Xanadu (11:08)

Cover of A Farewell to Kings

From A Farewell to Kings and 95 other releases

“Xanadu” is a song recorded by the Canadian progressive rock trio Rush for their 1977 album A Farewell to Kings. It is approximately eleven minutes long, beginning with a five-minute-long instrumental section, then transitioning to a narrative written by lyricist Neil Peart, inspired by the Samuel Taylor Coleridge poem Kubla Khan.

In Peart’s lyrics, the narrator describes searching for something called “Xanadu” (although it is not explicitly stated what this is, references to the poem “Kubla Khan” imply that it is a mythical place based on the historical summer capitol of the Mongolian Empire) that will grant him immortality.

“Xanadu” is the first Rush song in which synthesizers are an integral part. Unlike the previous 2112 album or Caress of Steel, “Xanadu” used both guitar and synthesizer effects, and thus represented a transitional phase for the group.

The song also marks Rush’s clear foray into program music. Previous albums had displayed some elements of program music. Subsequent albums during the late ‘70’s and early ‘80’s would see the group explore program music more systematically.

“Xanadu” requires each member to utilize an array of instruments to affect the performance. Lifeson used a double-necked Gibson electric guitar (one twelve-string, the other six-string) as well as synthesizer pedals; Lee made use of a double-necked Rickenbacker (bass and six-string guitar) as well as extensive synthesizer arrangements (through both pedals and keyboards) while singing; and Peart took on various percussion instruments (notably temple blocks, tubular bells, bell tree, glockenspiel and wind chimes) in addition to his drum kit work.


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"To seek the sacred river Alph
To walk the caves of ice
To break my fast on honey dew
And drink the milk of Paradise..."

MetroLyrics Full lyrics at MetroLyrics


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