X is for Xanadu by Rush

Who doesn’t love Rush? Anyone who raised their hand should probably leave now. This is sort of the ultimate Rush song. At 11 minutes long, it’s time consuming, but the five minute instrumental opener is perfection. The song then transitions to a narrative written by Neil Peart, inspired by the poem “Kubla Khan,” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. In the lyrics (found here), the narrator describes the search for something called “Xanadu.” While it’s never actually explained what “Xanadu” is, the poem “Kubla Khan” implies that it is a mythical place based on the summer capital of the Mongolian Empire that will grant him immortality. When the narrator finds Xanadu and attains mortality, a thousand years pass and he is left “waiting for the world to end,” and actually bitter about the success of his quest.

If you’re into instruments, this is a great song to feed that. Each member was required to use an array of instruments to effect the performance. The was a double-necked Gibson electric guitar (one twelve-strong, the other six-string) as well as synthesizer pedals used by Alex Lifeson, a double-necked Rickenbacker 4080/12 guitar (bass and twelve-string guitar) as well as extensive synthesizer arrangements while singing by Geddy Lee, and Peart took on various percussion instruments including temple blocks, tubular bells, bell tree, glockenspiel, and wind chimes, in addition to his drum kit work. More recent cuts of the song have been altered to simplify the arrangement, to which I can only say this, not everyone can be Rush in 1977….not even Rush.

What did you all think of this song? Was 11 minutes too long for you or did the instrumental portion tie it all together for you?

Don’t forget to check out more about the Blogging from A to Z Challenge here.

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