“Whereas Rush’s first two releases, their self-titled debut and Fly by Night, helped create a buzz among hard rock fans worldwide, the more progressive third release, Caress of Steel, confused many of their supporters. The band knew it was now or never with their fourth release, and they delivered just in time – 1976’s 2112 proved to be their much sought-after commercial breakthrough and remains one of their most popular albums. Instead of choosing between prog rock or heavy rock, both styles are merged together to create an interesting and original approach.” GP
The title piece, 2112, fills the entire first side of the original LP. “Comprised of seven ‘sections,’ the track proved that the trio was fast becoming rock’s most accomplished instrumentalists.” GP The piece “paints a chilling picture of a future world where technology is in control.” GP
The story line is that “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.” WK
“A man discovers a guitar…When he goes to present this to the priests of the Temples, they destroy the guitar. 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.’” WK
In the album, Neil Peart credited Ayn Rand, with the concept. She was “a Russian-born American novelist and creator of the philosophy Objectivism, wrote a novella entitled Anthem (itself adopted as the title of another Rush song, from the album Fly By Night) from which Peart borrowed the broad strokes of the plot.” WK
The logo of a man and a star on the album’s back cover was adopted by fans as a logo for Rush in general. It was developed by Hugh Syme. WK The star represented the evil federation in the “2112” piece and the man was the hero. Rush would feature the logo on some of their subsequent albums.
“Since the album is named after the suite it is sometimes described as a concept album. Technically it is not, as the songs on the second side are completely unrelated to the plot of the suite.” WK Among those are Tears and Lessons, written by Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson respectively. The former was “the first Rush song to feature an outside musician.” WK Syme, who also designed the album logo, contributed “a multi-tracked Mellotron string and flute part.” WK He would later do more keyboard work for the band.
Also on the second side were “the Middle Eastern-flavored A Passage to Bangkok and the album-closing rocker Something for Nothing.” GP Peart developed the idea for the latter from the phrase “Freedom isn’t free”, which he saw graffitied on a wall. WK
“2112 is widely considered by Rush fans as their first true ‘classic’ album, the first in a string of similarly high-quality albums.” GP