The Camera Eye
by Rush

Album: Moving Pictures (1981)
  • Grim-faced and forbidding
    Their faces closed tight
    An angular mass of New Yorkers
    Pacing in rhythm
    Race the oncoming night
    They chase through the streets of Manhattan
    Head-first humanity
    Pause at a light
    Then flow through the streets of the city

    They seem oblivious
    To a soft spring rain
    Like an English rain
    So light, yet endless
    From a leaden sky, yeah

    The buildings are lost
    In their limitless rise
    My feet catch the pulse
    And the purposeful stride

    I feel the sense of possibilities
    I feel the wrench of hard realities
    The focus is sharp in the city

    Wide-angle watcher
    On life's ancient tales
    Steeped in the history of London
    Green and Grey washes
    In a wispy white veil
    Mist in the streets of Westminster
    Wistful and weathered
    The pride still prevails
    Alive in the streets of the city

    Are they oblivious
    To this quality?
    A quality
    Of light unique to every city's streets

    Pavements may teem
    With intense energy
    But the city is calm
    In this violent sea

    I feel the sense of possibilities
    I feel the wrench of hard realities
    The focus is sharp in the city Writer/s: Neil Elwood Peart, Gary Lee Weinrib, Alex Zivojinovich
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Comments: 35

  • Justin from Frenchtown, Nj If you listen to that, you can clearly hear Geddy say "Hello. Morning Gov!"
  • Mike from Cold Spring Harbor, NyRegarding 8:56, have a listen to (the spot is at 2:23). This is the lead vocal track only. Actually, it must be a take - not what wound up on the record (you can hear the subtle differences in more than one spot). This is your best evidence of what is said at 8:56 which is one person saying "Hello" and another person saying "G'Morn, Gov" - a very contracted and English version of "Good Morning, Governor." As Austin Powers said to his Dad, "Let's talk English English." If you would like another challenge, give a very close listen to the isolated vocal track and see how many spots you can find that are different from what wound up on the record (or CD to you younger guys). One thing is for sure, Geddy has an amazing voice and you can hear the intensity and focus in his delivery during this take.

  • Dusty from St. Louis, MoMike! Yes they did!!!!! It was AMAZING!!!!!!!!
  • Byron from Paragould, Ar, ArOne of the band's true masterpieces and one of the finest rock songs ever written
  • José Mauro from Recife, BrazilThe 8:56 voice is "Boa Tarde". Means "Good afternoon" in portuguese. I'm absolutely sure about it. When the album was realesed all my friends called my attention for that. Ask to a native speaker...It's clear to any hears.
  • Rufus from Wheeling, WvGoing to the show in Pittsburgh in September and I can't wait to hear this live.
  • Mike from Daie, Flthey're performing it live on the time machine tour!
  • Callum from Dorchester , United KingdomIt is blatantly obvious that the background noise at 8 minutes and 56 seconds is Geddy Lee trying to portray a Londoners accent (saying: "ellow, alright/morning Gov"(Governor)).Thereby establishing a street ambiance reinforcing the "hustle and bustle" of London during this segment of "The Camera Eye".

    Click on this link to hear this clearly:

    It is by no means flatulence or belching, do you really think Rush would include such material in their music?

    Any back ground noise would have surely been edited out!(Moving pictures was recorded digitally)
  • Philip from Spokane, WaSo I just listened to the 8:56 part several times with some high end in-ear monitors and what i interpret from it is some sort of burp or fart (doesn't sound like a real word to me) then "Gross alex" but the mind hears what it wants to hear... Until we have some solid proof from either Geddy, Alex, or Neil I believe that it will remain inconclusive.
  • Mary from Phoenix, AzI listened to it several times, and I agree with Sherman, in Alaska. Although to me, it DOES sound like a burp, and then "mornin', Duff".
  • Tim from Colorado Springs, CoSherman mentions that "Duff" is a Scotish slang for dark-haired, but I learned that "Duff" (in the UK) is slang for someone who is considered lazy. Someone that doesn't "get off their duff to do anything."
  • Glenn from San Jose, Ca"The Camera Eye" to me is a song about vision. It serves me so much in 2 ways, in my overall day gig and in my other world as a musician.

    In business, I am constantly looking for new ideas, and every so often I have to remind myself to analyze risks too. That's what "strength of possibilities/wrench of hard realities" means to me. It's both optimistic and realistic. There's a tension in between that keeps me going and also tells me to pause and reflect.

    Musically, the song uses this technique called half-stepping. It first happens at "They seem oblivious to a soft spring rain." The guitar plays 3 notes at a time; in one part the first 3 start on F the next time the first 3 start on G-flat. The distance between F and G-flat (or F-sharp) is a half step. It's such a simple thing to do and also creates beautiful tension. I do this on keys, and it always gets a reaction yet it's so easy. (I love it when non-musicians ask me "what was that?" and I attribute it to Rush!)

