Registration with

register

lost password recovery

recover my password

sign in

  • If you registered before August, 2014, you will need to register again. Sorry for the inconvenience.
  • remember me
sign in

Suggest a Songfact / Artistfact

Sign up for our newsletter

Get the Newsletter

By-Tor And The Snow Dog by Rush

Album: Fly By NightReleased: 1975
  • Rush's road manager Howard Ungerleider came up with the title at a party. There were two dogs at the party, one a German shepherd and the other a tiny white nervous dog. Howard used to call the shepherd By-Tor because anyone that walked into the house was bitten. The other dog was a snow-dog (white). So from that night on Howard called the pair of dogs "By-Tor and the Snow Dog." The dogs belonged to Rush's manager.
  • The song is divided into 4 chapters: I) At the Tobes of Hades, II) Across the Styx, III) Of the Battle, IV) Epilogue. Chapter 3 (Of the Battle) is divided into 4 chapters in and of itself: i) Challenge and Defiance, ii) 7/4 War Furor, iii) Aftermath, iv) Hymn of Triumph. Total running time, according to the label, is only 8:37.
  • On the back cover of the album Alex Lifeson is identified as "Snow Dog", and Geddy Lee is identified as "By-Tor".
  • The character By-Tor returned on the following release, "Caress of Steel." In that song, By-Tor was the victor in the battle. (thanks, Jeff - Haltom City, TX, for all above)
  • This was the first Rush album with Neil Peart, their drummer and lyricist who became an integral part of the group.
  • There is a video created for the Vapor Trails tour that played on screen behind stage. This is also a hidden feature on the Rush In Rio DVD (Easter egg) accessible on the second disc (Boys in Brazil). (thanks, Mike - Mountlake Terrace, Washington)
  • Section III was originally called "The Battle."
  • On the original vinyl album, the chimes at the end were printed into the fadeout groove of side one. On older turntables, until the stylus was physically lifted from the vinyl, the chimes would keep playing. On the Archives version, the song is 28 seconds longer as additional chimes were included. (thanks, Mike - Mountlake Terrace, Washington, for above 2)
or Register to post comments

Comments: 13

You can debate forever on what the meaning is. But one things is for sure- its a great song!Alden - Canton, Ga
Hi Shana,

On the album "Caress Of Steel" there is a track titled "The Necromancer" who in turn in pure evil. Part III of the The Necromancer is titled "Return of the Prince" who is in fact By-Tor. "Stealthily attacking, By-Tor slays his foe. The men are free to run now, from labrarinths below. The fate of the Necromancer, shadows to the sky, another land to darken with evil prism eye".

By-Tor appears to free the three travelers (Alex, Neil and Geddy) from the Nectomancer's evil clutches.
Ken - West Deptford, Nj
I've grown to like this song a LOT more than I originally did...due mostly to the really cool musical breakdown around the solo. While it's still far from a favorite of mine, I've definitely gained an appreciation for it.John - Asheville, Nc
There's a fantastic, if brief, drum solo toward the middle that has a truly flawless snare drum roll crescendo. Gives me goosebumps every time I hear it.Sg Milkman - Dfw, Tx
Geddy is described as By-tor, and Alex is Snow dog, because during the "battle" instrumental it is the growling bass lines versus the screaming high pitched guitar lines. Low being evil(By-tor) versus high being good(Snow dog). Of course there's the backing track, if you listen real close you here it during the first several bars of this sectionPete - Cincinnati, Oh
There is one potential problem with Jesse's storyline, in that Geddy was not an original member of Rush. Jeff Jones was, although he was quickly kicked out for not making gigs. They actually had the habit of borrowing Lee's amplifiers for venues before he was invited to join the band. Lee even left (or was encouraged to leave) Rush briefly during their early years, during which time they temporarily changed their name to Hadrian for no good reason. Those crazy formative years.Kent Lyle - Cincinnati, Oh
Im Not 100% Certain, but Im fairly confident in this fact. Im pretty sure this song was written because when Rush first started, both alex and geddy wanted to play guitar, but they needed a bass player, and since Alex could play 'better' solos, he was voted in as the guitarist, Thus, Snow Dog Being victorious. God I love rush...Jesse - Halifax, Canada
Derek from CT-
that is soooo awesome! im play bass in a band, and we were inspired by 2112 to write one of our songs, "A Glimpse (of colour)"
Jordon - Farmer City, Il
The Tobes of Hades, lit by flickering torchlight
The netherworld is gathered in the glare
Prince By-Tor takes the cavern to the north light
The sign of Eth is rising in the air.
By-Tor, knight of darkness,
Centurion of evil, devil's prince.

Here's the "Prince By-Tor" bit...it's the first section of the song.
Steve - Farmington, Ny
By-tor makes an appearance, as a GOOD GUY, on Carress of Steel. Listen to "The Necromancer"...Jesse - L.a., Ca
When Alex says By-Tor during "The Boys in Brazil" Documentary, press the enter key on your DVD's remote control. The movie plays then afterwards
it'll take you right back to the same part in the documentary where you left off from.
Nardo - Toronto, Canada
I love By-Tor. this song has inspired me to write a 20-minute song "Battle of the Ages" for my concept album where the Rock God (the past) and the Rap God (the future) battle to the death. It'll be awesome. Thanks Rush.Derek - Monroe, Ct
Why does it say Prince By-Tor? lol a great song though...cool beat, really catchyShana - Pembroke, Canada