Blogospheres

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Happy 35th anniversary Hemispheres!
6:49AM EST | comments (63) |

Today is the 35th anniversary of the release of Rush's 6th studio album and progressive rock masterpiece, Hemispheres, which was released on October 29, 1978. Hemispheres was produced by Terry Brown and recorded in the summer of 1978 at Rockfield Studios in South Wales, UK. It peaked at #47 on the US Billboard charts, was certified Gold on December 14, 1978 and was certified Platinum on December 1, 1993. A remastered version was also released in 1997 and yet another remastered version was released in 2011 as part of the Sectors box set. Just last month Audio Fidelity released an SACD version of the album as well. Here's what the allmusic review has to say about the album:

While such albums as 1980's Permanent Waves and 1981's Moving Pictures are usually considered Rush's masterpieces (and with good reason), 1978's Hemispheres is just as deserving. Maybe the fact that the album consists of only four compositions (half are lengthy pieces) was a bit too intimidating for some, but the near 20-minute-long "Cygnus X-1 Book II - Hemispheres" is arguably the band's finest extended track. While the story line isn't as comprehensible as "2112" was, it's much more consistent musically, twisting and turning through five different sections which contrast heavy rock sections against more sedate pieces. Neil Peart had become one of rock's most accomplished lyricists by this point, as evidenced by "The Trees," which deals with racism and inequality in a unique way (set in a forest!). And as always, the trio prove to be experts at their instruments, this time on the complex instrumental "La Villa Strangiato." Geddy Lee's shrieking vocals on the otherwise solid "Circumstances" may border on the irritating, but Hemispheres remains one of Rush's greatest releases.

Today also marks the 28th anniversary of the 1985 release of Power Windows, and the 32nd anniversary of the 1981 release of Exit ... Stage Left. Here's a 1979 live performance of La Villa Strangiato from the PinkPop festival:

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#63 - Posted 11/2/13 @8:40PM by Enigmaticus [contact]

You are very welcome #59,

I have been accused by my colleagues as being a "prog snob," a moniker which I would not necessarily agree with.

Perhaps the problem with "prog purists" is the fact that they need to hear 10 minute plus complicated pieces to declare them "prog." Of course, acknowledging "Power Windows" as a great "art rock" album, now places bands, such as Duran Duran entirely within the "art rock" sphere.

Well even to detractors like Jerry Lucky, this is an anathema. So, they tend to dismiss mid 1980's thru late 1990's Rush as "pop" not "prog." Jerry Ewing, fortunately had a different opinion, he said that "everything that Rush does is progressive." as far as I am concerned, he has hit the nail on the head on that one!
#62 - Posted 11/2/13 @2:41PM by 1357

Such a HEAVY album!When I simply want to hear RUSH musically this is a TOP selection. To have been there for the live tour! I was only eight then. Man oh man!
#61 - Posted 11/1/13 @12:49PM by audiorushphile [contact]

and i have to agree with your comment on alex's sound--especially that first solo in Dionysus--'to find out what they have LOST" """"""""""""""""""""""""" nothing like it. and of course, the sound of the ultimate masterpiece, SideB Track 3.
#60 - Posted 11/1/13 @12:37PM by audiorushphile [contact]

RushEsq, thank you for your feedback.
#59 - Posted 10/31/13 @4:56PM by What-A-Rush

'Enigmaticus', to your comment regarding 'Power Windows' (#36) it's interesting that you place it under the category of "art rock". I'm not sure that many prog "purists" would agree- although I certainly could be wrong- with your assessment. Be that as it may, I think that it's one of the BEST Rush albums EVER, and arguably contains Neil's greatest songwriting of his career. Frankly, if 'Moving Pictures' didn't exist, 1985's 'Power Windows' would be THE quintessential Rush album, which is saying A LOT!

