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2112 (pronounced "twenty-one twelve") is the fourth studio album by the Canadian rock band Rush, released on April 1, 1976 by Anthem Records. After they finished touring their previous album, Caress of Steel, in early 1976, the band were in financial hardship due to the album's disappointing sales, unfavourable critical reception, and a decline in numbers at their shows. Their international label, Mercury Records, considered dropping them but granted Rush one more album following negotiations with their manager Ray Danniels. 2112 was recorded in February 1976 in Toronto with their longtime producer Terry Brown. Its centrepiece is a 20-minute title track, a futuristic science-fiction song, with five individual tracks on side two.

2112
Rush 2112.jpg
Studio album by Rush
Released April 1, 1976
Recorded February 1976
Studio Toronto Sound Studios
(Toronto, Canada)
Genre
Length 38:42
Label Anthem
Producer
Rush chronology
Caress of Steel
(1975)
2112
(1976)
All the World's a Stage
(1976)
Singles from 2112
  1. "The Twilight Zone"
    Released: 1976
  2. "2112 Overture/The Temples of Syrinx"
    Released: 1976
  3. "A Passage to Bangkok"
    Released: 1977

2112 was released to favourable reviews from music critics and quickly outsold the band's previous albums. It peaked at No. 5 on the Canadian Albums Chart and No. 61 on the US Billboard Top LPs & Tape. Rush supported the album with a tour of North America and, for the first time, across Europe, from February 1976 to June 1977. 2112 remains the band's second highest selling album with over 3 million copies sold in the US. It is listed in 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, and ranked second on Rolling Stone's reader's poll, Your Favorite Prog Rock Albums of All Time.[3] 2112 has been reissued several times; a 40th Anniversary Edition was released in 2016 with previously unreleased material, including the album performed by artists including Dave Grohl, Taylor Hawkins, Steven Wilson, and Alice in Chains.

Contents

BackgroundEdit

In January 1976, Rush ended their 1975–1976 North American tour to support their third studio album, Caress of Steel. They had enjoyed writing and recording the album yet Lifeson recalled the group in a state of confusion after the tour, sensing the disappointing reaction from crowds after playing it on stage.[4] The progressive rock-themed album with lengthy, story-based songs, complex song structures, and hard to grasp lyrics, made it difficult to receive radio airplay and promote effectively.[4] Lee said the band could not understand the underwhelming response, and later dubbed the tour the "Down the Tubes Tour" as they struggled to meet their $125 a week salary, and their crowds had declined.[5] Lee added, "That really shakes your confidence. We were so confused and disheartened".[4] In 1980, Lifeson picked this moment of the band's history as the only time he felt close to giving up.[6]

To make matters worse, Caress of Steel raised concerns for management at Mercury Records, their international label, who considered dropping them. Rush manager Ray Danniels then flew to their head offices in Chicago to regain their confidence, and spoke highly of the band's new ideas for a new album without hearing any of it. Mercury complied, and gave the green-light to one more album.[4] Despite the pressure from the label and management to make a more commercial record, the band ignored the advice and proceeded with material as they saw fit.[4] Lifeson questioned the musical direction the band were to take at such a crucial time in the band's history. "I remember having these conversations about, 'What are we going to do? Are we going to try to make another mini-Led Zeppelin record or are we going to do what we are going to do and continue forward and whatever happens, happens?' That's what we honestly decided to do. We fully in-tended to go down in flames but we were prepared to do that".[4]

ProductionEdit

Writing and recordingEdit

Rush began to put down musical ideas for 2112 in backstage dressing rooms, hotel rooms, and in their touring van across North America during the Caress of Steel tour.[5] As Peart started to write lyrics, Lee and Lifeson would write songs that complimented the mood of what Peart was writing about.[7] Most of it was performed on acoustic guitars with exception to some electric guitar passages with a portable Pignose practice amplifier.[4] They took notice of writing music with little use of overdubbing as they wished to recreate it on stage as much as possible.[8] Lifeson recalled developing the "The Temples of Syrinx", the first piece worked on, section of the title track backstage at a gig in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario in front of their opening act Mendelson Joe.[4] The album was written in approximately six months,[8] with "Overture" being the final piece developed.[9] Rush made a conscious effort to exclude Danniels from the writing and recording sessions, and only played the album to him when it was finished.[4] Musically speaking, 2112 was the first album that Lifeson said "really sounded like Rush".[5]

