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Xanadu (Rush song)

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Released  August 18, 1977
Length  11:07
Writer(s)  Neil Peart
Genre  Progressive rock
Label  Mercury Records
Recorded  1977 at Rockfield Studios

"Xanadu" is a song by the Canadian rock band Rush from their 1977 album A Farewell to Kings. It is approximately eleven minutes long, beginning with a five-minute-long instrumental section, then transitioning to a narrative written by Neil Peart, inspired by the Samuel Taylor Coleridge poem Kubla Khan.



In Peart's lyrics, the narrator describes searching for something called "Xanadu" that will grant him immortality. After succeeding in this quest, a thousand years pass, and the narrator is left "waiting for the world to end," describing himself as "a mad immortal man."

Although the song does not explicitly state what "Xanadu" is, references to Kubla Khan imply that it is a mythical place based on the historical summer capital of the Mongol Empire.


"Xanadu" is the first Rush song in which synthesizers are an integral part. Unlike the previous albums 2112 and Caress of Steel, "Xanadu" used both guitar and synthesizer effects.

The song also marks Rush's clear foray into program music, although previous albums had displayed some elements of this. Subsequent albums during the late 1970s and early 1980s would see the group explore program music more systematically.

"Xanadu" requires each band member to utilize an array of instruments to effect the performance. Alex Lifeson used a double-necked Gibson electric guitar (one twelve-string, the other six-string) as well as synthesizer pedals; Geddy Lee made use of a double-necked Rickenbacker 4080/12 guitar (bass and twelve-string guitar) as well as extensive synthesizer arrangements (through both pedals and keyboards) in addition to singing; and Peart took on various percussion instruments (temple blocks, tubular bells, bell tree, glockenspiel and wind chimes) in addition to his drum kit.

When the song was played during the R30 tour in 2004, the ending of the song was changed so that Lee did not play the rhythm guitar part, as in the original arrangement. However, when it was played on the R40 Live Tour in 2015, Lee once again played rhythm guitar.

Covers and tributes

  • "Xanadu" was covered by Silver Sun and released on their Too Much, Too Little, Too Late EP in 1998, as a four-minute pop punk song.
  • References

    Xanadu (Rush song) Wikipedia

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