  • Joe from Manchester, Njat 8:56 there actualy somebody saying "Ello, Gov" i know this by two ways: 1. in the game rock band this song is downloadable as dlc and when singing it say that phrase and in the cd there are lyrics and it say it in there
  • Weston from Atlanta, InRush are so great at creating imagery withing their songs both musically and lyrically. "An angular mass of New Yorkers, pacing in rhythmn, race the oncoming night.Pavements may teem with intense energy, but the city is calm in this violent sea." Amazing.
  • Matt from St. Louis, MoOne of the best bass lines i've ever heard! =]
  • Matt from St. Louis, MoNo at 8:56, Neil hit himself with a drumstick and Geddy said, "Hey, are you ok?".
  • Tom from Buffalo, NyOn 8:56, I recall hearing an interview with the boys about this. As I recall, the first "word", is actually Alex farting. Then, Geddy comes on and says "Gross, Alex". Sorry I don't have the exact reference, but I kid you not, this is what was presented.
  • Melanie from Seattle, WaGeddy Lee's voice is absolutely amazing when he sings "They chase through the streets of Manhattan." Actually it's amazing the whole way through but I just LOVE that part. This is a great song.
  • Matt from Grand Rapids, MiThe guy that wrote wikipedia claims to know the answer to the illusive "saying" at 8:56. Here is the link:

    The imagry of this song as well as others by Rush is amazing (The Analog Kid). I still marvel more than 25 years later just how talented these guys are. I try to compare their music to other bands and you just cannot.

    The album Moving Pictures was way ahead of its time. That album could easily have passed for debuting in the 90's. Many things have come and gone in my life over the years but I can always come back to this album.
  • Avlight from Anytown, NcI read in an article that the cityscape at the first part of the song was actually sampled from the first Superman movie and the end is in fact Big Ben.

    This song is a masterpiece and I hope they start playing it in concert again like they finally did with Natural Science.
  • Sherman from Summerside, AkActually, with a bit rate of 320, @ 8:56 I hear "Ello", then "Mornin Duff" Duff is actually a scottish nickname for someone with dark hair or skin, makes sense. Do we have a winner?
  • Sherman from Summerside, AkYes, this song is more than a song, it is a timeless materpiece, Im sure the reason Rush has omitted this from thier concerts is the fact that it is what it is, a masterpiece, never easily replicated and possibly near impossible to do live. As for the saying, I believe first lad says "Ello", next one says "Mornin' bub" Keep on Rockin with Rush!
  • Matt from Grand Rapids, MiThis song has been a personal favorite since the 10th grade. Two equal parts, one about Manhattan and then it 'starts over' to talk about Westminster.

    The greatest line is "Pavements may teem with intense energy, But the city is calm in this violent sea"'

    At 8:56 I believe the second guy says "look, i've" almost like they are arguing a little.

    This is one of the most amazing songs I have ever heard.
  • Chris from New Britain, CtAt 8:56, I believe one person says, "'Ello" and the other says "Goin' golfin'" I've listened many many times and that's what I hear. But, I'm a golfer so I'm a little biased.
  • Eric from Beaverton, OrI was thinking about this song recently, and it occurred to me that this song would be a good tribute to those who lost their lives in the World Trade Center attack in New York on Sept. 11, 2001 and in the London terrorist attacks.
  • Brad from Topeka, KsI've never been a Rush fan, but this is one of the greatest songs I have ever heard. Definitely a song to crank up!
    I love how the song begins with the sounds of New York traffic, and ends with the tolling of Big Ben.
    In my opinion, the album 'Moving Pictures' was a musical masterpiece.
  • Dave from Cardiff, WalesI've often wondered if Rush wrote this song intending it to be interpreted from the viewpoint of someone staniding at the window of a very tall building looking down at the busy city streets below, which, while there is always a lot of activity going on, seem really peaceful from such a viewpoint?
  • Rob from Vancouver, CanadaGreat song....they really pull it off live.
  • James from Westchester, EnglandI'm no musician, but I would think this would be a very difficult song to play live.
  • Rich from Knoxville, TnThis is one of the last Rush songs to be truly multipart in melodic element of Progressive Rock.
  • John from Round Rock, TxWe also had endless debates about what was said at the 8:56 mark of the sone when we were kids. I was always partial to "Gross b*stard" myself. Rush geeks unite!
  • Jesse from L.a., CaThis song is a long one, but the music is mind-boggling... When the drums come in real loud in the beginning I always have to blare it. One of my faves!
  • Stefanie Magura from Rock Hill, ScGreat song1 One of the best on the album!
  • Dave from Cardiff, WalesI really like the way that this song demonstrates the massive cultural differences between two cities that otherwise very much alike with their limitless pace and bustle
  • Brad from Streator, Ilmike that is so amazing that someone else has mentioned the 8:56 voice,my buddies and i have for years each had our own enterpretation of what is actually being said .i truly appreciate anyone who studies rush that close.
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