Song Review by

"Xanadu" is based upon Samuel Taylor Coleridge's opium-inspired poem Kubla Khan, which in more pretentious musical and lyrical hands could have been disastrous. Rush instead made it a surprisingly listenable and dynamic epic that is half the length of the more famous "2112," but just as effective. "Xanadu" came out on 1977's A Farewell to Kings, which saw the band solidify the progressive strides it had made on the previous year's 2112. Perhaps the most obvious sign of this new sound was Geddy Lee's use of the Moog synthesizer. This ancient yet charming antecedent to modern synths was not as advanced as some later Rush keyboards but made up for this fact by being employed as a spice to the band's sound, not the main course, as would be the case in subsequent years. All of the typical facets of mid-period Rush were all in place -- the aforementioned Moog, Lee's complex maze of bass, and Neil Peart's busy drum fills. Guitarist Alex Lifeson really steals the show on this one with his Zeppelin-esque marriage of multi-necked guitars and amazing solos. "Xanadu" proved that Rush was more rock-oriented than prog-mates Genesis, not as lyrically fussy as Pink Floyd, and just as able to churn out lengthy anthems as Led Zeppelin. All in all, "Xanadu" is not only a classic Rush song but also a real highlight of late-'70s rock.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
A Farewell to Kings 1977 Mercury / Virgin EMI 12:20
Hemispheres 1978 Mercury / Def Jam / Island / Universal 0:00
No Image 1980 Seagull 12:29
Retrospective, Vol. 1 (1974-1980) 1997 Mercury 11:07
Gold 2006 Mercury 11:04
Sector 2 2011 Island / Mercury 12:10
5 Classic Albums 2012 Geffen / Island / Mercury 11:07
No Image 9:54