The Body Electric
by Rush

Album: Grace Under Pressure (1984)
Charted: 56
Play Video
  • One humanoid escapee
    One android on the run
    Seeking freedom beneath the lonely desert sun

    Trying to change its program
    Trying to change the mode, crack the code
    Images conflicting into data overload

    In distress

    Memory banks unloading
    Bytes break into bits
    Unit one's in trouble and it's scared out of its wits

    Guidance systems break down
    A struggle to exist
    To resist
    A pulse of dying power in a clenching plastic fist

    In distress

    It replays each of the days
    A hundred years of routines
    Bows its head and prays
    To the mother of all machines Writer/s: ALEX ZIVOJINOVICH, GARY LEE WEINRIB, NEIL ELWOOD PEART
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Comments: 20

  • Steven Hatter from CaliforniaGeddy also mentions "100100" which is the binary ASCII code for the dollar sign "$".
  • John Lewis from WiesbadenPosting on behalf of my Robot friend because he can't click the "I'm not a robot" box....

    He says he really DOES dream of electric sheep.
  • Awshootme from GaBased on the comments to date I've decided that the fact that 1001001 can be interpreted as 'egg' in Morse Code and 'I' in ASCII means that this is a reference to the old Fred MacMurray movie 'The Egg and I'. Rush are secretly major fans of the star of My Three Sons.
  • Chuck Smoov from GeorgiaYeah, and if you convert "Peart" to hex, you get 5065617274a. Then if you convert that to binary and add 1001001SOS, you get a promotional code for a meatball sandwich at Subway. You guys are reaching a bit aren't you? HAHAHAHAHAAA!!! Probably conspiracy theorists.
  • Fred from Ottawa ,on CanadaNeil being the voracious reader he was, read many books including those of Philip K Dick and Ray Bradbury. He was inspired by much of what he read.
  • Nelson from Houston, TxSteve, Glendale, WI; as long as we're playing the numbers game ... 1001001 is 49 in hexadecimal and the ASCII value of 49 is the character 1, as in individual.
  • Steve from Glendale, WiBinary 1001001=73 and the letter "I" in ASCII
    The mirror of 73, the 21st prime number, 37, is the 12th prime number. The number 21 includes factors 7 and 3. The number 21 in binary is 10101 and Seventy-three in binary, 1001001, both are a palindrome. In addition, of the 7 binary digits representing 73, there are 3 ones. Also, 37+12=49 (seven squared) and 73+21=94=47×2, 47+2 also being equal to seven squared. Additionally, both 73 and its mirror, 37, are sexy primes twice over, as 31, 43, 67 and 79 are all prime numbers.
  • Patricia from Solon, MeDoes anyone know who the actor/male model is who played the escaping android in the video?
  • Pual from San Francisco, CaSince we know 1001001 is I followed by SOS I was curious if ISOS was involved which from an acronym site could mean several things. One being IP (Internet Protocol) Service Operating System (which the song sort of predates the internet but not Dial-ups or Ethernet/Newsgroups; as I am not an IT person but am curious if it has multiple layers in meaning. The statements connecting I-Robot and Frankenstein. Also Wizard of Oz.. hmm Peeling back or layering on?
  • Cheyl from Arcadia, FlGeddy was born in 1953
  • Jimmy from Houston, TxWhen I first heard this song I thought of my Algebra class; the formula for the Identity Matrix is:
    1 0 (0)
    0 1 (0)
    0 0 1
    Since the song refers to an android with an Identity Crisis.... The binary code explanation makes more sense to me now though.
  • Manu from Buenos Aires, ArgentinaZach, Geddy was born in '54, i think, and that's way after the jewish holocaust, at least it's enough time for Geddy's father to conceive him. I think that neil emphasized more in a dystopic future than in biographic tellings while writing down those lyrics for P/G, though I believe there's some background concerning Geddy's personal accounts.
  • Dave from Coal Valley, Ilthis song and video was featured in a movie from back in the 80's, it was a movie about some young music lovers and I think one of them worked for a either a radio or tv station and they played music, I can't remember much more than that but would like to know the name of the movie if anyone knows. Thanks!
  • Joanna from Portales, NmAlso the code being referenced in the song 1001001 (the binary code for "I") could also find it's roots from the "I" in Issac Asimov's series "I,Robot" which coincidentally, also finds its root in Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein."
  • Joanna from Portales, NmActually I would venture to believe that the song might be loosely based on Walt Whitman's poem "I Sing the Body Electric" from his 1855 collection; which most likely influenced the Twilight Zone episode. All of which in many ways may have been influenced in part by Mary Shelley's Frankenstein; food for thought.
  • Marr from Toronto, CanadaMorse Code:
    . = 1
    - = 0

    e = .
    g = --.

    1001001 = .--.--. = egg

    The inner sleeve (I have the vinyl LP) has a picture of an egg in a c-clamp. Did anyone else come to this conclusion?
  • Jesse from L.a., CaThe drums here, in the beginning of the song, are awesome!
  • Zachary from Baxter, CanadaAlthough Joe makes a good point, I have to disagree with the paternal thing. After I surfed around a bit, I discovered that Neil wrote the lyrics for Red Sector A after hearing Geddy talk about how his mother survived the Holocaust. Although it would seem obvious that since his father did not, the song would be about him, I don't think it is. I believe the song is about his mother's suffering, and how she dealt with her husband's death.

    Then again, I could be completely wrong about that. For all I know, Geddy's father could have survived the Holocaust, and lived a happy life with his family. It's been awhile since I saw the article, and my memory about it is a bit foggy.
  • Paul from Williamstown, MaThe binary 1001001 in decimal is 73. 1973 is the year Rush recorded their first album.
  • Joe from Allston, MaIn contrast to "Red Sector A" (also on Grace Under Pressure), which seems to deal with someone crying out to a missing paternal figure, this song has the main character of the story, a robot, crying out to the "mother of all machines," the feminine. I've always viewed this song as an allegory for how some people live their lives as automatons, going through a daily routine without significant deviation. The robot's cry to a maternal figure is a cry for the emotional and intuitive aspects of intelligence that differentiate a lifeform from a machine.
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