Bravado
by Rush

Album: Roll The Bones (1991)
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Songfacts®:

  • There is some Greek Mythology in the lyrics. The line, "If we burn our wings flying too close to the sun" is a reference to Icarus, a hero who made wings out of wax, which melted when flying too close to the sun.
  • Geddy Lee ("RTB CD Launch radio broadcast"): "That's a pretty emotional song for me. It's one of my favorites that I think we've ever written. Just because it's quite a change.... it's quite a different song on the album. It's stands out on the record as being a different texture than most of the other tracks. That line to me says really says so much about the people, really that move the world, you know, the people that go out there and do what has to be done. And they're not worrying about what it's going to cost them personally down the road, they're doing what has to be done, and they're prepared to pay the price for it without worrying about.... the payment that comes later."
  • Alex Lifeson (Roll The Bones Radio Special): "That's a special song for me, that's one of the songs that we lifted some of the guitar parts off the demo tapes we used on the finished record. The solo is a thrown away solo that was just a one-take solo. That song and "Roll The Bones" and "Ghost Of A Chance", but "Bravado" and "Ghost Of A Chance", those two solos I feel are probably among the best that I've done -- the most emotive and the most spontaneous, and they were both one-take solos. And we just got used to hearing them and they fit so perfectly, and the bass and the drums kind of fit into what the solo was doing, there was really no reason to re-record it. You could never capture that innocence and emotion in it. And that's what it really boils down to; sound doesn't really matter, you can get a half-decent sound on anything and enhance it and make it a little better, but at the cost of losing the emotion. It's not worth it."
  • Lifeson (Guitar Player, November 1991): "The solos in 'Ghost of a Chance,' 'Bravado' and 'Roll the Bones' are basically one- or two-take solos played all the way through. When we're developing the arrangement in the writing stages, I toss a solo on tape so we have something to listen to. It's late at night, the lights are down low, and I'm by myself. These were supposed to be throwaway solos, but when it was time to do the "real" solos, Neil had already adjusted his parts to fit what I'd played. So it came down to me trying to recreate everything - which doesn't work. You might improve the sound, but even if you play exactly the same notes you'll never capture that magic feel. The solos in "Ghost of a Chance" and "Bravado" are certainly my favorites on the record, if not among my favorite solos ever. When I listen to them, I heart the way I felt at that time. That's really the key."
  • Geddy Lee (Guitar Player, November 1991): "Neil's parts are complex, too. Listen to the end of "Bravado". There's an example of limb independence that rivals any drummer, anywhere. The fact that he nailed that in one take blows my mind. In only four days, Neil and I had all the drums and bass parts down. When you record that quickly, you wonder if maybe some ugliness will rear its head two weeks down the road. There were only a couple of little moments that sounded a tad unsteady over all that work; we're able to live without them. Alex did almost all the guitars in about eight days." Alex Lifeson: "In the past, it took three to five weeks."
  • Lifeson (from Guitar Player): "I think it was a first take. I played my Tele through the GK preamp direct to tape. The solo has a particular character and personality that's uncommon for me. If I'd erased that and gone with something else, then it would have been just another solo I put together in the studio, rather than something that happened at a special moment."
  • In the Roll The Bones Tourbook, Neil Peart explained the line, "We will pay the price, but we will not count the cost":

    "A line from John Barth's The Tidewater Tales (he said I could use it) which echoed around inside me for a long time after I read that book. To me, it just means go for it. There are no failures of talent, only failures of character. I think that's often true too. Sure there a lot of talented people who don't achieve artistic or worldly success, but I think there's usually a reason - a failure inside them. The important thing is: if you fail once, or if your luck is bad this time, the dream is still there. A dream is only over if you give it up - or if it comes true. That is called irony. We have to remember the oracle's words, from Nike, the Greek goddess of victory and lumpy athletic shoes: Just do it. No excuses." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Mike - Mountlake Terrace, Washington, for all above

Comments: 15

  • Dave from Cairo At The MomentI am preparing to teach Grade 4 for the first time in a long time - I have been in Kindergarten for a good while. This song came to mind as a good place to start; the bravado and potential of youth comes across here both in simple and complex ways. Kindergarten students just give it a go, not yet too scared or conditioned to the shadow of failure. This song talks to me of the bravado and potential of youth and how that can be translated to bravado through life beyond youth. (I miss Ken Robinson.)
  • Steve L. Schneider from Saginaw, TexasFor me, Bravado is a song that I just didn’t appreciate when the album came out. Now that I’m 55 years old, I absolutely love this song. The lyrics that Neil wrote are very powerful, come on… We will pay the price but we will not count the cost? That is magical wordsmithing! Enjoy!
  • Mark from MaThink back to all you thought you knew about Rush. Now listen to this song again. It sounds so simplistic, yet you can find something new on every listen. They were the very best
  • Patrick from Bedford, TxResuming my Rush listen, since Bravado isn't on this site.

    So, about this song: it sounds like its music was written by old men while its lyrics sound like they were written by teenagers. Nuff said. On to Roll the Bones.
  • Andres from Vancouver, CanadaThe drums near the end where the hi-hat and ride go on at the same time blows my mind and makes my skill on the skins feel like nothing.
  • Lennon from Plainview, NyThis song has changed the way I think about everything and it has changed my life! Truly my favorite Rush song of all time!! :)
  • Joe from Charlotte/ny Transplant, NcI just don't know what it is about this song, but it ignites something in my brain. One of my favorites!
  • Rufus from Wheeling, WvDamn, one of my most favorite Rush songs. "and if love remains, though everything is lost, we will pay the price, but we will not count the cost"
  • Charlene from San Diego, CaI love this song and never get tired of hearing it. It is by far my number one favorite Rush song.
  • Gabriel from Minneapolis, MnDreamline and Bravado...2 of Rush's best. I especially love Alex's Arpeggio melody and Neil's Hi-hat.
  • Claude from Kingston, MaTop 15-20 John? For me it's number 6. The Necromancer is number 23, Passage to Bangkok is 37, and Red Lenses is way down there at 74 except for the middle with the keyboard part when it goes up to number 51, and Vital Signs toggles back and forth between 16 and 19.
  • Gal from Ra'ananna, IsraelThe melodic beauty on this song is something just unseen in modern music playing. It has such a resonant drive and amazing lyrics... one of the best. Truly.
  • Stacie from High Ridge, Mowhen music can make your hair stand up--u know its good the music in this song is incredible! oh by the way my daughter was conceived in hotel in cinci,oh night b4 rush concert! 1st row! her middle name is rush! we told the guys and neil gave us drumsticks when she was 3 weeks old!
  • John from Asheville, NcA top 15-20 Rush song to me. Just love the melody. No dynamic playing here...it's just a song that drives and subsists on melody and that's ok. I'm wow'd here by the minimalism of Rush rather than the virtuosity of the bands's members.
  • Jesse from L.a., CaA truly beautiful song! Live it almost brings a tear to my eye!!! :* )
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