It was 44 years ago today…. Rush!

The debut studio album by the Canadian rock band Rush, released on March 1, 1974 by the band’s own label Moon Records in Canada and by Mercury in the United States and internationally. Their first release shows much of the hard rock sound typical of many of the popular rock bands emerging earlier in the decade. Rush were fans of bands such as Led Zeppelin, The Who and Cream, whose influences can be heard in most of the songs on this album.

Original drummer John Rutsey performed all percussion parts on the album, but was unable to go on extended tours because of health complications so he left the band soon after the album was released. The music and lyrics were instead entirely written by bassist Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson. Rutsey was soon replaced by Neil Peart, who remained the band’s drummer as well as their primary lyricist.

Rush were unhappy with the quality of the early recording sessions which took place at night due to budget restrictions so moved to Toronto Sound Studios and produced the next sessions themselves achieving a significant improvement in recording quality using 8-channel multitrack recorders.

The band and its management formed their own company, Moon Records, and released the album in Canada. Only 3,500 copies of the original Moon Records LP (catalogue number MN-100) were pressed. The first version of the LP has a cream-coloured label with a blue Moon Records logo and black type and has since become a much sought-after collector’s item.

The record’s popularity quickly led to the re-release of the album by Mercury Records. The first Canadian Mercury release on the standard red Mercury label is nearly as rare as the Moon version. It also had the Moon number MN-100 between the run-out grooves, indicating that it was pressed from the same metal stampers as the Moon disc.

At this point manager Ray Danniels scraped together an additional $9,000 for producer Terry Brown to professionally re-mix all of the recordings for better sound quality. This remix version was used for later releases most of which used the Mercury “skyline” record label instead of the red label.

Tracks such as Finding My Way, In The Mood and Working Man stayed in the band’s live setlist for many years and they even closed their final show at The Forum, Inglewood, California with What You’re Doing and the aforementioned Working Man.

Tracklisting

  1. Finding My Way
  2. Need Some Love
  3. Take A Friend
  4. Here Again
  5. What You’re Doing
  6. In The Mood
  7. Before & After
  8. Working Man

Text by Phil Ashdown.

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