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Red Barchetta

by

Rush



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

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. For more information on the car, including some photos of a red one, check out the Song Image.
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)
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Comments (44):

Tommy, New Fairfield, CT
You got that right!!
- diverdriver, Petaluma, CA
Great article about a motorcycle trip Neil Peart took with Rick Foster (author of "A Nice Morning Drive" and Chief Actuary for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services).

http://www.contingenciesonline.com/contingenciesonline/20110708#pg37
- Jack, New York, NY
LOL...Love this song. It's about a future society that has banned automobiles....just what might happen if Al Gore and his environmentalist wack-jobs get their way.
- Tommy, New Fairfield, CT
I think the rock and roll hall of fame is saving some entries. If there's no one good left, who can they induct? That's why Rush, Deep Purple, Ted Nugent, and a lot of prog rock (Uriah Heep, although they may be in there) aren't in. They have to keep some good people out, then they still have good people to induct.
- Dusty, St. Louis, MO
First I would like to say that Rush is the greatest rock band that ever has or will grace us. But the real magic is seeing them perform live. I am 46 years old and cannot tell you how many times I have seen them. This year I will be flying to Salt Lake City to see them with my brother inlaw and then returning to see them in Seattle two days later. Red Barchetta has got to be one of many favorites of mine. Two years ago they were performing at the Gorge amphitheatre in George, Washington. During Red Barchetta my wife noticed me tearing up and asked what was wrong. I looked at her and replied nothings wrong it just doesn't get anybetter than this. She replied I know this is one of my favorites too. I replied, not the song, life, life does not get any better than this. Theres only one word, well two, to describe the feeling and emotion of seeing the boys you've followed since childhood live, and its pure magic!
- Steve, seattle, WA
If you listen to just this one song by Rush, just this ONE song, it'll explain why these guys should be in the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame. What else do they have to do?
- Craig, Starkville, MS
This is my favorite Rush song next to Closer To The Heart and Limelight. Of course, just about all of them are great. And I agree with some of you about making a rock opera of Rush songs-it would be AWESOME. Bily Joel's good and they did one for his songs. I've never seen it, but I'm a fan of Billy Joel, and I know Rush's body of work would be fantastic. Also, I think we can all agree that the best part of this song is how we can all picture it in our minds...
- John, Concord, NH
Rush meets Bruce Springsteen...I love this song, the lyrics ae very Bruceish, which is cool..1981 a great year indeed..
- Jim, Long Beach, CA
One of my favorite rush songs,sends shivers down my spine towards the end of the song when alex kicks the harmonics higher.
- Rod, Edmonton, AB
I think my destiny in life is to make a rock opera of all Rush songs. This one would definitely be in it (2112 would be the main story of the movie). This is my favorite Rush song.
- Trey, Kalamazoo, MT
I'm a huge Rush fan so my opinion here is biased, but Red Barchetta is about as close to a "perfect" song as you can get. The vision of the song is matched only by the inspiring tones it creates, and the blend of theme and melody, in my poinion, puts Red Barchetta on a very short list of "great" songs. One thing that can be said is that this song never gets old, and that's a testament to how well it was composed.
- Jason, Thousand Oaks, CA
i love this song it represents rebellion which is awesome it is some of neils best work
- kevin, new york, ND
Recently an Italian opera was commissioned with the aim of setting Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth to music.
Nevermind that man made global warming is the biggest political poppycock hatched within my lifetime. It occures to me that this song describes the exact result that the AGW movement is hoping to inch the world toward.
It's uncanny when you think about it, that Geddy and the boys would prove so precognitive. Can you not see us all one day as wrinkled up old geizers explaining to children (assuming that children won't be outlawed along with the internal combusion engine) what it was like to drive on the open road with a car? A whole generation of children within my lifetime whose only travel experience will be trolly, train, or metro bus.
- James, Sacramento, CA
According to Neil Peart on the Exit... Stage Left DVD on Rush: Replay X3, the car represents freedom of sexuality and sexual freedom in general.
- Erik Yeary, Jacksonville, FL
Love the lyrics here. Neil proves once again to be quite the cinematic storyteller...as I can see the footage for this in my head. The music does a great job of conveying the sense (not in a way that suggest mimickry either) of movement and speed. Brilliant. One of my favorite Rush songs from my favorite album.
- John, Asheville, NC
I seem to have thought it was about some old man who did not want to change with the times, and kept his special red antique sports car hidden away for his nephew.
But what caught me was the ringing tones on the guitar. In high school when I played accoustic guitar, I used to try to just touvh the strings at the bottom of the neck to make them ring and thought that was a cool sound. The same here.
I had heard this so often on a classic rock radio station in Toledo, that I had called up the disc jockey to get the name of this haunting song. And I felt well rewarded when I did find MOVING PICTURES. Some of this stuff is hard to find nowadays.
- Tony, Toledo, OH
-Jeff, try here:

