RUSH: Fly by Night LP 1975. UK

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Description

label: PRICE 19, Mercury – 9100 013
Format: Vinyl , LP, Album  with black inner protective bag for the vinyl
Country: UK
Released: 1975
Genre: Hard rock , prog rock
Tracklist
A1 Anthem 4:10
A2 Best I can 3:24
A3 Beneath, Between & Behind 3:00
By-Tor & The Snow Dog (8:57)
A4.1 At The Tobes Of Hades
A4.2 Across The Styx
A4.3 Of The Battle
A4.4 Epilogue
B1 Fly By Night 3:20
B2 Making Memories 2:56
B3 Rivendell 5:00
B4 In The End 6:51

Phonographic Copyright (p) – Phonogram, Inc.
Marketed By – Phonogram
Published By – Core Music Publishing
Recorded At – Toronto Sound Studios

Arranged By – Rush , Terry Brown
Bass, Guitar [Classical], Vocals – Geddy Lee
Drums, Percussion – Neil Peart
Guitar – Alex Lifeson
Producer – Rush , Terry Brown
Written-By – A. Lifeson * (tracks: A1, A3, A4, B2, B4), G. Lee * (tracks: A1, A2, A4 to B4), N. Peart * (tracks: A1, A3 to B4 )


Fly by Night is the second studio album by the Canadian rock band Rush, released in February 1975.
This was the first Rush album to feature drummer Neil Peart. In addition to drumming duties, Peart also took on the job of lyricist by default, leading the band to adopt a more literary lyrical style that differed significantly from the debut album. The songs “”By-Tor and the Snow Dog”” and “”Rivendell”” are examples of the inclusion of fantasy themes into Rush music.
“”By-Tor and the Snow Dog”” was inspired by Rush roadie Howard Ungerleider story of him staying at Anthem records owner Ray Danniels’ house, where Danniels’ German Shepherd growled at him, and a tiny dog also owned by Danniels tried to jump on him. Ungerleider told Rush about it and they thought it was hilarious.
“”Anthem”” features lyrics inspired by the philosophy of Ayn Rand, whose influence on Peart writing would reach its apogee on the band 1976 album 2112. “”Anthem”” features a riff like the one in last albums “”Finding My Way””, but speeded. Alex Lifeson plays a high speed solo in the song. Geddy Lee does 2 screams and Neil Peart does a skilled drum solo. The autobiographical “”Fly by Night”” is based on Peart experience of moving from Canada to London as a young musician (before joining Rush). The original hand-penned lyrics for both “”Anthem”” and “”Fly by Night”” include different or additional lyrics not sung in the original songs. The original lyrics to “”Fly By Night”” include a prologue which is not found in the final song.

Production details:
Fly by Night was recorded at Toronto Sound Studios in Toronto. Rush also recorded parts of their first album at the same studio. However, since the first album sessions the studio was updated from 1 inch 8-track to 2 inch 16-track master tape recorders, allowing the group to have far more flexibility in overdubbing and mixing. Pictures shown on the album artwork indicate that the studio used a Studer 16 track recorder and a Neve mixing console, a combination that was widely considered to be state of the art by audio engineers, and was also used by many other top studios worldwide up through the early 1990s. Fly by Night is the band first album to be produced by Terry Brown, who had remixed the band debut album. Brown would maintain this role until 1982 Signals.

Track listing:
“”Anthem”” (Lee, Lifeson, Peart) – 4:36
“”Best I Can”” (Lee) – 3:24
“”Beneath, Between & Behind”” (Lifeson, Peart) – 2:59
“”By-Tor and the Snow Dog”” (Lee, Lifeson, Peart) – 8:36
I. At the Tobes of Hades
II. Across the Styx
III. Of the Battle
1. Challenge and Defiance
2. 7/4 War Furor
3. Aftermath
4. Hymn of Triumph
IV. Epilogue
“”Fly by Night”” (Lee, Peart) – 3:21
“”Making Memories”” (Lee, Lifeson, Peart) – 2:58
“”Rivendell”” (Lee, Peart) – 4:57
“”In the End”” (Lee, Lifeson) – 6:48

