Permanent Waves

Universal Music (Pty) Ltd.
Release date
7 Jul 1997
Running length
6 tracks
Running time


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    Track     Duration Listeners
1 The Spirit of Radio 4:59 187,412
2 Freewill 5:24 143,670
3 Jacob's Ladder 7:28 62,753
4 Entre Nous 4:37 55,226
5 Different Strings 3:50 52,102
6 Natural Science 9:17 57,270

About this album

Permanent Waves is the seventh studio album by the Canadian rock band Rush, released January 1, 1980 (see 1980 in music). The album was recorded at Le Studio, Morin Heights, Quebec, and was mixed at Trident Studios in London, UK. Permanent Waves became Rush’s first US Top 5 album hitting #4 and was the band’s fifth Gold (eventually Platinum) selling album. The album also marks a distinct transition into more accessible, radio-friendly numbers and consequently, a significant expansion in the band’s record sales with perennial favorites such as “The Spirit of Radio” and “Freewill” seeing quite a fair bit of radio airplay. Lee’s singing style changed, too; his range is much lower than the previous albums.

“The Spirit of Radio” featured the band’s early experiments with a reggae style, which was explored further on Moving Pictures and Signals.

A notable track on Permanent Waves is “Jacob’s Ladder”, a song style reminiscent of their earlier art rock period. Exploring odd time signatures, the song possesses a dark, ominous feel. The song’s lyrics are based on a simple concept; a vision of sunlight breaking through storm clouds. The title is a reference to the natural phenomenon of the sun breaking through the clouds in visible rays, which in turn is named after the Biblical ladder to heaven on which Jacob saw angels ascending and descending in a vision.

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