This is a futuristic song about a farmer who keeps a Red Barchetta in his barn even after motors are outlawed (Before the Motor Law). The kid comes, takes the car for ride and ends up being chased by Gleaming Alloy Air car (Police is assumed). He outruns and ditches the law and returns to the barn, hides the car and goes to dream with his uncle by the fireside. During the Moving Pictures Tour, Rush used a video to bring the story to life. (thanks, Mike - Sturges, PA)
The Barchetta is a classic example of a car built for speed, a hot rod, made by Ferrari. The first car to leave the Maranello factory in 1947 was a red, V12-engined Barchetta. From the beginning it was designed as a racing car and it went on to win at its second outing in the Grand Prix of Rome. Alongside the racing cars, development continued apace for a road-going version. This is how the 166 MM - the first Ferrari to win the Le Mans 24 Hours and also see use as a high-performance, road-going two-seater - was created. The history of the V12 front-engine Ferraris started here.
This was the second song from Rush's best selling album to date, Moving Pictures.
This was inspired by the story A Nice Morning Drive, written by Richard S. Foster. (thanks, Jeff - Haltom City, TX, for above 3)
The harmonics in the intro were played by guitarist Alex Lifeson. (thanks, Chris - Brookfield, CT)
According to the book The Complete Ferrari by Godfrey Eaton, the name of the car is pronounced "Barketta." Geddy Lee admitted that he had incorrectly pronounced the word after an Italian friend pointed out the correct pronunciation. (thanks, Stuart - Suffolk, England)
Alex Lifeson ("In The Studio" for Moving Pictures): "That was the intention with Red Barchetta - to create a song that was very vivid, so that you had a sense, if you listen to it and listen to the lyrics, of the action. It does become a movie. I think that song really worked with that in mind; it was successful with that intention. It's something that I think we've tried to carry on-- become a little more visual with our music, since then. But that one in particular was very satisfying. It was always one of my favorites. I think it's probably my favorite from that album. I like the way the parts knit together. I like the changes. I like the melody of the song. I love the dynamics of it, the way it opens with the harmonics and creates a mood, then gets right into the driving, right up to the middle section where it's really screaming along, where you really feel like you're in the open car, and the music's very vibrant and moving. And then it ends as it began with that quiet dynamic, and lets you down lightly. So it picks you up for the whole thing and drops you off at your next spot." (thanks, Mike - Mountlake Terrace, Washington)
There is a 1981 movie starring Lee Majors and Burgess Meredeth called The Last Chase, which was inspired by the same story. The movie left a lot to be desired, but the final showdown scene is straight out of "Red Barchetta." (thanks, Mike - San Francisco, CA)
On the Exit Stage Left DVD, guitarist Alex Lifeson says, "Well it seems to me that a car has been one of the standard metaphors and volumes have been written about the sociological and cultural impact of the car and what it represents, but, it also has a very fundamental, sensual appeal, and it's a metaphor for sexuality and for freedom." (thanks, Jamin King - Puyallup, WA)