by Rush

Album: Fly By Night (1975)
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  • Anthem is the name of a science-fiction story published by Ayn Rand in 1938. This song uses the title, but otherwise has nothing to do with that story. In 1976, Rush released the song "2112," which was based on Rand's story Anthem..
  • Fly By Night is the second Rush album, and their first with drummer Neil Peart, who also writes the band's lyrics. "Anthem" is based on the precepts of Ayn Rand, author of the books Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. Rand believed in reason and self-interest, which is reflected in lines of this song like "Live for yourself, there's no one else more worth living for."

    Rand's writings influenced many of Peart's lyrics, but the Rush drummer later changed his stance on her concepts, taking a more compassionate approach to his outlook.
  • There is a video of Rush performing this song in 1975 on the Rush In Rio DVD as a hidden feature (Easter egg).
  • Anthem is the name of Rush's record label, which they formed in 1977. It is a very successful independent label based in Canada.
  • The first release on Anthem Records was the Rush single "Making Memories" with "Temples Of Syrinx" as the B-side. The catalogue number was ANS-001, and it was released in May 1977, not 1975 as the label states. This 7" single, complete with card picture sleeve, is incredibly hard to find. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Mike - Mountlake Terrace, Washington, for above 3
  • Thrash metallers Anthrax recorded this for their 2013 covers album, Anthems. Explaining why they chose to record this Rush song, drummer and guitarist Charlie Benante told us that he and vocalist Joey Belladonna were "on a Rush kick," and discussing which of their songs they'd like to record. "In the back of my mind, I didn't want to do a real '80s type song by Rush," said Benante, "because I guess it would be kind of obvious that you would probably pick something off of Moving Pictures or something. We didn't want to do that. So we went way back and we were talking about the first live album [All the World's a Stage] and 'Anthem.' That was the one. Because I think the thing about 'Anthem' was it had elements of songs like off of our first album, and it appealed to us. We just went for it."
  • Of all the covers that Anthrax recorded for Anthems, this was the one that challenged Benante the most. He explained to us: "I played it as close as Neil [Peart] played it, but then I went and tracked the guitar, too, so Joey could sing over it. That was really challenging to me, playing the guitar parts in that song, because I was now following myself, but I was also following Neil. I had to really watch what I was doing and pay attention to where he was pushing it and where he was pulling it. So from a guitar player's standpoint, I just had to lay back a bit on parts. And then other parts, I had to push it."

Comments: 14

  • Doug from Guelph CanadaWe are all mourning the loss of Neil Peart, here in their home province and the rest of the world. What are the odds of a 20-something writing about Objectivism with a progressive rock mindset AND being such a talented drummer. I am thankful to have grown up with Rush and that their is so much more material yet to re-discover online. RIP Neil
  • Patrick from Bedford, TxThat boy with the high voice got the words wrong.
  • Arf from Los Angeles, CaIt's kind of ironic that Rush wrote Anthem, which was inspired by Ayn Rand, but live in Canada where the taxes are higher than the United States, where they also live in pay taxes too.
  • Sunfish from Wyoming, MnThis song is an excellent example of how guys in their early 20s used to rehearse a song to near perfection and commit it to analog tape. No loops or any pre-production headaches, just 3 guys hashing it out the way they wanted everyone else to hear it. One of the all-time great jams by a great band that has been consistently overlooked by the so-called "music press" as being pretentious. They weren't pretending, they were just playing open and honest music that blew a lot of us away.
  • Fritz from Milwaukee, WiThe intro to this song is actually thought by many to have been one of the first examples of thrash metal.
  • John from Asheville, NcI really like Alex's playing here. Fine early song. I love that they progressed from this though. It's a very good song, but I don't think it's as great as a lot of the older Rush fans believe it to be.
  • Chris from Houston, TxThis song, even though it is not a depiction of Miss Rand's story, it does appear to be an "anthem" for her philosophy--Objectivism. The connections to rational self-interest can be seen in, "Live for yourself -- there's no one else more worth living for." And he denounces such ethics as altruism, like Miss Rand, when he says, "Don't let them tell you that you owe it all to me." And the last few lines of the song sum up the theme of "selfishness" when he points out that it is for him, not the listener, whom the song was written for (i.e. benefits from profit or fulfillment).
  • Deo from Annandale, VaGreat song.... always thought it was about a group of people... like an "Athem" for them.
  • Jesse from L.a., CaALex Lifeson does do some super guitar work on this song, and about every single Rush song out there, TOM!!!! LoL... Alex Lifeson is such a great guitar player. His stage presence is awesome, too (Lest we forget Neil and Geddy)...
  • Tom from Trowbridge, EnglandGreat riffing by Mr Lifeson here. Most underrated guitarist ever; where would Van Halen, Satriani, Hammett, etc have been without him?
  • Shana from Pembroke, CanadaGreat song, listening to it
  • Mike from Mountlake Terrace, WashingtonInspired by the Ayn Rand novel of the same name, I have read of the novel and it's is about escaping a kind of socialism and fighting for individualism. By what I have read and campared to these lyrics and the title being the same I would go so far as to say I am strongly compelled to believe this is at least based on the premise of the Novel. *By the way it sounds like a great novel and I want to read it now after researching it so much.
  • Mike from Emmaus, PaI go to work at 6 grab a ice cold beer when I can thats why they call me a blue collar man
  • Mike from Emmaus, PaDid you people ever see RUSH? THEY don't talk poems
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