October 28, 1978



classic prog rock


“One of Rush’s greatest releases.” – Greg Prato, All Music Guide

Album Tracks:

  1. Cygnus X-1 Book II: Hemispheres [18:08]
    i. Prelude
    ii. Apollo: Bringer of Wisdom
    iii. Dionysus: Bringer Love
    iv. Armageddon: The Battle of Heart and Mind
    v> Cygnus: Bringer of Balance
    vi. The Sphere: A Kind of Dream
  2. Circumstances [3:42]
  3. The Trees [4:46]
  4. La Villa Strangiato [9:35]

Sales (in millions):




Singles/Hit Songs:

  • The Trees (1978) –
  • Circumstances (1978) --





“While such albums as 1980’s Permanent Waves and 1981’s Moving Pictures are usually considered Rush’s masterpieces (and with good reason), 1978’s Hemispheres is just as deserving. Maybe the fact that the album consists of only four compositions (half are lengthy pieces) was a bit too intimidating for some, but the near 20-minute-long Cygnus X-1 Book II – Hemispheres is arguably the band’s finest extended track.” GP

The song not only continued Rush’s trend of fantasy and science fiction-themed lyrics, but it even continued a song from the previous album, A Farewell to Kings. That album introduced the ten-minute piece “Cygnus X-1 Book I: The Voyage”. This album’s book II continues the journey. “While the story line isn’t as comprehensible as ‘2112’ was, it’s much more consistent musically, twisting and turning through five different sections which contrast heavy rock sections against more sedate pieces.” GP

“Neil Peart had become one of rock’s most accomplished lyricists by this point, as evidenced by The Trees, which deals with racism and inequality in a unique way (set in a forest!).” GP

“And as always, the trio prove to be experts at their instruments, this time on the complex instrumental La Villa Strangiato. Geddy Lee’s shrieking vocals on the otherwise solid Circumstances may border on the irritating, but Hemispheres remains one of Rush’s greatest releases.” GP

Review Source(s):

The Trees (live video)

Related DMDB Link(s):

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Last updated July 1, 2011.