peart)
Recorded at Manchester Apollo, Manchester UK

Natural Science
(Live in Manchester)
(Geddy Lee - Alex Lifeson - Neil Peart)
Recorded at Manchester Apollo, Manchester UK

A Passage To Bangkok
(Live in Manchester)
(Geddy Lee - Alex Lifeson - Neil Peart)
Recorded at Manchester Apollo, Manchester UK
Previously available on 2112 - Deluxe Edition (2012)
Not included on CD2

The Trees
(Live in Manchester)
(Geddy Lee - Alex Lifeson - Neil Peart)
Recorded at Manchester Apollo, Manchester UK

Cygnus X-1
(Live in London)
(Geddy Lee - Alex Lifeson - Neil Peart)
Recorded at Hammersmith Odeon, London UK

Cygnus X-1 Book II
(Live in London)
(Geddy Lee - Alex Lifeson - Neil Peart)
Recorded at Hammersmith Odeon, London UK

Closer To The Heart
(Live in Manchester)
(Geddy Lee - Alex Lifeson - Neil Peart - Peter Talbot)
Recorded at Manchester Apollo, Manchester UK

Jacob's Ladder
(Live in Missouri)
(Geddy Lee - Alex Lifeson - Neil Peart)
Recorded at Kiel Auditorium, St. Louis, Missouri

(Live in London)
(Geddy Lee - Alex Lifeson - Neil Peart)
Recorded at Hammersmith Odeon, London UK

SEPTEMBER 12TH, 1952 - JANUARY 7TH, 2020


In Their Own Words

"I'll be honest," says Geddy Lee, smiling although he's complaining. "I'm fed up that every time I turn around that it's the fortieth anniversary of something we've done." -, May 29, 2020
"Permanent Waves-40th Anniversary will be available to fans in four distinct configurations, including the (1) Super Deluxe Edition, (2) two-CD Deluxe Edition, (3) three-LP Deluxe Edition, and (4) Deluxe Digital Edition. The Super Deluxe Edition includes two CDs and three high-quality 180-gram black vinyl LPs. The set encompasses the Abbey Road Mastering Studios 2015 remastered edition of the album for the first time on CD, along with previously unreleased and newly restored bonus content newly mixed from the original analog live multi-tracks by the band's original producer, Terry Brown. The unreleased bonus live tracks come from three stops on the Permanent Waves World Tour 1980: (1) Manchester Apollo in Manchester, England; (2) Hammersmith Odeon in London, England; and (3) Kiel Auditorium in St. Louis, Missouri. The Super Deluxe Edition of Permanent Waves-40th Anniversary will also include several exclusive items, including a 40-page hardcover book with unreleased photos, reimagined artwork by original album designer Hugh Syme, and an extensive & exclusive 12,000-word essay; a replica of the Permanent Waves 1980 official tour program; The Words & Pictures Volume II, a replica of the band's rare 1980 UK-only tour program; a 24x36-inch two-sided wall poster of the original album cover model photo shoot and photos of the band recording at Le Studio; three replica bandmember 1980 tour backstage laminates; three Neil Peart-handwritten lyric sheets for "The Spirit Of Radio," "Entre Nous," and "Natural Science"; and a 20-page 5x7-inch notepad emblazoned with Le Studio letterhead. The second configuration of Permanent Waves-40th Anniversary will be released in a two-CD Deluxe Edition digipak that includes the remastered original album and the live bonus tracks, plus a 20-page booklet with unreleased photos and reimagined artwork by Syme. The third Permanent Waves configuration will be offered as an audiophile black vinyl 180-gram three-LP Deluxe Edition featuring the original album on LP1 and all 12 bonus live tracks on LPs 2 & 3, all housed in a slipcase, along with a 20-page booklet with unreleased photos and Syme's new artwork. Jacket 1 features Syme's original 1980 album artwork in a single-pocket jacket, while Jacket 2 contains the Permanent Waves 1980 Tour bonus content in gatefold form. The fourth configuration, the Deluxe Digital Edition featuring the original album and all 12 bonus live performances." - 40th Anniversary Edition Press Release, PRNewswire, March 26, 2020


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