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"The Camera Eye" is a song by the Canadian rock band Rush. It is the fifth song on their 1981 album Moving Pictures and is the longest song on the album.

"The Camera Eye"
Song by Rush
from the album Moving Pictures
ReleasedFebruary 12, 1981 (1981-02-12)
RecordedOctober–November 1980
GenreProgressive rock
Lyricist(s)Neil Peart
Moving Pictures track listing
7 tracks

Side one

  1. "Tom Sawyer"
  2. "Red Barchetta"
  3. "YYZ"
  4. "Limelight"

Side two

  1. "The Camera Eye"
  2. "Witch Hunt"
  3. "Vital Signs"

Composition and recordingEdit

The song is in the key of C major, and is played in 4/4 time.[1][2] However, each verse contains several bars of 5/4 and 6/4 as well. The song has a BPM of 165.[3][unreliable source?] "The Camera Eye" is the last Rush song that is over 10 minutes long.[4][unreliable source]

The song is a two-part track with its sections titled "New York" and "London". Drummer Neil Peart wrote the lyrics after taking walks in both cities, recalling observations and the rhythms he felt during them.[5]

Its title refers to short pieces of the same name in the U.S.A. trilogy of novels written by American writer John Dos Passos, one of Passos's works that Peart admired.

The band's lead singer and bassist Geddy Lee said of the song in 2011:

For me, it didn't age very well. That's one of the reasons that it didn't make it into our show for so long. Doing the album in its entirety enabled us to revisit it. And I have to say, rather sheepishly, that I've found myself really loving playing that song every night. Sometimes when you go back and play it the way you play nowadays, you reinvigorate the song.[6]


Martin Popoff in the book Contents Under Pressure described the song as "an 11-minute battle between barbed riffs from Alex and tidal synthesizers from Geddy".[7]

Greg Prato of AllMusic called it a long and winding song, writing that "The Camera Eye" is one of the band's "more straight-ahead epics".[8] Another AllMusic writer, Bret Adams, called it a spectacular epic.[9]

Odyssey rated the song 5/5, calling it an excellent Rush epic.[10] Odyssey also ranked it the 13th best Rush song, and the 3rd best song on the album.[11]

Christopher Thelen of the Daily Vault wrote: "the track is so tight, it's hard to believe so much time simply flies by".[12]

Ultimate Classic Rock ranked the song number 34 on their list of "All 167 Rush Songs Ranked Worst to Best".[13]


  1. ^ Geddy, Lee; Alex, Lifeson; Rush; Neil, Peart (24 September 2007). "The Camera Eye".
  2. ^ "The Camera Eye by Rush - BPM - Key - Find Song Tempo".
  3. ^ LLC, Blendist. "BPM for Rush - The Camera Eye on songbpm".
  4. ^ Songfacts. "The Camera Eye by Rush - Songfacts".
  5. ^ ""Moving Pictures World Premiere" - CHUM-FM, February 11, 1981".
  6. ^ Soeder, John; Dealer, The Plain. "'Moving Pictures' track by track: Geddy Lee breaks down Rush's landmark 1981 album".
  7. ^ "The Camera Eye". 5 February 2011.
  8. ^ Prato, Greg. "Moving Pictures - Rush". Allmusic. Retrieved August 24, 2012.
  9. ^ "Time Machine 2011: Live in Cleveland - Rush - Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic.
  10. ^ Clouse, Matthew. "Rush: Moving Pictures Album Review". Retrieved 9 January 2019.
  11. ^ "A Definitive Ranking Of All Rush Songs". The Odyssey Online. 20 July 2017.
  12. ^ Thelen, Christopher (2019). "The Daily Vault Music Reviews : Moving Pictures". Retrieved 28 January 2019.
  13. ^ Reed, Ryan. "All 167 Rush Songs Ranked Worst to Best". Ultimate Classic Rock.