The lyrics of “”Anthem”” are heavily influenced by novelist and objectivist Ayn Rand, whose ideas heavily influenced Rush lyricist Neil Peart at the time. The song title is the same as Rand novella Anthem. “”Beneath, Between & Behind”” is the only song in Rush catalog that is written by only Peart and Lifeson, without Lee influence, and is about the discovery of America and the birth of the nation. It refers to the rapid growth, immigration, wars, and the American Dream. According to Geddy Lee on VH1-Classic “”Hangin’ With””, this was the first Rush song with lyrics contributed by Neil Peart. “”Making Memories”” is one of the few examples that all three members of Rush contributed to the lyrics, written while they were on tour riding around in a rental car near St. Louis. The song portrays the bands’ feelings about touring. “”Making Memories”” is the only Rush song to feature slide guitar, played by Lifeson, and has never been performed live. “”Rivendell”” is notable for being one of the few Rush songs to feature Geddy Lee on classical guitar, as well as one of the few Rush songs to not feature drums. This song is an example of the inclusion of fantasy themes into Rush music. It is inspired by the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, and refers to the fictional elven city of the same name featured in the novels The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. It is one of two references to Tolkien writings in the band catalog.

Geddy Lee – Bass guitar, Classical guitar, vocals
Alex Lifeson – acoustic and electric guitars
Neil Peart – drums and percussion


Anthem [Background and Commentary]

“‘Anthem’ polished the sculpted, hard-rock sound of the first album to a glistening sheen.”—John Swenson, Rush Chronicles

“We were trying to be quite individual with ‘Fly by Night,’ which was the first record that Neil, Geddy and I did together. [‘Anthem’] was the signature for that album. Coincidentally, the name of our record company, which is Anthem Records in Canada, came from this song. Neil was in an Ayn Rand period, so he wrote the song about being very individual. We thought we were doing something that was different from everybody else. . . . I was using a Gibson ES-335 then, and I had a Fender Twin and a Marshall 50-watt with a single 4×12 cabinet. An Echoplex was my only effect.”—Alex in a 1996 Guitar World interview

“Alex and I had written this riff and we had written it back in the day when Rutsey was in the band, and Rutsey wasn’t into playing it. It was too complicated and it wasn’t his thing. He was more into straight-ahead rock & roll. We jammed with Neil the first day we met him on this opening riff. When he started playing, we looked at each other and were like, ‘Yeah, this is the guy. He can play. He’ll do.’”—Geddy in 2013 Rolling Stone interview

“When Neil Peart joined Rush in 1974, ‘Anthem’ was the first song produced by the new trio. It established Rush’s working arrangement—with Lee and Lifeson composing the music and Peart providing the lyrics—and it prefigured several hallmarks of Rush’s mature style, including the use of asymmetrical meters (7/8 for the song’s intro), contrapuntal separation between the bass and the guitar, and elaborate drum fills. [Contrapuntal means two or more independent but harmonically related melodic parts sounding together.] Most important, it introduced the theme for which Rush would become most renowned—individualism. ‘Anthem’ shares its title with with a short novella by Russian American writer Ayn Rand, an author Peart very much admired during the mid-1970s, and whom Rush would acknowledge two years later as the inspiration for ‘2112.’ [In the novella, a totalitarian state eliminates individual rights (even outlaws the word “I”), and only allows state-planned technological progress.]

“Rand, a Soviet defector, came to the United States in 1926 with boundless enthusiasm for some of the key pillars of American identity—liberty, individualism, capitalism, and certain constitutional rights—which stood in marked contrast to the political climate she fled in the USSR . . . . ‘Anthem’ merged heavy metal with individualist philosophy. . . . Rush was never a one-issue band, but individualism recurred frequently in the group’s repertoire . . . .”

“The song “could well be seen as a paean to the 1970s, which became known as the ‘Me Decade.’ It urges listeners to pursue their own interests and forget about what others think. Drawing on Rand’s ethic called the ‘virtue of selfishness,’ the song tells listeners to take ownership of their lives and never let anyone tell them ‘that you owe it all to me.’”—Christopher McDonald, Rush, Rock Music, and the Middle Class

“Paradoxically, Rand would probably have been horrified by the group. Although they went their own way, they did so collectively, and Rand railed against long-haired hippies and rock music on several occasions, most notably in a collection of essays on the Woodstock Generation.”—Bill Banasiewicz, Rush Visions


Best I Can [Background and Commentary]

The band had been playing “Best I Can” in pre-Neil days but waited until Fly By Night to press it into vinyl. To hear how Neil’s highly compositional approach to drumming added dynamism to the song, you just need to compare how Neil opens the song on the album to John Rutsey’s opening, an example of which was recoded at a live 1974 St. Catharines, Ontario, performance.Rob Freedman, Rush Vault

“Even golden oldie ‘Best I Can’ gets an unexpected bounce from that new drummer there.”—Martin Popoff, Contents Under Pressure

Lyrically, “Best I Can” is a throwback to the band’s days of making up words on the fly. It wouldn’t be too off the mark to say it’s little more than a middle finger directed at snobs. “Bankers and boasters / All the bluffers and posers / I’m not into that scene.”

