Suggest a Songfact / Artistfact
Album: A Farewell to KingsReleased: 1977
This is based on an unfinished poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who started writing it while under the influence of drugs. Once the effects of the drugs wore off, he was unable to complete it. Rush have never been known to use illegal substances, however.
This features one of the longest instrumental intros ever recorded. The total time of the song is 11:06, and slightly more than half of this time is used in the intro before any lyrics come in.
In Coleridge's poem, Xanadu is the fictional name of the land where Khubla Khan ordered the dome to be built: "In Xanadu did Kubla Khan a stately pleasure dome decree." Coleridge goes on to describe the dome as a "Miracle of rare device, a sunny pleasure dome with caves of ice." The notion of the "Man from Porlock" is a famous yet unsubstantiated tale offered by Coleridge himself to explain why his poem is unfinished. Many in the literary world believe the tale to be a fabricated explanation. There was even a poem written by a contemporary of Coleridge titled The Man From Porlock which refutes the incident. No one will ever know the truth about the visitor who supposedly interrupted Coleridge's inspiration during his crafting of one of the greatest unrevised first drafts in history.
The legend of Xanadu is related to a number of myths and legends going back to the prehistory of Asia (and in fact through out the Americas) specifically that of Shamballa. There was a movement in the time of Coleridge to explore these legends, in doing so we are tapping into the universal consciousness, an ability that the members of Rush seem to be quite adept.
The video shows Geddy Lee playing a double neck guitar, with the top portion being a bass and the bottom being a regular 6-string electric guitar. He plays the bottom portion during the very end of the song, which is also seen during the video.