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A Farewell to Kings
Album by Rush
Released September 1, 1977
Recorded June 1977 at Rockfield Studios in South Wales, UK
Genre Prog-Rock
Length 37:37
Label Mercury Records
Producer Rush and Terry Brown
Professional reviews
Rush chronology
All the World's a Stage
A Farewell to Kings

A Farewell to Kings is the fifth studio album by Canadian rock band Rush, released in 1977. The album was recorded at Rockfield Studios in Wales, and mixed at Advision Studios in London.

A Farewell to Kings would become Rush's first US Gold-selling album, receiving the certification within two months of its release and was eventually certified Platinum.

Geddy Lee played his bass lines on acoustic bass while writing them and also came up with guitar lines. The birds heard on "A Farewell to Kings" and "Xanadu" were recorded outside near Rockfield Studios.

In the Q & Mojo Classic Special Edition Pink Floyd & The Story of Prog Rock, the album came #6 in its list of "40 Cosmic Rock Albums".

Track listing[]

All songs written by Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart except where noted.

  1. "A Farewell to Kings" - 5:51
  2. "Xanadu" - 11:08
  3. "Closer to the Heart" (Lee, Lifeson, Peart, Peter Talbot) - 2:53
  4. "Cinderella Man" (Lee/Lifeson) - 4:21
  5. "Madrigal" - 2:35
  6. "Cygnus X-1 (Book I - The Voyage)" - 10:25

Song information[]

"A Farewell to Kings"[]

The name of the album itself may be derivative of Ernest Hemingway's classic novel A Farewell to Arms.


The lyrics for the epic "Xanadu" were inspired by the 56-line poem "Kubla Khan", written circa 1797 by British poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Lee, Lifeson and Peart worked overtime on this track, each utilizing a number of instruments to affect the performance. "Xanadu" also marks a rare occurrence of Geddy Lee on rhythm guitar (live, Lifeson and Lee both wore doubleneck guitars to accommodate the orchestration). Other tracks with Lee on guitar include "A Passage to Bangkok" and "Resist" (live).

"Closer to the Heart"[]

"Closer to the Heart" is one of Rush's most popular songs, seeing a fair bit of radio airplay during a time when the band was in the middle of its 'epic song' days. After a couple of near-misses earlier in the decade with "Fly By Night" and "Bastille Day", "Closer to the Heart" finally landed them their first hit single in the United Kingdom, reaching #36 in the UK Singles Chart in February 1978. The acoustic guitar intro was written by Geddy Lee. Peter Talbot, a friend of the band (who is also mentioned in the credits for All the World's a Stage) wrote the lyrics and Neil Peart wrote the sheet music. The song has been part of the set list on nearly every tour since 1977. The band dropped "Closer To The Heart" for the bulk of their recent tours in support of Vapor Trails and their 30th Anniversary because, according to Peart, "we got sick of it."

"Cygnus X-1"[]

The final track is another epic about a fictional space voyage to "Cygnus X-1". Inspiration for the story within the song was found in the observation of an X-ray source in the constellation Cygnus. Considered to be one of the most likely black hole candidates in the universe, Cygnus X-1 was discovered in the early 1970s by Canadian scientist Tom Bolton, using the facilities of the David Dunlap Observatory at the University of Toronto. The theme of the track would be continued in "Cygnus X-1 Book II: Hemispheres", the lead and title track of Rush's next album, Hemispheres.

Like "The Necromancer" (and the end of Caress of Steel), "Cygnus X-1" has an added synthesized voice at the beginning of the song.

Other Tracks[]

The lyrics of "Cinderella Man" are based on the Frank Capra film Mr. Deeds Goes to Town. It is also notable as one of the few Rush songs for which Geddy Lee wrote all of the lyrics after Peart's entry into the band.

"Madrigal" is one of the band's softest songs of this time period. It is also one of Rush's shortest songs at 2:35. The only other Rush songs that are shorter are "Broon's Bane", "Need Some Love" (2:19), "Malignant Narcissism" (2:17), and "Hope" (2:02).


  • Geddy Lee - Bass guitar, twelve string guitar, Mini-moog and bass pedal synthesizers, vocals
  • Alex Lifeson - Six and twelve string electric guitar, six and twelve string acoustic guitar, classical guitar, bass pedal synthesizer
  • Neil Peart - Drums, cymbals, cowbells, orchestra bells, wind chimes, triangle, bell tree, vibra-slap, tubular bells, temple blocks



