Sunday, February 15, 2015

fly by night

Rush sounded the knell and started a progressive new chapter with this anthem of the heart of mind.  After their self titled debut album and tour, the Toronto trio auditioned for a new drummer, because John Rutsley decided life on the road didn't agree with his diabetes.  Neil Peart had given up on the music business after spending more than a year in London, but decided to try out for the slot and joined in July of 1974 just before the band's first US tour.  

'Fly By Night' was recorded from December 1974 through January 1975 at Toronto Sound Studios in Toronto, Canada.  Produced by Rush and Terry Brown, the album features Geddy Lee on lead vocals, bass guitar, and classical guitar;  Alex Lifeson on guitar;  and Neil Peart on percussion.  

Peart also took on the role as the group's primary lyricist:   "I was a student of words and a student of rhythm. I think as a listener of music, lyrics were strictly tertiary for me. First there was the song and then there was the musicianship, and then, after I already liked the song, there were the lyrics. There's no way I'll ever like the lyrics to a song that I don't like. It's an essential relationship. So I never really paid a lot of attention to lyrics until after I started writing them, and then it became a craft, like drumming. If I weren't a drummer I don't think I'd spend a lot of time thinking about drumming or drummers. It's something I became aware of as my involvement with words became more and more active and intense. At that point I started to become more aware of the techniques. I learned about rhymes and learned what's a real [sic] good rhyme and what's a false rhyme, what's a rhyme for the sake of convenience and what's a carefully constructed one. I have a very rigid set of values in those terms. I'll never rhyme just for the sake of it. I hate semi-rhymes...I find that the more layers a word or series of words offers to me, the more satisfied I am." 

Lee would express at the time:   "It showed a progression from the first album...We're very happy with it. We recorded it as an album. Singles would be nice, but that's incidental...All the music in that relates to the story.  It has visual sounds, monsters, screeching animals. It's where we want to head."

Lifeson looks back:    "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 [Peart, drummer] was in an Ayn Rand [author of "The Fountainhead"] period, so he wrote the song about being very individual. We thought we were doing something that was different from everybody else."

'Fly By Night' took the band to number nine on the Canadian album charts and was eventually certified platinum in both Canada and the US.

"Fly By Night"

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 (end)

Why try? I know why
The feeling inside me says it's time I was gone
Clear head, new life ahead
I want to be king now not just one more pawn

Fly by night, away from here
Change my life again
Fly by night goodbye my dear
My ship isn't coming and I just can't pretend

Moon rise, thoughtful eyes
Staring back at me from the window beside
No fright or hindsight
Leaving behind that empty feeling inside

Start a new chapter
Find what I'm after
It's changing every day
The change of a season
And not for good reasons

To want to get away

Quiet and pensive
My thoughts apprehensive
The hours drift away
Leaving my homeland
Playing a lone hand
My life begins today

"By-Tor And The Snow Dog"

'Fly By Night' 
full album:

All lyrics by Neil Peart except where noted. All music by Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson except where noted.

Side one

1. "Anthem"   4:26
2. "Best I Can" (Lee) 3:24
3. "Beneath, Between & Behind" (Music: Lifeson) 3:00
4. "By-Tor & the Snow Dog      8:37
      I: At The Tobes Of Hades
      II: Across The Styx
      III: Of The Battle
            a. Challenge And Defiance
            b. 7/4 War Furor
            c Aftermath
            d. Hymn Of Triumph
      IV: Epilogue"  

Side two

5. "Fly by Night" (Music: Lee) 3:20
6. "Making Memories"   2:56
7. "Rivendell" (Music: Lee) 5:00
8. "In the End" (Lee, Lifeson) 6:51

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