Rush

The Spirit of Radio

Song Review by

"Spirit of Radio"'s highest chart achievement came in the U.K., making it to number 13 there while stalling at number 51 in the U.S. and number 33 in Rush's homeland of Canada. The song's parent album, 1980's Permanent Waves, fared much better, peaking at number four in America and number three in Britain. "Spirit of Radio" had Rush taking a break from the progressive sound that led them through the '70s, instilling some of the simplest arrangements the group has ever played. Not only did the track open up the commercial gates a bit wider, but it also helped them gain some much-needed radio attention in order to broaden the band's fan base. "Spirit of Radio" holds a muscular rock presence from the get-go, and even though the music is flashy and multi-paced, Rush still manages to get their ode to radio across. With Geddy Lee enigmatically singing about music being the freest form of expression in amongst Neil Peart's percussive acrobatics and the shiny glare of the keyboards, the song as a whole fit just right into the '80s radio rock formula. Peart isn't his astounding self, but this is one of the reasons "Spirit of Radio" works so well, proving that Rush was ready to join the ranks of pop/rock, and that 1978's "Closer to the Heart" wasn't just a trial run. "Spirit of Radio"'s tempo switches near the end, slowing down to a rock-ska bounce with Lee's voice perfectly tamed for a change -- evidence that the band didn't have to be so complex all of the time. The song became a fan favorite thanks to its familiar rhythms and easy-to-follow structure, making it one of Rush's first attempts at venturing outside of their progressive sound.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Permanent Waves 1980 Universal Special Products / Mercury 4:59
No Image 1980 Seagull 5:26
Chronicles 1990 Mercury 4:57
Classic Rock Box: WNEW-FM 25th Anniversary Box 1992
Various Artists
PolyGram 4:57
Kerrang!: The Album 1994
Various Artists
4:57
Hot City Nights [Alex] 1994
Various Artists
4:57
Oh What a Feeling, Vol. 2: A Vital Collection of Canadian Music 1996
Various Artists
Canadian Academy of Recording Art 4:57
Retrospective, Vol. 1 (1974-1980) 1997 Mercury 4:59
The Spirit of Radio: Greatest Hits 1974-1987 2003 Universal Distribution 4:57
Top '80s, Vol. 2 2004
Various Artists
Universal International 4:57
Gold 2006 Mercury 4:57
Classic Rock Presents Prog Rock 2006
Various Artists
Gut-Active 4:58
Old Skool of Rock 2007
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 4:59
Rockopilatorio 2007
Various Artists
Def Jam / Digital / Island / Universal / Universal Music 4:56
Now That's What I Call Classic Rock 2008
Various Artists
Capitol 4:55
Total Drivetime 2010
Various Artists
Universal 4:56
Wondrous Stories: A Complete Introduction to Progressive Rock 2010
Various Artists
Universal 0:00
Rock Anthems [Universal 2010] 2010
Various Artists
EMI / Universal Music TV 4:57
Gods of Guitar [Universal] 2011
Various Artists
Universal 4:57
Greatest Ever! Rock Anthems 2011
Various Artists
Greatest Ever / Union Square Music 0:00
Sector 2 2011 Island / Mercury 5:12
Icons of Rock 2012
Various Artists
Hip-O 4:58
100 Hits: Driving Rock [2013] 2013
Various Artists
Ultimate Collection / Union Square Music 4:57
Latest & Greatest Driving Rock Anthems 2014
Various Artists
USM Media 4:55
Classic Rock Anthems [Spectrum]
Various Artists
Spectrum Music 4:56
Driving Rock
Various Artists
Universal Distribution / Universal Music TV 4:57
No Image
Various Artists
Strategic Marketing 4:59
No Image
Various Artists
Universal 4:57
The Best of Classic Rock: Green Series
Various Artists
Strategic Marketing 4:58
The Great Canadian Two Four, Vol. 2
Various Artists
Universal / Universal Music Canada 4:59