“This song announces a theme of dreaming of success [in rock and roll as opposed to the corporate suite], which became a Rush staple over the next few albums.”—Robert Telleria, Merely Players


Beneath, Between & Behind  [Background and Commentary]

“The song opens with a guitar riff like the break in Led Zeppelin’s ‘Heartbreaker.’ Contrary to some fans’ opinions, this is not a sexual song, but harkens to the ideas of travel, departure, immigration, and new beginnings.”—Robert Telleria, Merely Players

Chris McDonald in his essay “Enlightened Thoughts, Mystic Words” in Rush and Philosophy says the piece is about the failed promise of the United States. The country was built on rational, humanistic ideals, the kind of ideals that grew out of the Enlightenment, but with the encroachment of fundamentalist religion and other backward movements, the country is failing to live up to its early promise.

The influence of Ayn Rand is evident in lines referencing cracks in the foundation of the virgin land’s principles, which can be taken to mean that the American promise of individualism is facing erosion from encroachment by a paternalistic state: “Beneath the noble bird / Between the proudest words / Behind the beauty cracks appear / Once with heads held high / They sang out to the sky / Why do their shadows bow in fear? . . . The guns replace the plow, facades are tarnished now / The principles have been betrayed / The dream’s gone stale.”—Rob Freedman, Rush Vault

Geddy in an interview on VH1-Classic’s Hanging With says the lyrics were the first they co-wrote with Neil.


By-Tor and the Snow Dog  [Background and Commentary]

The song is the band’s “brisk, slashing, progressive-metal blueprint.”—Martin Popoff, Contents Under Pressure

“‘By-Tor and the Snowdog’ marks the beginning of a Rush tradition of extended story songs, in this case a battle between By-Tor and the Snowdog. The song has bite in more ways than one. Howard Ungerleider [the band’s long-time roadie] came up with the title one night at a party at Rush manager Ray Danniels’ house.

Snow dog at guard. Graham Whieldon

“‘Ray had these two dogs. One was a German Shepherd that had these fangs, and the other was this little tiny white nervous dog. I used to call the Shepherd By-Tor because anyone who would walk into the house would get bitten by him. Ray would go, “The dog is trained fine; don’t worry about it.” Well, the night of the party, we were sitting down eating our steaks when the Shepherd started biting my leg. I started screaming and calling the dog By-Tor. Now, the other dog was real neurotic, constantly barking and jumping all over you. And since he was a snow dog, I started calling the pair By-Tor and the Snowdog.”‘—Bill Banasiewicz, Rush Visions

“We must have been high one day, imagining a song about these two dogs. And then Neil went ahead and wrote it. But the guys at our record company weren’t happy. They signed the band that was on the first album, and they said, ‘This is not the same – what is this By-tor shit? You were talking about Working Man and now you’re talking about this crazy stuff.’ It was a bit of hiccup in the plan they had for us. … The title of the first part of By-tor and the Snow Dog is a mystery to all three members of Rush. Geddy: “I don’t know what ‘tobes’ are. I assumed that Neil knew, and there must be such a place in mythology. I just went with it.” Alex: “I think the Tobes of Hades is kind of like the waiting room to Hell!” Neil: “Nobody know what it means – that’s what I love about it. But it’s something that my friend’s father used to say: ‘It’s hotter than the Tobes of Hades!’”—Geddy, Alex, and Neil, Prog Magazine, Issue 35, April 2013

“My friend’s dad always said ‘colder than the Tobes of Hell.’ That’s all. I don’t know what it means.”—Neil in Backstage Club (1990), quoted in Merely Players

“‘Eth’ is an Old English name, probably for demonic power. Styx was a river in Hades, the underworld. This song is an 8-minuter demonstrating the band’s early musical unity and prowess. The song is the first to be broken up in sections: Section III was originally called ‘The battle.’”—Robert Telleria, Merely Players

One of the memorable riffs in the piece, during which the two dogs go at it, was originally part of Alex’s solo in the live version of “Working Man.” More on this or watch 30-second video.