2112 was recorded in February 1976 across four weeks at Toronto Sound Studios, with their longtime associate Terry Brown assuming his role as producer.[10][8][4] The studio was fitted with a 24-track machine manufactured by Studer. Lifeson plays a 1968 Gibson ES-335 for the majority of the electric guitar parts on 2112, with some lead parts played on a Gibson Les Paul Standard. For the acoustic sections, he plays a 12-string Gibson B-45 and a 6-string Gibson Dove. His amplifiers were the Fender Super Reverb and a Twin Reverb.[6] A section of "Discovery" features Lifeson playing a Fender Stratocaster that he borrowed off a friend.[5] At the time of recording 2112, Lee was using a Rickenbacker 4001 bass with stereo output, which Brown fed one channel directly into the mixing board and fed into a compressor, and the other channelled into Lee's Electro-Voice speakers turned up to maximum.[4] Upon completion, the band expressed an interest to record in another studio to explore different sounds.[11]

SongsEdit

Side oneEdit

Side one of the album is occupied by the 20-minute futuristic science fiction song "2112". The seven-part track is based on a story by Peart, the band's primarily lyricist, who credits "the genius of Ayn Rand" in the album's liner notes. Rand, a Russian-born, Jewish-American novelist and inventor of the philosophy of objectivism, wrote the 1937 dystopian fictional novella Anthem, the plot of which bears several similarities to 2112, and all members read the book.[12] Peart added the credit to avoid any legal action. The credit caused the band significant negative publicity, with some even labelling them right-wing extremists. In the British paper NME, Barry Miles made allusions to Nazism, which particularly offended Lee, whose parents were Holocaust survivors.[4] The first and last sections, "Overture" and "Grande Finale", respectively, are instrumental and borrows a short sequence from 1812 Overture by Pyotr Tchaikovsky.[4][5] The "Overture" features an introduction from graphic designer and musician Hugh Syme performed on a ARP Odyssey synthesizer with an Echoplex Delay pedal. Music writer and professor Rob Bowman calculated that in the entire piece, 2:34 of the song contains improvised guitar solos.[4] "Overture" contains the lyric "And the meek shall inherit the earth", a reference to the Biblical passages Book of Psalms 37:11 and Matthew 5:5.[4]

"2112" tells a story set in the city of Megadon in the year 2112,[13] "where individualism and creativity are outlawed with the population controlled by a cabal of malevolent Priests who reside in the Temple of Syrinx".[4] A galaxy-wide war resulted in the planets forcefully joining the Red Star, a union of the Solar Federation. By 2112, the world is controlled by the priests who take orders from giant banks of computers inside the temple.[13] Music is unknown in the world absent of creativity and individuality, but in "Overture", a nameless man finds a beaten guitar inside a cave and rediscovers the lost art of music.[7][13][7] In "Presentation", the man brings the guitar to the priests at the temple, who fail to recognise it and angrily destroy it and banish him. Next, in "Oracle: The Dream", the man dreams of a new planet, established at the same time of the Solar Federation, where creative people live.[7] He awakens, depressed that music is part of such a civilisation and that he can never be part of it, and commits suicide, in "Soliloquy", originally titled "Soliloquy of the Soul".[4] Another planetary war begins in "Grand Finale",[12] originally named "Denouement",[4] resulting in the ambiguous spoken ending: "Attention all planets of the Solar Federation: We have assumed control". Peart described the ending as a "double surprise ... a real Hitchcock killer".[13]

Side twoEdit

Side two contains five individual songs that display the band's more traditional hard rock sound and Lee's higher pitched vocals that was adopted on their previous albums.[7] Lifeson said having a title track more serious, the rest of the album was to be "just a little lighter and a little more fun".[4] Bowman wrote the variation of styles on side two offers "a very different listening experience" in comparison.[4] Though the tracks are not specifically about the "2112" concept, they do contain ideas that can relate to its overall theme.[12] Lee wrote the lyrics for "Tears" and Lifeson wrote the words on "Lessons", while Peart wrote the rest.[14]

