Cygnus X-1 Book 2: Hemispheres
by Rush

Album: Hemispheres (1978)
Play Video


  • This song continues the story from Cygnus X-1 on the album A Farewell to Kings. It uses the Greek mythology of Apollo, the god of reason, and Dionysus, the god of love.

    The followers of Apollo believe straight logic can lead them while the followers of Dionysus believe that love will lead them. Civil war ensues until the adventurer from Cygnus X-1 comes across this world. Since traveling through Cygnus X-1, a black hole, his body has been destroyed but he can still see and think. He becomes upset with the war and cries out to the people, Apollo, and Dionysus. The people hear his cry, stop fighting, unite, and proclaim the hero Cygnus, the god of balance. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Chris - Spencerport, NY
  • Kicking off the Rush album Hemispheres, this song runs 18:08 and is an exemplar of the band's progressive rock leanings at the time. For their next album, Permanent Waves, they took a different approach, with more compact, tuneful songs like "The Spirit Of Radio" and "Freewill." These radio-friendly songs earned Rush a much wider audience.
  • According to Rush lead singer Geddy Lee, recording vocals for this song and the others on the Hemispheres album was a miserable experience, since they recorded the music first without making sure he could properly sing over the tracks.

Comments: 17

  • Rick from AnaheimThis song is perfection! Geddy's vocals and melody lines are at their best. I never get tired of listening to this song.
  • Rrradam from Denver, NcLike Ayn Rand's Anthem inspired 2112, Book 2 was inspired by Fredrick Nietzsche's The Birth of Tragedy from the Spirit of Music, in which he espouses on what he calls the Apollonian and Dionysian philosophical concepts. Certainly my favorite literary composition, ever written, in any form... Both beautiful and profound. Even clever, where the Hero, after having being ripped apart (atom by atom) when entering the black hole in Book 1, reemerges as Cygnus in Book 2.
  • Christopher from Coweta, OkI know they've said they were done with songs like this, but just one more.... It blows my mind how good this song is.
  • Diego from São Paulo, Brazil"Apollo was atonished /Dionysus thought me mad" I personally found this passage to be really interesting ...The contrasting adjectives to each god .
    Asnonishing the god truth and prophecy and being considered mad by who some considered to be the god of madness !
  • Larry from Ft. Pierce, FlWOW! Even Homer would have been amazed with this song! The streets of Athens would echo with its sounds.
  • Moose from Chicago, IlRush is arguably the best story-telling band ever. Their ability to write an engaging, epic story and combine it with stellar accompanying music is unparalleled. While plenty of other bands come to mind (The Who's 'Tommy' :)), Rush has a plethora of epic's - The Necromancer, The Fountain of Lamneth, 2112, Xanadu, Cygnus X-1, the 'Fear' series (The Weapon, Witch Hunt, The Enenmy Within, & Freeze), and more.
  • Moises from Mexico, Mexicoi am also astonished about this song... its a dream song.. the beautiful mithology made song... the eternal battle between reason and love.... and finally that battle is in ourselves, in our hemispheres, in our beautiful and complex mind...and all joined with that professional music...
    thats really beautiful, i have just listened to it and thats my opinion
  • Devon from Uniontown, Pai believe that dionusus was the god of wine and revelry, not love. that would be aphrodite, who is a goddess.
  • Travis from Calgary, AbActually Chuck, their second longest song I believe is Fountain of Lamneth from Caress of Steel, with 2112 as the longest.

    Though if you count both parts to Cygnus X-1 then it would be quite a deal longer.
  • John from Asheville, NcI like this song quite well, though I'm not a fan of album-length epics. One of their better ones though and light years stronger than the close to the Kings album. Much better effort this go 'round.
  • Chuck from Houston, TxIf I'm not mistaken, this is the second longens rush song the band ever made.
  • Kent Lyle from Cincinnati, OhAlex's richly harmonic 12-string electric defines his sound as much as anything he's ever done.
  • David from N.providence, RiArguably one of the best Rush songs ever. I'm not sure how well Countdown fits as a closer to Cygnus X-I and X-II, but it's a thought I suppose.
  • Tj from Chicago, IlThis could be my number 1 rush song along with xanadu (exit... stage left/live) & the camera eye. The way Geddy's shrieking, high pitch tone swings with the music is simply ASTOUNDING.
  • Wil from Milwaukee, WiListen to this IMMEDIATELY after Cygnus X-1 from A Farewell To Kings!!! Then finish up with Countdown fron Signals!! What a trilogy!!!
  • Chris from Spencerport, NyThis has to be one of my favorite Rush songs. The story flows so well and the music fits perfectly.
  • Paul from Spring, TxTotally awesome song, I love the story, with its extremelly moving lyrics, and a melody that fits perfectly with the mood and sounds great.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Little Big Town

Little Big TownSongwriter Interviews

"When seeds that you sow grow by the wicked moon/Be sure your sins will find you out/Your past will hunt you down and turn to tell on you."


PrinceFact or Fiction

Prince is shrouded in mystery, making him an excellent candidate for Fact or Fiction. Is he really a Scientologist? Does he own an exotic animal?

Ben Kowalewicz of Billy Talent

Ben Kowalewicz of Billy TalentSongwriter Interviews

The frontman for one of Canada's most well-known punk rock bands talks about his Eddie Vedder encounter, Billy Talent's new album, and the importance of rock and roll.

Rick Astley

Rick AstleySongwriter Interviews

Rick Astley on "Never Gonna Give You Up," "Cry For Help," and his remarkable resurgence that gave him another #1 UK album.

Don Brewer of Grand Funk

Don Brewer of Grand FunkSongwriter Interviews

The drummer and one of the primary songwriters in Grand Funk talks rock stardom and Todd Rundgren.

Sarah Brightman

Sarah BrightmanSongwriter Interviews

One of the most popular classical vocalists in the land is lining up a trip to space, which is the inspiration for many of her songs.