Tom Sawyer (4:35)

Cover of Moving Pictures

From Moving Pictures and 174 other releases

“Tom Sawyer” is a 1981 song by Canadian band Rush named for Mark Twain’s literary character. The song relies heavily on Geddy Lee’s synthesizer playing and the techniques of drummer Neil Peart. Geddy Lee has referred to the track as the “quintessential Rush song”; It is one of Rush’s best-known songs and is a staple of classic rock radio. Geddy Lee told The Plain Dealer newspaper the band never foresaw the success of the song: He said: “The one song that we have to play for the rest of our lives. When we wrote it, we had no idea that it would touch such a nerve with people. In many ways, it’s the quintessential Rush song.” (Source Tom Sawyer Songfacts). Notably, it reached Number 24 in the UK singles chart in May 1981 as a follow-up to their breakthrough hit “The Spirit of Radio”.

Origin

The song was written by Lee, Peart, and guitarist Alex Lifeson in collaboration with Canadian lyricist Pye Dubois (the lyricist of Max Webster), who also co-wrote other Rush songs such as “Force Ten,” “Between Sun and Moon,” and “Test for Echo.” According to the US radio show In the Studio with Redbeard (which devoted an entire episode to the making of Moving Pictures), “Tom Sawyer” came about during a summer rehearsal holiday that Rush spent at Ronnie Hawkins’ farm outside Toronto.

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  • jimbo_francis

    Top 5 band ever!

    9 Apr 11:55pm Reply
  • GodofDeathMetal

    Classic song, I love the keyboard solo and guitar solo.

    3 Feb 2:30am Reply
  • mgpixlab

    Insane drumming from Peart.

    21 Nov 2014 Reply
  • mandryka

    @Inmlas: I agree... but Bill Bruford's not too far away.

    20 Oct 2014 Reply
  • ledzeppelinu2

    rush signature song

    13 Oct 2014 Reply
  • csrog69

    Kick assssssssssssss

    10 Oct 2014 Reply
  • m5p6n3

    esta musica foi tema instrumental aqui no brasil da serie profissao perigo, que a globo exibiu entre 1986 a 1994

    2 Oct 2014 Reply
  • verbcake

    That beginning synth sound is sampled a bunch in hip hop, MixMasterMike loves playing it live.

    15 Sep 2014 Reply
  • YoQueSe666

    With cosmic synth leads, multiple time signatures, and elaborate drum fills, “Tom Sawyer” is the Rush song. With writing credits going to the whole band, the prog and hard rock track also saw Peart team up with poet Pye Dubois to craft its tale of a modern renegade. Despite the trio being initially unsure of the song, it quickly became their signature tune. Along with being a top 40 UK hit, the 4 and a half-minute number charted within the top 10 of the Mainstream Rock charts and was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. -- watchmojo

    21 Jun 2014 Reply
  • HayleighRayment

    Tom the tramp never saw me

    18 Jun 2014 Reply
  • Philbitar

    very understated , killer riff

    29 Apr 2014 Reply
  • Dean-Smith

    Modern day warrior name Tom Sawyer, he floated down a river on a raft with a black guy! I am Geddy Lee and I will sing whatever lyrics I want!

    8 Feb 2014 Reply
  • scientist4u

    Awesome ,,,,,,,,

    29 Jan 2014 Reply
  • MistahMagnitude

    Neil Peart is the best drummer ever!

    31 Dec 2013 Reply
  • jpzitoleopold

    DANA DANAAAAAAAAAAAAN

    26 Nov 2013 Reply
  • KURTFRAN

    nice song

    15 Nov 2013 Reply
  • lnmlas

    Oh God, there's no fucking drummer better than Neil Peart!

    14 Nov 2013 Reply
  • rockandrolljoe

    OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH What a RUSH

    27 Oct 2013 Reply
  • pingywings

    THIS IS MY JAM

    20 Oct 2013 Reply
  • corpsetastic

    The world is the world is...

    19 Oct 2013 Reply
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