"A Passage to Bangkok" is a song about marijuana; Lee said it is "a travelogue for all the places in the world that grow the best weed". The track mentions the cities of Bogota and Bangkok.[9] Rush started to write "The Twilight Zone" at a time when they needed one more song to fill both sides of the vinyl record. The band were big fans of the television series The Twilight Zone, and based the track on the stories written for it from its host, Rod Serling.[9] "Lessons" is one of the few Rush songs written solely by Lifeson. For him, the process of songwriting is more seldom and spontaneous in comparison to dedicating time to write, rehearse, and scrap parts that do not work.[6] "Tears" is a romantic ballad and is the first Rush track to incorporate the Mellotron, which Syme performs.[9] "Something for Nothing" is a song about freewill and decision making.[9] Regarding this song, Peart states: "All those paeans to American restlessness and the American road carried a tinge of wistfulness, an acknowledgement of the hardships of the vagrant life, the notion that wanderlust could be involuntary, exile as much as freedom, and indeed, the understanding that freedom wasn't free. In the mid-1970s, the band was driving to a show in downtown Los Angeles, at the Shrine Auditorium, and I noticed some graffiti splattered across a wall: 'Freedom isn't free,' and I adapted that for a song on 2112."

ArtworkEdit

 
Rush's "Starman" emblem, first printed on the cover of 2112, designed by Hugh Syme

The Starman emblem (also known as the 'Man in the Star' logo) was adopted by Rush fans as a logo since its first appearance on the back cover of 2112. Peart described the Starman in an interview with Creem magazine:

All (the naked man) means is the abstract man against the masses. The red star symbolizes any collectivist mentality.

On the album art, the "collectivist mentality" is depicted as the Red Star of the Solar Federation, which, according to the plot, is a galaxy-wide federation that controls all aspects of life during the year 2112. The figure in the emblem is depicted as the "Hero". Hugh Syme, the creator of many of Rush's album covers, commented on the design: "The man is the hero of the story. That he is nude is just a classic tradition...the pureness of his person and creativity without the trappings of other elements such as clothing. The red star is the evil red star of the Federation, which was one of Peart's symbols. We basically based that cover around the red star and that hero."

The logo also appears on seven other Rush album covers: on the backdrop behind Peart's drumkit in All the World's a Stage, their first live album released in 1976; in one of the pictures that is being moved in Moving Pictures; on Retrospective I; on Archives, a compilation album released in 1978; on their 1981 live album Exit...Stage Left, in the background amongst symbols from all their previous work; on their 2003 compilation The Spirit of Radio: Greatest Hits 1974–1987; and on their 2004 covers album Feedback. It is also featured on the Canada Post stamp honouring Rush issued 19 July 2013.[15] It also was featured on the front bass drum heads of Peart's drum kit from 1977 to 1983, and again on the 2004 R30 and 2015 R40 tours.

ReleaseEdit

Commercial performanceEdit

2112 was released on April 1, 1976[4][16] on vinyl, 8-track cartridge, and cassette tape. It received strong promotion from Polydor, the distributor of Mercury Records albums, who issued an advertising campaign based on graphics on the album sleeve, in major trade publications.[8] It became Rush's second album after Fly by Night to enter the top ten on the Canadian Albums Chart, peaking at No. 5.[17] In the US, it peaked at No. 61 on the Billboard Top LPs & Tape chart, the week of May 29, 1976, during a 37-week stay on the chart. It also marked the band's first to crack the US top 100.[18]

The album sold faster than any of Rush's previous albums.[8] In June 1976, the album had outsold the band's past catalogue in Canada and the US,[12] selling close to 35,000 and over 200,000 copies, respectively.[19] 2112 became a strong seller in the US; it reached gold certification by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in November 1977 for selling 500,000 copies.[20] In November 1995, the album reached triple platinum for selling over 3 million copies, becoming Rush's second biggest seller after Moving Pictures.[20][21]

ReceptionEdit

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic      [16]
Music Emissions (favourable)[22]
Rolling Stone       (Deluxe)[23]
The Guardian      [24]
PopMatters            [25]
Team Rock       [26]

Cashbox praised the album, calling it "a valid and melodic tale ... the story/song is a definite cohesive listen".[8] In an article about 2112 for Creem, Dan Nooger wrote the album "features some significant Mellotron meanderings and amazingly eccentric lyrics".[7]

  • 2112 was included in IGN's list "10 Classic Prog Rock Albums".[27]
  • In a reader's poll held by Rolling Stone, it placed second on the list of favourite Prog Rock albums.[28]
  • AllMusic's Greg Prato (4.5 out of 5): "1976's 2112 proved to be their much sought-after commercial breakthrough and remains one of their most popular albums."[16]

The Audio-Visual Preservation Trust of Canada, a non-profit Canadian charitable organization dedicated to promoting the preservation of Canada's audio-visual heritage, has sponsored MasterWorks, which annually recognizes twelve culturally significant Canadian classics from the film, radio, TV and music industries. In 2006, 2112 was one of the albums chosen to be preserved.

