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2112 (album)

Studio album by Rush
Released April 1, 1976[1]
Recorded February 1976 at Toronto Sound Studios in Toronto
Length 38:44
Label Anthem
Producer Rush, Terry Brown
Rush chronology
Caress of Steel
All the World's a Stage
Singles from 2112
  1. "The Twilight Zone"
    Released: 1976
  2. "2112 Overture/The Temples of Syrinx"
    Released: 1976
  3. "A Passage to Bangkok"
    Released: 1977
Alternative cover
Deluxe edition

2112 (pronounced "twenty-one twelve") is the fourth studio album by Canadian rock band Rush.

Released in 1976, it features the seven-part title suite written by Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson, with lyrics written by Neil Peart telling a dystopian story set in the year 2112. It is sometimes described as a concept album although the songs on the second side are unrelated to the suite. Rush repeated this arrangement on the 1978 album Hemispheres.

2112 is one of two Rush albums listed in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die (the other being Moving Pictures). In 2006, a poll of Planet Rock listeners picked 2112 as the definitive Rush album. In 2012, it was ranked second on Rolling Stone's list of 'Your Favorite Prog Rock Albums of All Time', as voted for in a reader's poll, one of three Rush albums included (the others being Moving Pictures and Hemispheres).[2]

The Toronto dates of the 2112 tour were recorded and released as All the World's a Stage in September 1976.

A deluxe edition was released in 2012 as both a CD/DVD and a CD/Blu-ray. The CD featured the entire album remastered, as well as three live bonus tracks from their 1981 concert at Northlands Coliseum. The DVD and Blu-ray included the album in three different HD formats, as well as on-screen lyrics, liner notes, and a digital comic book depicting the story of the title track.[3]


  • Breakthrough 1
  • 2112 2
  • Other songs 3
  • Starman emblem 4
  • Legacy and cultural significance 5
  • In popular culture 6
  • Reception 7
  • Track listing 8
  • Personnel 9
  • Charts 10
    • Album 10.1
  • Sales certifications 11
  • Singles 12
  • Remaster details 13
  • References 14
  • External links 15


Due to the relative commercial failure of their previous album, Caress of Steel, Mercury (their record label at the time) pressured the band not to do another album with "concept" songs. Caress of Steel contains two multi-part epics: the twelve-minute "The Necromancer" (the second half of side one) and the side-long epic "The Fountain of Lamneth" (side two).

By their own recollection, the band ignored this advice and stuck to their principles; the resulting album would become their first major commercial success, and ultimately a signature record. 2112 was released in March 1976 and peaked at #61 on the Billboard Top LPs & Tape chart, becoming their first album to reach the top 100. 2112 would eventually be certified gold on November 16, 1977, along with the band's then-current releases A Farewell to Kings and the live All the World's a Stage. 2112 reached platinum status on February 25, 1981, shortly after the release of their best-selling album, Moving Pictures.


In the year 2062, a galaxy-wide war results in the union of all planets under the rule of the Red Star of the Solar Federation. By 2112, the world is controlled by the "Priests of the Temples of Syrinx," who determine the content of all reading matter, songs, pictures — every facet of life.

A man discovers an ancient guitar and learns to play his own music. Thinking he has made a wonderful discovery that will be a boon to humanity, he goes to present the guitar to the priests of the Temples, who angrily destroy it and rebuke him for unearthing one of the "silly whims" that caused the collapse of the previous civilization. He goes into hiding and dreams of a world before the Solar Federation. Upon awakening he becomes distraught and commits suicide. As he dies, another planetary battle begins resulting in the ambiguous ending "Attention all planets of the Solar Federation: We have assumed control." (This spoken section was created by Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson reportedly "messing around with a tape recorder.") On the "2112/Moving Pictures" episode of the television series Classic Albums, Neil Peart confirmed that he intended the ending to be a happy one as the people of the Solar Federation are liberated.

Peart credits "the genius of Ayn Rand" in the liner notes. Rand, a Russian-born, Jewish-American novelist and creator of the philosophy of Objectivism, wrote a novella titled Anthem, the plot of which bears several similarities to "2112"; he added the credit to avoid any legal action from Rand. This credit caused the band significant negative publicity, with some even labeling them right-wing extremists. The British musical paper NME even made allusions to Nazism, which particularly offended lead singer and bassist Geddy Lee, whose parents were Holocaust survivors.[4]

Other songs

The other songs on 2112 stand apart from the title track. Lee and Lifeson wrote lyrics for one song each ("Tears" and "Lessons," respectively). Peart wrote the rest.

"Tears" would be the first Rush song to feature an outside musician. Hugh Syme, who would play keyboards on a number of Rush songs in the future, (e.g., "Different Strings" on Permanent Waves and "Witch Hunt" on Moving Pictures) contributes a multi-tracked Mellotron string and flute part to the track. "A Passage to Bangkok" and "The Twilight Zone" are songs typical of Rush in this period. "The Twilight Zone" was written and recorded in one day, and is based on the show of the same name. "Something for Nothing" closes out the album. Regarding this song, Peart states: "All those paeans to American restlessness and the American road carried a tinge of wistfulness, an acknowledgment of the hardships of the vagrant life, the notion that wanderlust could be involuntary, exile as much as freedom, and indeed, the understanding that freedom wasn't free. In the mid-'70s, the band was driving to a show in downtown Los Angeles, at the Shrine Auditorium, and I noticed some graffiti splattered across a wall: 'Freedom isn't free,' and I adapted that for a song on 2112, 'Something for Nothing.'"

Starman emblem

The Starman emblem (also known as the 'Man in the Star' logo) was adopted by Rush fans as a logo since its first appearance on the back cover of 2112. Peart described the Starman in an interview with Creem magazine:

All (the naked man) means is the abstract man against the masses. The red star symbolizes any collectivist mentality.

On the album art, the "collectivist mentality" is depicted as the Red Star of the Solar Federation, which, according to the plot, is a galaxy-wide federation that controls all aspects of life during the year 2112. The figure in the emblem is depicted as the "Hero". Hugh Syme, the creator of many of Rush's album covers, commented on the design: "The man is the hero of the story. That he is nude is just a classic tradition...the pureness of his person and creativity without the trappings of other elements such as clothing. The red star is the evil red star of the Federation, which was one of Peart's symbols. We basically based that cover around the red star and that hero."

The logo also appears on six other Rush album covers: on the backdrop behind Peart's drumkit in All the World's a Stage, their first live album released in 1976; in one of the pictures that is being moved in Moving Pictures; on Retrospective 1; on Archives, a compilation album released in 1978; on their 1981 live album Exit...Stage Left, in the background amongst symbols from all their previous work; on their 2003 compilation The Spirit of Radio; and on their 2004 covers album Feedback. It is also featured on the Canada Post stamp honoring Rush issued July 19, 2013.[5] It also was featured on the front bass drum heads of Peart's drum kit from 1977 to 1983, and again on the 2004 R30 and 2015 R40 tours.

Legacy and cultural significance

The Guitar Hero franchise, Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock, features the song "2112" in its entirety as seven separate tracks. In the Quest mode of the game, the player receives the Legendary Guitar after finishing the 2112 chapter. Some of the venues in the game were inspired by the song. The members of Rush narrate the 2112 chapter in Quest Mode.

The song is also available for download on the Harmonix music game Rock Band 3 to play either as three separate tracks or in its entire 20-minute form.

An achievement in Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate: Deluxe Edition, called "2112", is obtained by collecting all of Batman's "RUSH Upgrades".

In the 2003 film School of Rock, Jack Black's character gives one of his students 2112 to listen to for homework, specifically to study Neil Peart's drumming.

2112 plays a significant role in Ernest Cline's novel Ready Player One, in which it is a clue to a virtual planet based on the Temple of Syrinx, where a key is located in an elaborate online quest.

In the American Dad! episode "Why Can't We Be Friends?", Steve and his friend Snot dance to "2112".