Excellent production, brilliant lyrics, and masterful, yet tasteful, instrumentation are what make 'Power Windows' the true ( and HIGHLY underrated) MASTERPIECE that it is! FIVE STARS! Always a pleasure to read your commentary on your passion for all things PROG! Great comment. Thanks RIAB!
#58 - Posted 10/31/13 @4:23PM by What-A-Rush

To answer the question posed by 'Enigmaticus' (#32) I resonate the most with letter 'C'. I'm more than content to consider Rush "progressive hard rock". In my opinion, that's what separates Rush from the bands who influenced them. While I'll openly acknowledge that I'm not a prog "purist", I think that some of the progressive bands miss the mark when it comes to the SONGS. I certainly admire the emphasis on musicianship, but when all is said and done, technical proficiency means nothing if the songs suffer as a result. Overall, Rush never forgot the importance of the SONG, which is ultimately the reason why they continue to thrive AND survive as long as they have and the WAY they have. The same cannot be said about some of their "heroes",or "contemporaries", for that matter. My opinion, mind you.

Since we're all discussing 'Hemispheres' my view is a little different. Personally, I think side 2 is FAR SUPERIOR to side 1. I think they tried a little too hard to top side 1 of '2112' and ultimately fell short. Frankly, it proved to me that more ISN'T always better. As it turned out, they proved that with 'Permanent Waves' which again, in my opinion, is a better album for that reason alone. All that said, I can certainly understand why 'Hemispheres' is revered by MANY in the Rush fan base, especially first generation fans who bought it at or around the time of it's initial release. Good album AND great comments everybody! Thanks RIAB!
#57 - Posted 10/31/13 @2:57PM by RushEsq [contact]

I consider Hemispheres to be Rush's greatest work, undoubtedly my all-time favorite album by anyone. This was the pinnacle of their prog rock era. Similar to one of the other posters, I started to get into them in the early to mid 80's and started working my way back through their catalog. When I got to Hemispheres, much like Apollo, I "was astonished." I adore all the songs on the album, but I can remember listening to just Book II over and over again, thinking to myself - how did 3 guys make such a sonic masterpiece? This has to be Alex's best sound of any album, it's almost like a trademark sound.

Anyone else have The Tour of the Hemispheres bootleg from Oslo, Norway? I'll have to check out the Detroit sound board one - wow, what a dream set that would be to hear today.

#43 - I got the SACD but I don't actually have a SACD player yet, (some Blu-ray players play SACD, so I might go that route). I do have have high-end car stereo, however, so I figured I'd give it a shot in that. There's still some hiss, and at points it can sound a bit tinny, but the positives outweigh the negatives. In particular, the hard then soft guitars and bass in Book II, especially where the two Gods are trading barbs (..."I bring truth and understanding..." ..."you need only trust your feelings" etc.) sound flipping amazing.
#56 - Posted 10/31/13 @9:35AM by jaeger [contact]

I can watch the Pink Pop video endlessly. What an historical document!
#55 - Posted 10/31/13 @9:31AM by Enigmaticus [contact]

On Tuesday evening, I had purchased the SACD of "Hemispheres."

With regards to the not too distant future, I hope that Audiofidelity will continue to release SACD 's of Rush's works, maybe "Exit... Stage Left" will be their new release. Oh I know, why not have Rush revisit the songs on "Exit... Stage Left," with the support of a full symphony orchestra. That would be the ultimate version of this masterpiece, in my honest opinion?
#54 - Posted 10/31/13 @9:21AM by Enigmaticus [contact]

On a cold rainy day in December, 1980, I would stop in at a now-defunct record store named "Roads To Moscow" to make my first purchase of a Rush album on cassette.

For the price of $8.00 + tax, I had purchased "A Farewell To Kings." When I had returned to my dorm room, I had climbed up into the top bunk and had fallen asleep, while listening to 'Xanadu' on my primitive cassette player. As the song had played, I had conjured up amazing visions of riding the winged horse, Pegasus, across the high mountaintops of the Himalayas. Finally, I had landed by a cave, near the top of Mt. Everest.

Posted by Enigmaticus on Sunday, 08.18.13 @ 15:21pm

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