Force Ten
by Rush

Album: Hold Your Fire (1987)
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Songfacts®:

  • Geddy Lee (on Rockline, 10/5/87): "It was more or less an afterthought in the writing stage. We took two months to do all of our writing and preproduction, you know, preparation for the making of the record, and we had nine songs, and we had about a day and a half left of time booked before we were supposed to leave and get ready to make the record. And our producer and all of us were pushing for ten tracks on the album, and some lyrics had been submitted to us by a friend of ours, Pye Dubois, who co-wrote 'Tom Sawyer' with us in years gone by. And Neil was able to put some of his own thoughts to one of the songs that he had and present it to us in the morning of the last day that we were there, and we loved the results, so we got together and brainstormed for about 2 or 3 hours, and we had Force Ten."
  • When asked what the title meant, Neil Peart said: "The Beaufort scale - look it up!"
  • Peart: "The song expresses ways to face barriers and urges people not to be afraid of failure - one of our basic temperamental traits."
  • Geddy Lee (Bass Player, 1987): "Before I had a visit from Jeff Berlin, who's a friend, on the tour I had the opportunity to watch him goofing around backstage with a bass, and was just amazed at his knowledge of bass chords. That's something I had never really exploited in my playing, so he inspired me to play around more with it. He probably doesn't know it, and would be embarrassed to hear it. I ended up using bass chords on "Force Ten" and "Turn The Page." Not so much in the sense of strumming them as using my thumb more, almost like a fingerpicking style of playing, which is something that I'm still working on. Just plucking with my thumb and going back and forth between the thumb and the first two fingers and pulling. Almost like a snapping technique. It's opened up a bit more range for me. There's more melodic possibilities and rhythmic possibilities too, which is an important role for the bass player. If you can establish not only a melody but a rhythmic feel, that's an extra tool."
  • The song opens with the sound of a jackhammer. The session keyboard player Andy Richards had a sample of it that the band used. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Mike - Mountlake Terrace, Washington, for all above

Comments: 9

  • Mike from CtPatrick, it's a twist on an idiom and an old expression. Thick skin; thick as thieves...brilliant wordsmanship from the late professor. Another reason he'll be so terribly missed.
  • Andy from Duluth, GaIt’s not a jackhammer, it’s kick and snare with a delay that shortens within 1 second. Night and day. A jackhammer can’t do that.
  • Patrick from Bedford, TxI'm real confused. The boy with the high voice is sing about skin as thick as thieves (sorry I don't know everyone's names, I'n new to Rush) but thieves don't need to have thick skin because they're sneaky and stealthy and haunt the shadows. But, that doesn't matter because when it goes to the triplet sections in the chorus is freaking dope as hell.
  • Powerwidow from York , MeWhat about that cool thing Alex does with his guitar during the solo? Very cool!
  • John from Asheville, NcGreat album opener. Enjoy this song a lot.
  • Ben from Eden, TnWhat can I say...this song just flippin ROCKS!!!
  • Stephanie from Houston, TxThe lyrics behind the second chorus, barely heard and distorted, are: "Rising, falling at Force Ten, we spin the world and ride the wind..."
  • Jesse from L.a., CaLove the opening to this song... And the little guitar solo...
  • Koko from Bla, AlReal Cool Bass Line!
see more comments

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