Fly by Night [Background and Commentary]

“‘Fly by Night’ offers a hint of the kind of melodic song structure that the band would eventually evolve.”—John Swenson, Rush Chronicles

Neil wrote a short prologue to the piece that isn’t in the song: “airport scurry / flurry faces / parade of passers-by / people going many places / with a smile or just a sigh / waiting, waiting, pass the time / another cigarette / get in line, gate thirty-nine / the time is not here yet.”—Robert Telleria, Merely Players

The theme of being suspended between places, waiting to move, as featured in this song, is weaved throughout the band’s work. Neil talks about the feelings evoked specifically by airports, as environments that are both grounded in place and not grounded in place, in “YYZ.”—Rob Freedman, Rush Vault

“Fly by Night” and a few other of the first songs with lyrics written by Neil made an appearance before the second album was recorded in a WQIV (New York City) radio concert at the end of 1974. In this concert, ‘Fly by Night’ “was very different,” with “By-Tor and the Snowdog” tacked onto its end, among other things. In its final version, as recorded, it was considered the most pop-like piece on the album. “The second side opens on a high note with ‘Fly by Night,’ a really potential hit single.”—Bill Banasiewicz, Rush Visions

Martin Popoff calls it a “progressive pop” piece.


Making Memories [background and Commentary]

“‘Making Memories’ was written on a drive where we got lost. It was in the Midwest somewhere, Indiana, maybe. I forget where we were going, but we made a right, and we should have made a left! We went out of our way by a few hours, and we were sitting in the car with an acoustic guitar, and that’s the way we wrote the songs then. Pretty much everything was written in dressing rooms and sound checks. Neil’s lyrics were written on the road. That one was all written before we went into the studio.”—Alex in Contents Under Pressure

The piece, which was never played in the live set, “ties in the ‘fly by night’ theme with its mood and wanderlust.”—Robert Telleria, Merely Players

Musically, Geddy almost seems to be channeling Patrick Simmons of the Doobie Brothers in its bluegrass-like hit, Black Water, which came out the same year as Fly by Night, 1975. There’s no fiddle or a cappella section in “Making Memories,” but Geddy and Simmons share the same vocal intonation.


Rivendell [Background and Commentary]

“The title comes from the serene village in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, which was inhabited by elves and landscaped by misty mountains (mist was an ancient mystery as it was an indeterminate element). It was a paradise on earth.”—Robert Telleria, Merely Players

In the piece, “ethereal timbres depict the elven sanctuary through gentle mid-range vocals, classical guitar (played by Geddy), soft and slow electric guitar, and no bass or percussion. In the electric guitar part, the volume fades in and out on each note, making their attacks and releases inaudible. This dissociates the sounds from the physical act of playing, enhancing their unearthliness.”—Nicole Biamonte, “Contre Nous,” in Rush and Philosophy. Biamonte points to the piece as an example of the band using exotic sounds to depict a literary landscape.

“Geddy’s keening vocals suggest the beauty this imaginary refuge had for him and Neil. Tolkien’s influence could also be heard on ‘By-Tor and the Snowdog’ and several later songs by the band. . . . The ever-popular Tolkien inspired other early 1970s rockers, including Led Zeppelin.”—Bill Banasiewicz, Rush Visions

Geddy tells a funny story about recording the song. The band had been working on Fly by Night for several days straight with little sleep and were due to leave the next day. Producer Terry Brown kept playing “Rivendell,” the last song to be mixed, to get their take on how it sounded. But the band members could never stay awake long enough to give their opinion. “We would begin the song, listening back, all kind of lying on the floor in front of the mixing console and we’d get to the end of the song and every single time one of us was sound asleep.”—Geddy in an April 16, 2013, interview with Jim Ladd, the day before the band’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Watch 40-second clip on this. 

Among the Tolkien-inspired Led Zeppelin pieces: “Ramble On,” “Misty Mountain Hop,” The Battle of Evermore,” and “Stairway to Heaven.”


In the End [Background and Commentary]

“A coming home (from the road) song. Neil’s original lyric sheet had the title written on a tombstone, which suggests a more serious meaning for the song.”—Robert Telleria, Merely Players

“‘In the End’ opens quietly, much like ‘Rivendell,’ but then Alex kicks in with a killer guitar riff, followed by Neil and Geddy before a classic Rush tempo change.”—Bill Banasiewicz, Rush Visions

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