ReissuesEdit

Year Label Format Notes
1987 Anthem CD [29]
1993 Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab CD As part of the "Original Master Recordings" collection with a 24k gold plated disc.[30][31]
1997 Anthem/Mercury CD As part of the "The Rush Remasters" collection.[32]
2011 Anthem CD Digitally remastered by Andy VanDette as part of the reissue of Rush's Mercury-era albums.[33]
2012 Mercury CD, DVD, Blu-ray Digitally remastered Deluxe Edition including a 5.1 surround sound mix and bonus content.[34][35]
2015 Anthem/Mercury/Universal LP Digitally remastered by Sean Magee at Abbey Road Studios on 200g vinyl and AAC digital format.[36][37][38]
2016 Anthem/Mercury/Universal CD, DVD 40th Anniversary Edition with bonus content, including new studio tracks featuring various musicians performing the album.[39]

TourEdit

Rush promoted 2112 with a concert tour of North America and, for the first time in their career, across Europe, between February 1976 and June 1977. The tour saw the band perform over 140 shows.[4] To make their set more tight, "Oracle" and "Oracle: The Dream" were omitted from the performance of the "2112" suite. Rush would not perform the track in its entirety until their 1996 tour following the release of Test for Echo.[4] The shows at Massey Hall in Toronto in June 1976 were recorded and compiled for release as their double live album All the World's a Stage, released in September 1976.

Track listingEdit

All lyrics written by Neil Peart, except where noted; all music composed by Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson, except where noted.

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "2112"
  • I. "Overture"
  • II. "The Temples of Syrinx"
  • III. "Discovery"
  • IV. "Presentation"
  • V. "Oracle: The Dream"
  • VI. "Soliloquy"
  • VII. "Grand Finale"
20:34
Side two
No. Title Length
2. "A Passage to Bangkok" 3:32
3. "The Twilight Zone" 3:16
4. "Lessons" (Lyrics: Lifeson) 3:51
5. "Tears" (Lyrics: Lee) 3:30
6. "Something for Nothing" (Music: Lee) 3:59

PersonnelEdit

Credits are adapted from the album's 1976 liner notes.[10]

Rush

Additional musician

Production

  • Rush – production, arrangement
  • Terry Brown – arrangement, production, recording, engineering, mixing
  • Brian Lee – mastering
  • Bob Ludwig – mastering
  • Hugh Syme – graphics
  • Yosh Inouye – photography
  • Gerard Gentil – photography (band)
  • Ray Danniels – management
  • Vic Wilson – management
  • Moon Records – executive production