  • Pat Moran and Terry Brown (Broon) - Engineer
  • Terry Brown - Mixing engineer
  • Declan (not Norman!) O'Doherty and Ken Thomas - Mixing engineer assistant
    • Mixed at Advision Studios, London, England
  • Hugh Syme - Art direction and graphics
  • Yosh Inouye - Cover photography
  • Roger Stowell - Sleeve photographer
  • Fin Costello - Liner photographer
  • Bob King - Design assistant
  • George Graves - Mastering
    • Mastered at JAMF, Toronto, Ontario
  • Bob Ludwig and Brian Lee - Remastering
    • Remastered at Gateway Mastering Studios, Portland, Maine
  • Ray Danniels - Management
    • SRO Management, Inc., Toronto, Ontario
  • Howard (Herns) Ungerleider - Roadmaster and stage lighting director
    • Concert Lighting by See Factor
  • (Major) Ian Grandy - Concert sound engineer and effects consultant
    • Concert Sound by National Sound and Electrosound
  • Liam (Elfbjörn) Birt - Stage right technician
  • Skip (Slider) Gildersleeve - Stage left technician
  • Larry (The Saint) Allen - Center stage technician
  • Mike (Lurch) Hurch - Stage manager
  • (Ms.) Jorge Hoadley - Chauffeur
  • National Sound and Crew, See Factor Lighting and Crew (U.K. too!), Electrosound U.K. and Crew, Graham the Coach Driver, Alans Moore and Kearsley, all at
    Rockfield and Pat (Duffo) Moran, (Farewell to Kingsley), Max Websters' Dancing and Crew, The Cult and Crew, Fabrissio, The Percussion Centre, Tony (Old School Thai) Kelly, (Continental) Tom Berry (all our friends in the U.K. (and everywhere!), we remember Brooklyn) - Thanks
  • Nancy Young, Charlene Zivojinovich, and Jacqueline Peart - Dedication
  • Gibson Guitars, Rickenbacker Guitars, and Slingerland Drums - Personal help and consideration.

  • Executive Production by Moon Records
  • A special thank you to Dirk, Lerxst, and Pratt.


Country Chart Position Date
U.S. Top LPs & Tapes (Billboard 200) 33 October 29, 1977
U.K. Albums 22 October 8, 1977
Canada RPM 100 Top Albums 12 January 28, 1978
Sweden Albums Top 60 41 September 23, 1977


Country Organization Sales Date
U.S. RIAA Gold (500,000) November 16, 1977
U.S. RIAA Platinum (1,000,000) December 1, 1993
U.K. BPI Silver (100,000) March 30, 1979
U.K. BPI Gold (300,000) May 26, 1982
Canada CRIA Gold (50,000) September 1, 1977
Canada CRIA Platinum (100,000) February 1, 1978


A remaster was issued in May 6, 1997.

  • The tray has a picture of the star with man painting (mirroring the cover art of Retrospective I) with "The Rush Remasters" printed in all capital letters just to the left. All remasters from Rush through Permanent Waves are like this.
  • The remaster has all of the original vinyl packaging, including the back cover (all black with puppet strings) and inner sleeve photos of the band on stage. The star with man logo was reinstated after its absence on the original CD issue.

Compact Disc[]

Country Label Catalog Year
United States Mercury 822 546-2 1987
United States Mercury P2-22546
United States Mercury P2-34628
United States Mercury 314 534 628-2 1997
United States Mercury D-118703
United States Mercury D-102056
Canada Anthem


Canada Anthem ANK-1010
Canada Anthem WANK-1010
Canada Anthem ANMD-1010
Canada Anthem ANC-1-1010
Canada Anthem ANC-1079
Canada Anthem D-108205
Canada Anthem 743252T
Brazil Mercury 822 546-2
Brazil Mercury 534 628-2
Germany Mercury 534 628-2 1997
Germany Mercury 822 546-2 1987
Japan Epic/Sony 25-8P-5167 1988
Japan Atlantic AMCY-319 1991
Japan Atlantic AMCY-2293 1997
Japan Atlantic WPCR-13476 2009
Russia RHCD-04000209
United Kingdom Mercury 534 628-2 1997


Country Label Catalog Year
United States Mercury SRM-1-1184
United States Mercury R-131992 1977
Canada Anthem ANR-1-1010 1977
Netherlands Mercury 6338 834 1977
Japan Mercury RJ-7285 1977
Japan Epic/Sony 25-3P-268 1981
Scandinavia Mercury 6338 834 1977
United Kingdom Mercury 9100-042 1977

Cassette Tape[]

Country Label Catalog Year
United States Mercury 822-546-4 1977
Canada Anthem 4AN 1-1010


Country Label Catalog Year
Canada Anthem 8AN 4-1010


"Closer to the Heart"
  • Released:
  • Written by: Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, Neil Peart & Peter Talbot
  • Produced by: Rush and Terry Brown
  • Chart positions: #76 US Hot 100, #36 UK
"Cinderella Man"
  • Released: (Canada)
  • Written by: Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson & Neil Peart
  • Produced by: Rush and Terry Brown
  • Chart positions: