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"The Spirit of Radio" is a song released in 1980 by Canadian rock band Rush from their album Permanent Waves. The song's name was inspired by Toronto radio station CFNY's slogan.[1][unreliable source?] The song was significant in the growing popularity of the band. It is also the first song of the 1980s, since Permanent Waveswas released on January 1, 1980, and being the opening track on the album. The band had grazed the UK Top 40 two years earlier with "Closer to the Heart", but when issued as a single in March 1980, "The Spirit of Radio" soon reached number 13 on the UK singles chart.[2] It remains their biggest UK hit to date (the 7" single was a 3:00 edited version which has never appeared on CD to date).[3] "The Spirit of Radio" was named one of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll, Rush's only such entry.[citation needed] The song was among five Rush songs inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame on March 28, 2010.


Lyrics[edit source | editbeta]Edit

The final lines of the song ("For the words of the profits were written on the studio wall.../Concert hall/And echoes with the sounds of salesmen") are an allusion to the famous final lyrics from the Simon and Garfunkel classic "The Sound of Silence": "...the words of the prophets/Are written on the subway walls/And tenement halls/And whispered in the sounds of silence."[citation needed][original research?]

The album version includes the sound of a cheering crowd just after Lee sings "concert hall." It has since become a tradition in live shows for the arena lights to come up at this point and the audience to cheer, mimicking the effect.[citation needed][original research?]

On performances during the 1981 tour, the line "one likes to believe in the freedom of music" was changed to "one likes to believe in the freedom of baseball" as a commentary on the 1981 Major League Baseball Players Association strike. Geddy Lee still occasionally drops this change into the song when performing live.[5][unreliable source?][6][dead link]

Media usage[edit source | editbeta]Edit

This song is also used in the movie White Noise: The Light, as arranged by Terry Frewer, a Vancouver-based composer, and performed by the Vancouver Bach Children's Chorus. Soloists for this performance include Madeline Busby and Olivia Curth.

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