http://www.mgexperience.net/article/nice-drive.html

Particularly meaningful to me, as my first car was a 1970 MGB.
- Jay, las vegas, NV
Without a doubt, the finest song in the Rush catalog(in my humble opinion). Something that most listeners don't address is that the story may be nothing more a child's daydream while visiting his uncle. Perhaps the car isn't even drivable, but the narrator simply tells the story as it is dreamt.
- Pete, Levant, ME
Better yet, they can make a song called "Highway Ball of Fire" The song can start off with something like "I got a Pinto for my Brithday!"
- Chuck, Houston, TX
The should make a song about the very first Hy-brid and call it (My Yugo) - hey, those cars didn't run at all half the time!
- Chuck, Houston, TX
Great song, i need to get a red convertible for my son, he just turned 16. He will probably kill himself, but what a way to go!
- Chip, Louisville, KY
Geddy Lee admitted in an interviem that he had mispronounced the word Barchetta and that an Italian friend had pointed out that it should've been pronounced BarKetta.
- Stuart, Suffolk, England
Patrick from Keansburg: I believe that the reason for all of this was due to the energy crisis that began in the 1970's, and reached a climax around the early '80s, which brought a lot of movies about the end of the car era to life.
- Jon, Regina, Canada
The song Red Barchetta was released in 1981. That same year the movies Firebird 2015 AD and The Last Chase also came out and both movies had a similar theme. My guess is that something in 1980 inspired all three. Does anyone have a clue why in 1981 people were so inspired to write about a world where cars were outlawed?
- Patrick, Keansburg, NJ
Oh and this song isn't just about some guy. it's about geddy lee!
- Greg, Oakville, Canada
I love playing bass to this song!
Geddy even uses power chords in it!
- Greg, Oakville, Canada
Let us not forget the album 2112, It is a story from the first song to the last it told a complete story that started in the beggining of man to the end of man when he found the object that had wires that vibrate and give music,to the the end where everything blows up . I thought that was so clever. Dan
- Dan, Seattle, WA
And I've got them all.
- rob, vancouver, Canada
I've seen Rush live at least 10 times and Lifeson plays the harmonics at the start of the song. Right up there with 'highway star' and 'communication breakdown' as great driving songs. Still my favorite Rush album, although 'Exit: Stage Left' is right up there.
- rob, vancouver, Canada
The song is about so much more than just the car. Look for the other meanings. Start with freedom, rebellion, and old ways being better.
- Larry, Vancouver, WA
Barchetta could be a Ferrarri or Fiat. It is the Italian term for a convertible roadster.
The song really does come alive as in a movie. A young boy's dream. This lenient older uncle's hope to keep his adventurous nephew's dreams as new had been his dearest dream. In the form of this old machine cared for through the years from a better, vanished time. A touching story in an action/adventure. Maybe that's why it's called Moving Pictures.
- Brian, Meriden, CT
One of many great Rush tunes. This band is so under rated other then by those who are fans. I realize they get radio play, but their talent gets over looked so often. I was introduced to them by a friend who had Exit Stage Left recorded on cassette. This is what I call a perfect album. Not one bad song or lag on the whole thing. They do for music what only a few other bands can do and hopefully one day they will be inducted to The Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame.
- Dee, Indianapolis, IN
There was a movie starring Lee Majors and Burgess Meredith called "The Last Chase" (1981) That is the same story behind "Red Barchetta" by Rush. The movie was so-so, but the "showdown scene" between the car and plane in the movie is straight out of the lyrics in the song. Here is a link http://imdb.com/title/tt0082642/ check out the cover art as well.
- Mike, San Francisco, CA
This is the song that I got me hooked on Rush and is the band that I grew up with fo rmy entire life. I love the way the song starts and ends but the middle is what makes it. As Alex explains it, its really a movie when you listen to the lyrics. I can listen to this song over and over because I always hear something different everytime and it has always lifted my spirit. At times I am mesmerized and think I am driving the car while driving my vehicle. It also has alot of meaning to me and especially in my life and heart. Anyway I think its the best song that I have ever heard because of its melody and lyrics that make it complete.
- Pablo, forney, TX
Red Barchetta.This song is great, it makes me really feel apart of the song.I love the harmonics at the start and at the end. Every time I drive my car and listen to that song it makes me become a part of it,it makes me want to go faster and faster,and by the time I look at how fast I am going I am like 20 to 30 or more miles over the speed limit.It's a great song and I love how the song is put together so very well...great song.
- Taylor, Riceville , TN
The Barchetta (correctly pronounced Barketta) is presently a Fiat model but I think the one they refer to was originally a Ferrari model and was, of course, frigging better.
By the way, Barchetta means "small boat" so it is kinda funny as a name for a car, especially a sporty one. Roman youngsters call "barca a vela" (sailing boat) a slow, cumbersome, hard-to-control car, motorcycle or other mean of transportation, so the name of the song is even funnier to me.
- FranZ, Rome, Italy
Peart would always toss one of his drumsticks quite high in the air during this song.
- Eric, Lake Forest, CA
Actually, I think the song is about a Fiat Barchetta. Fiat is the Italian car made of rust. Doesn't really matter though.
- Jon, Franklin, IN
Geddy Lee playing the harmonics in the beginning on his little square Steinberg bass. This song plays a movie in my head. It also makes me drive over the speed limit. I always speed up when I hear this song driving. If I had a scarf, I'd throw it around me neck and pull down my goggles and let that puppy fly!!!!
- Paul, Greenwood, SC
Neil wrote in his book "Ghost Rider" He used to go to a car museum near Reno, NV and they had a Red Barchetta there on display. And that is what inspired the song.
- Steve, Denver, CO
Sure.. go here.

http://members.aol.com/redbarche/ANiceMorningDrive.html
- Jay, Myrtle Beach, SC
Jeff, make sure you dress warm...it gets kinda windy
- ralph, Hawthorne, NJ
Jeff, go here for "a nice morning drive"
http://hembrook.com:8080/submit/misc/barchetta.html
- ralph, Hawthorne, NJ
I have never read the story that inspired this song. Does anyone know where it can be found?
- Jeff, Haltom City, TX
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