IN JUNE OF 1977, CANADIAN PREMIER HARD ROCK band, Rush, delivered A Farewell to Kings [Mercury]-a sprawling and ambitious album that positioned the trio among preeminent progressive rock outfits like Genesis and Yes. Dwarfed in scale by other album tracks like "Xanadu" and "Cygnus X-1" (which clock in at over ten minutes apiece), a cute little curio called "Closer to the Heart" delivered its punch in under three minutes. The song features a knockout performance from Geddy Lee, who lays out mercurial scalar runs and fugal countermelodies on bass that mirror the twists and turns of his clarion vocals.
As you play along, you'll hear the feel change at the guitar solo (C)-thats where drummer Neil Peart switches the groove from slow-and-steady 16th-notes to eighth-notes in double time. In typical Rush fashion (see "Freewill" transcription, March '06), Geddy takes the guitar solo as a cue to stretch out with some licks of his own. Listen to how his rhythmic inventions interact with the drums every fourth bar, and check out the cool cadential figure he plays in bars 42-43. In the dynamic build that starts at bar 44, Geddy introduces some variations on the main riff: first with octave pedaling in bars 46-47, then with a countermelody in bar 51. As the track fades, listen for more scalar licks and vocal tricks. This is rock & roll multitasking at its absolute best.