Posted by Ari Zells on Feb 24, 2013
2112 (pronounced “twenty-one twelve”) is the fourth studio album by Canadian rock band, Rush.
Released in 1976, the album features an eponymous seven-part suite written by Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson, with lyrics written by Neil Peart telling a dystopian story set in the year 2112. The album is sometimes described as a concept album although the songs on the second side are unrelated to the plot of the suite. Rush repeated this arrangement on the 1978 album Hemispheres.
2112 is one of two Rush albums listed in 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die (the other being Moving Pictures). In 2006, a poll of Planet Rock listeners picked 2112 as the definitive Rush album. In 2012, the album came in at #2 on Rolling Stone’s list for ‘Your Favorite Prog Rock Albums of All Time’, as voted for in a reader’s poll, being one of three Rush albums included on the list (the others being Moving Pictures and Hemispheres).
The Toronto dates of the 2112 tour were recorded and released as All the World’s a Stage in September 1976.
Due to the relative commercial failure of their previous album, Caress of Steel, Mercury (their record label at the time) pressured the band not to do another album with “concept” songs. Caress of Steel contains two multi-part epics: the twelve-minute “The Necromancer” (side one) and the side-long epic “The Fountain of Lamneth” (side two).
By their own recollection, the band ignored this advice and stuck to their principles; the resulting album would become their first major commercial success, and ultimately a signature record. 2112 was released in March 1976 and landed on the Billboard Hot 100 album chart, becoming their first album to reach the Billboard Top 100. 2112 would eventually be certified gold on November 16, 1977, along with the band’s then current releases A Farewell to Kings and the live All the World’s a Stage. 2112 reached platinum status on February 25, 1981, shortly after the release of Moving Pictures in 1981, the latter being their biggest selling record to date.
In the year 2062, a galaxy-wide war results in the union of all planets under the rule of the Red Star of the Solar Federation. By 2112, the world is controlled by the “Priests of the Temples of Syrinx,” who determine the content of all reading matter, songs, pictures – every facet of life.
A man discovers an ancient guitar and learns to play his own music. Thinking he has made a wonderful discovery that will be a boon to humanity, he goes to present the guitar to the priests of the Temples, who angrily destroy it and rebuke him for unearthing one of the “silly whims” that caused the collapse of the previous civilization. He goes into hiding and dreams of a world before the Solar Federation. Upon awakening he becomes distraught and commits suicide. As he dies, another planetary battle begins resulting in the ambiguous ending “Attention all planets of the Solar Federation: We have assumed control.” (This spoken section was created by Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson reportedly “messing around with a tape recorder.”) In the “VH1 Classic Albums” series about the album, Neil Peart confirmed that he intended the ending to be a happy one as the people of the Solar Federation are liberated.
On the album, Peart credits “the genius of Ayn Rand.” Rand, a Russian-born, Jewish-American novelist and creator of the philosophy of Objectivism, wrote a novella titled Anthem (itself adopted as the title of another Rush song, from the album Fly By Night) from which Peart borrowed the broad strokes of the plot. This caused the band significant negative publicity, labelling the band as right-wing extremist, the british NME even making allusions to Nazism.
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