Signals (album)

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Signals is the ninth studio album by the Canadian rock band Rush, released September 9, 1982.

Signals was the follow-up to the successful Moving Pictures. Stylistically, the album was a continuation of Rush's foray into the technology-oriented 1980s through increased use of electronic instrumentation such as keyboards, sequencers, and electric violin. Other noticeable changes were decreased average song length and lyrical compression. The album reached #10 on the Billboard album charts and was certified Platinum (1,000,000 copies sold) by the R.I.A.A. in November 1982.[1]


Writing and recording

The writing of the album began in 1981, during soundchecks on the Moving Pictures Tour, which they taped. Coincidentally, parts of “Chemistry” were written by the band at once while they were separated from each other. Lee wrote the keyboard melody for the bridge section, Lifeson wrote the guitar riff for the verse, and Peart wrote the drum beat for the chorus, and in a move unusual for Rush, Lee and Lifeson came with the concept and title for the song and presented rough lyrics for Peart to polish. In April, in Orlando, Florida, the band attempted to watch a launch of the Space Shuttle Columbia. It was canceled because of a computer malfunction, and they finally observed the launch a few days later for inspiration in writing “Countdown”.

In September, at Le Studio, Quebec, Peart jammed with the road crew on a song, and was joined by Lee and Lifeson. It was recorded later and temporarily titled “Tough Break”. Afterward, Peart wrote lyrics for the song, retitled "Subdivisions", while Lifeson and Lee came up with additional parts. Lee began experimenting with sequencers and drum machines while at home in Toronto, and came up with “The Weapon”.

In January 1982, on a docked schooner in the Virgin Islands, Peart presented his lyrics for “The Analog Kid” to Lee and they both agreed that it would make a great up-tempo rocker, with a soft chorus. At Muskoka Lakes, Ontario in March at the Grange, “Digital Man” was put together and at Le Studio, the ska style bridge was created along with the sequencer pattern with the guitar and bass. Producer Terry Brown was not impressed and initially refused to record it. In May, the band set out to record a song that had a time limit of 3:57 to keep both sides of the record equal. The result, “New World Man”, was written and recorded on the same day. In June, Ben Mink from the band FM was invited to play electric violin on “Losing It”.[2][3]

Song notes

The opening track from Signals is "Subdivisions," which has been a staple of many of the band's tours since its recording.

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