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[6] 4.6/5 stars[7]
Music Emissions (favorable)[8]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars (Deluxe)[9]
  • 2112 was included in IGN's list "10 Classic Prog Rock Albums".[10]
  • In a reader's poll held by Rolling Stone, it placed second on the list of favorite Prog Rock albums.[11]
  • AllMusic's Greg Prato (4.5 out of 5): "1976's 2112 proved to be their much sought-after commercial breakthrough and remains one of their most popular albums."[6]

Track listing

All lyrics by Neil Peart and music by Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson, except where noted.

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "2112"
  • I. "Overture" (0:00 - 4:33)
  • II. "The Temples of Syrinx" (4:33 - 6:45)
  • III. "Discovery" (Music: Lifeson) (6:45 - 10:14)
  • IV. "Presentation" (Music: Lifeson) (10:14 - 13:56)
  • V. "Oracle: The Dream" (13:56 - 15:56)
  • VI. "Soliloquy" (15:56 - 18:17)
  • VII. "Grand Finale" (18:17 - 20:34)"  
  • 4:33
  • 2:12
  • 3:29
  • 3:43
  • 2:00
  • 2:21
  • 2:17
Side two
No. Title Length
2. "A Passage to Bangkok"   3:32
3. "The Twilight Zone"   3:16
4. "Lessons" (Lyrics: Lifeson) 3:51
5. "Tears" (Lyrics: Lee) 3:30
6. "Something for Nothing" (Music: Lee) 3:59
2012 Deluxe Edition bonus tracks
No. Title Length
7. "I. Overture" (Live at Northlands Coliseum, 1981) 4:31
8. "II. The Temples of Syrinx" (Live at Northlands Coliseum - Edmonton, AB, Canada, June 25, 1981[12]) 2:19
9. "A Passage to Bangkok" (Live at Manchester Apollo - Manchester, England, June 17, 1980[12]) 3:57

2012 Deluxe Edition bonus DVD / Blu-ray


Additional musician
Technical personnel
  • Arranged and produced by Rush and Terry Brown
  • Recorded, engineered and mixed by Terry Brown
  • Mastered by Brian Lee and Bob Ludwig



Billboard (USA)
Year Chart Position
1976 Pop Albums 61

Sales certifications

Country Organization Sales
U.S. RIAA 3x Platinum (3,000,000)[13]
Canada CRIA 2x Platinum (200,000)[14]
UK BPI Silver (60,000)[15]


"The Twilight Zone"
  • Released:
  • Written by: Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson & Neil Peart
  • Produced by: Rush and Terry Brown
  • Chart positions:
"2112: Overture / The Temples of Syrinx"
  • Released:
  • Written by: Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson & Neil Peart
  • Produced by: Rush and Terry Brown
  • Chart positions:
"A Passage to Bangkok"
  • Released:
  • Written by: Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson & Neil Peart
  • Produced by: Rush and Terry Brown
  • Chart positions:

Remaster details

Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab issued a Gold CD remaster in 1993, currently out of print.[17]

A Mercury Records remaster was issued in 1997.

  • The tray has a picture of the star with man painting (mirroring the cover art of Retrospective I) with "The Rush Remasters" printed in all capital letters just to the left. All remasters from Rush through Permanent Waves are like this.
  • The remaster album art has all of the elements including the back cover, the story of 2112, lyrics, gatefold shots of the band and the star with man logo which were absent from the original CD.

2112 was remastered again in 2011 by Andy VanDette for the "Sector" box sets, which re-released all of Rush's Mercury-era albums. It is included in the Sector 1 set.[18]

2112 was remastered yet again, in various formats, including 5.1 for a December 2012 release. (21/12/12)[19]

2112 was remastered for vinyl in 2015 by Sean Magee at Abbey Road Studios as a part of the official "12 Months of Rush" promotion.[20] The high definition master prepared for this release was also made available for purchase in 24-bit/96kHz and 24-bit/192kHz formats, at several high-resolution audio online music stores. These masters have significantly less compression than the 1997 remasters and the "Sector" remasters by Andy VanDette.[21]


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External links

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