The wait is over for Rush fans with today's (April 15th) release of the 40th Anniversary edition of the band's breakthrough 1981 album, Moving Pictures. The new anniversary package has been issued in six distinct configurations, including the Super Deluxe Edition, three-CD Deluxe Edition, five-LP Deluxe Edition, one-LP Edition, Digital Deluxe Edition, and Dolby Atmos Digital Edition.
According to the original press release for the box set:
The Super Deluxe Edition includes three CD's, one Blu-ray Audio disc, and five high-quality 180-gram black vinyl LP's. The set encompasses the Abbey Road Mastering Studios 2015 remastered edition of the album for the first time on CD, along with two discs of previously unreleased and newly restored bonus live content newly mixed from the original analog live multi-tracks by Rush's original producer, Terry Brown, featuring the band's complete, unreleased Toronto concert from Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, Ontario, on March 25th, 1981 — titled Live In YYZ 1981.
The fourth bonus disc is a Blu-ray Audio disc with the core album newly mixed from the original multi-tracks in Dolby Atmos (a Rush catalog first!), Dolby TrueHD 5.1, and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround sound as done by noted producer/engineer Richard Chycki, alongside the previously available PCM Stereo mix.
Also included on the Blu-ray are four bonus videos: a brand-new video for “YYZ” plus three remastered vintage promo videos for “Tom Sawyer,” “Limelight,” and “Vital Signs.” All of the vinyl in the Super Deluxe Edition has been cut via half-speed Direct to Metal Mastering (DMM) (another Rush catalog first!) on five 180-gram audiophile LP's.
Moving Pictures was originally released on February 12th, 1981. The set, which followed the previous year's Permanent Waves, peaked at Number Three on the Billboard 200 albums chart, stayed in the Top 10 for 13 weeks, and remains the trio's most popular and commercially successful outing to date. To date, Moving Pictures has sold over four million copies in the U.S. alone.
The album's third track, “YYZ,” was nominated for a Best Rock Instrumental Performance Grammy. The title is the IATA Airport Code for Toronto Pearson International Airport. It is played repeatedly in Morse code at the beginning of the song.
The track “The Camera Eye” was the last Rush song to clock in at over 10 minutes. Until it was brought back on the 2010/2011 “Time Machine” tour, it had not been played live since 1983. The “Time Machine” tour saw Rush perform Moving Pictures in its entirety.
1981's Moving Pictures remains Rush's biggest album to date, while “Tom Sawyer” remains their best-known song. Alex Lifeson recalled for us the impact the record had on the Canadian band's career at the time: “That took us up to the next level. After the release of that album, we were headlining everywhere we were going, and, y'know, our audiences increased by a large percentage. And it just gave us that much of a push forward into what was coming.”
Not too long ago, Rush's late, great drummer and lyricist Neil Peart spoke with George Stroumboulopoulos and shed light on the importance of the Moving Pictures sessions: “We had been together for six years and had had enough success that the industry wasn't leaning on us anymore about what we were going to do. And there was a real maturity (and) coming of age for us as a band, because we had been doing so much experimenting of all kinds as individual instrumentalists and as a group of instrumentalists. . . There was nothing self-indulgent, or so-called pretentiousness about it. It was true boyish enthusiasm that was involved in creating all those things.”
Geddy Lee told us that having a legion of fans following you is still a pretty heady experience: “It's a tremendous compliment to be told that you've inspired someone or influenced someone musically, or in any aspect of life — and beyond that, y'know, you really don't know what to say. Y'know, it's a nice thing, and it makes you feel like whatever you're doing has a little more validity, I guess.”