CertificationsEdit

Country Organization Sales
U.S. RIAA 3x Platinum (3,000,000)[41]
Canada CRIA 2x Platinum (200,000)[42]
UK BPI Gold (100,000)[43]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "'Metal Evolution' Makes Case for Rush as Prog Metal Pioneer". rushvault.com. 31 January 2012. Retrieved 17 January 2017. 
  2. ^ Freedman, Robert (1 August 2014). "Rush: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Excellence". Algora Publishing. Retrieved 17 January 2017 – via Google Books. 
  3. ^ Greene, Andy (26 July 2012). "'Reader's Poll: Your Favorite Prog Rock Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 26 July 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w Bowman, Rob (2012). 2112 (40th Anniversary Edition) booklet (Media notes). Rush. Anthem Records. 0602537150168. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Bienstock, Richard (April 2013). "Big Time Rush". Guitar World. Retrieved 14 October 2017. 
  6. ^ a b c Schwartz, Jim (June 1980). "Alex Lifeson - Rush's Kinetic Lead Guitarist". Guitar Player. Retrieved 14 October 2017. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f Nooger, Dan (27 April 1976). "Rush Goes Into Future Shock". Circus. Retrieved 14 October 2017. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f Tattrie, Boyd (24 April 1976). "Speeding Ahead". RPM Weekly. Vol. 25 no. 4. Retrieved 14 October 2017. 
  9. ^ a b c d e Sharma, Amit (15 February 2016). "Geddy Lee talks Rush's 2112 track-by-track". Music Radar. Retrieved 14 October 2017. 
  10. ^ a b 2112 (Media notes). Rush. Mercury Records. SRM-1-1079. 
  11. ^ Smith, Jim (July 1976). "A Headlong Rush To Stardom". Sound. Retrieved 14 October 2017. 
  12. ^ a b c d Shofar, Nick (June 1976). "Rush's "Concept" Is Rock And Roll". Scene. Vol. 7 no. 22. Northeast Ohio. Retrieved 14 October 2017. 
  13. ^ a b c d Johnson, Rick (March 1976). "RUSH Pebbles & Bam-Bam In Alphaville". Creem. Retrieved 14 October 2017. 
  14. ^ Grow, Kory (2016-03-29). "Rush's Alex Lifeson on 40 Years of '2112': 'It Was Our Protest Album'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2016-03-30. 
  15. ^ "Rush Booklet of 10 – Cool stamps and collectibles to honour Canadian Recording Artists". Canada Post. 
  16. ^ a b c Prato, Greg. "2112 – Rush". AllMusic. Retrieved 2011-11-20. 
  17. ^ "Top Albums/CDs". RPM. 24 July 1976. Retrieved 15 October 2017. 
  18. ^ "Rush – Chart History – Billboard 200 – 2112". Billboard. Retrieved 15 October 2017. 
  19. ^ Goddard, Peter (12 June 1976). "Rock Trio Is A Threat To Old Massey Hall". Toronto Star. Retrieved 14 October 2017. 
  20. ^ a b "Gold & Platinum Search – "2112"". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 15 October 2017. 
  21. ^ "Gold & Platinum Search – Rush". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 15 October 2017. 
  22. ^ Sellers, Kevin (30 September 2007). "Rush – 2112". Music Emissions webzine. Retrieved 2011-09-01. 
  23. ^ Sheffield, Rob (2 January 2013). "2112: Deluxe Edition". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2013-02-21. 
  24. ^ "Rush: 2112 (Deluxe Edition) – review | Music". The Guardian. 6 December 2012. Retrieved 16 October 2017. 
  25. ^ Beaudoin, Jedd (2 February 2017). "Rush: 2112 (40th Anniversary Super Deluxe)". PopMatters. Retrieved 16 October 2017. 
  26. ^ Barton, Geoff (14 December 2016). "Rush - 2112: 40th reissue album review - Classic Rock". Teamrock.com. Retrieved 16 October 2017. 
  27. ^ "10 Classic Prog Rock Albums, page 2". IGN. Retrieved 2012-07-30. 
  28. ^ "Readers' Poll: Your Favorite Prog Rock Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2012-07-30. 
  29. ^ 2112 (Media notes). Rush. Anthem Records. 1987. 822 545-2 M-1. 
  30. ^ 2112 (Media notes). Rush. Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab. 1993. UDCD 590. 
  31. ^ "Original Master Recording Gold CD Archive @ MFSL". Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab. Archived from the original on 2003-09-24. Retrieved 2011-11-20. 
  32. ^ 2112 (Media notes). Rush. Mercury Records. 1997. 314 534 626-2. 
  33. ^ "Andy VanDette On Remastering 15 Rush Albums". The Masterdisk Record. 2011-11-23. Retrieved 2013-11-20. 
  34. ^ "JUST IN TIME FOR DECEMBER 21/12 – Deluxe Editions of 2112". RUSH. 2012-11-12. Retrieved 2013-11-20. 
  35. ^ 2112 (Media notes). Rush. Mercury Records. 2012. B0017480-00. 
  36. ^ "12 MONTHS OF RUSH: 14 ALBUMS FROM MERCURY ERA FOR RELEASE IN 2015". Rush.com. Retrieved 10 July 2015. 
  37. ^ "Sean Magee at Abbey Road Studios". Abbeyroad.com. Archived from the original on 10 July 2015. 
  38. ^ 2112 (Media notes). Rush. Mercury Records. 2015. B0022371-01. 
  39. ^ 2112 (Media notes). Rush. Universal Music Canada. 2016. B002584000. 
  40. ^ a b "Rush 2112 Deluxe Edition in 5.1 Surround Sound – Album Lyrics and Liner Notes". 
  41. ^ "Recording Industry Association of America". RIAA. Retrieved 2011-09-01. 
  42. ^ "Gold and Platinum Search". Archived from the original on 29 March 2014. 
  43. ^ "Certified Awards". BPI. 

External linksEdit