Rush Series 2: The 1990s – Retrospective I: 1974-1980 (1997)

1997. The year tragedy struck for Neil Peart, twice. We know the stories, no need to rehash it here. But the band had already released this compilation (and the next) only two months and one month (respectively) before things hit a standstill for Peart.

And what of this compilation? It’s 14 tracks of awesome, of course. The problem, of course, is trying to get all the best tracks from 1974-1980 onto one CD. Whomever had that job had to know it was an exercise in futility. So, what do we get?

The Spirit Of Radio
The Trees
Something For Nothing
Freewill
Xanadu
Bastille Day
By-Tor And The Snow Dog
Anthem
Closer To The Heart
2112 Overture
The Temples Of Syrinx
La Villa Strangiato
Fly By Night
Finding My Way

Like I said, 14 tracks of awesome. But there’s a ton missing. I could list them all, but really, if you’re reading this on this blog, you’ve been here for this whole series and you already know which glaring omissions have been made according to your own tastes.

Admittedly, this was somewhat a superfluous purchase if you already owned Chronicles (and Retrospective II may well have been too, but I’ll get to that one tomorrow). But the only songs here (from roughly the same period) that CD1 of Chronicles didn’t have are Something For Nothing and Xanadu (oh man I love this song). NB: [On Retrospective I, 2112 is the Overture followed by Syrinx as two seperate tracks. On Chronicles, it’s the Overture and Temples Of Syrinx together as one track]. Then again, Chronicles also had A Farewell To Kings, What You’re Doing (live), Lakeside Park, and Working Man.

It’d be easy to say Retrospective I should have been a 2CD set. You could easily make 2 CDs from Rush’s career 1974-1980. Seriously, from Rush to Permanent Waves? Easily 2 CDs. Maybe even 3 CDs. But by that point, I would argue that you should just go get the albums. I’ve heard them all now and, really, there’s very little that should have been left off, so owning the albums solves all of those little nit-picky problems. Own it all! Problem solved!

Still, I’m glad I got this because 1) it sounds great, 2) all of these songs are fucking awesome, and 3) it’s an interesting mix, different from Chronicles which I have probably played to death at this point and will keep on playing it because it rules. It’s nice to change it up a bit.

But yeah, it’s fun to have this set here. If you see it cheap, it’s still worth it to check it out, to see what you think of this running order.

10 thoughts on “Rush Series 2: The 1990s – Retrospective I: 1974-1980 (1997)

  1. KamerTunesBlog (by Rich Kamerman) says:

    I skipped these because I already had all the albums and couldn’t imagine listening to the songs out of their original context (although I did own Chronicles because I got a free copy from a friend when it was released). If I already own an artist’s catalog I will only buy a compilation if it includes something extra worth owning. Of course, these comps weren’t aimed at fans like me, and for the newcomer it’s hard to fault any of the choices. There will always be great songs omitted but that’s usually by design…so the new fans will have to buy the individual albums, of course.

    I didn’t splurge for the remasters at the time, as I was content with my mediocre original ’80s-pressed CDs (and I still had most of my original vinyl copies that I bought in the early-’80s), which made the recent Sector & Atlantic Years box sets a no-brainer upgrade for me.

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    1. keepsmealive says:

      Vote #3 for skipping these! Good point on leaving tracks off to entice people to go buy more. For fans who have all the records, it’d be easy to say ‘hey, where’s this or that song!’ but thinking of it as a calculated move is wise.

      I’m glad you’re happy with the upgrades. RUSH!!

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  2. mikeladano says:

    I don’t have much to add here because I skipped these releases. These were done to promote and coincide with the first batch of Rush remasters. I bought the remasters instead rather than these.

    I BELIEVE but don’t know for sure that the compilation Rush Gold is these two CDs in one set.

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    1. keepsmealive says:

      Yeah they seemed superfluous but I got them cheap. Also, I’m all for a different mix, just to change things up. 😉

      Gold is a little different from these Retrospectives:

      CD1 of Gold has all of the tracks from Retrospective I, in pretty much the same order, except it takes out Something For Nothing and tacks Working Man onto the end instead.

      CD2 of Gold is identical to Retrospective II (which I will get to tomorrow) except that on Gold Analog Kid is listed as the Complete Version.

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      1. mikeladano says:

        Interesting! So the true Rush completist would probably want BOTH Retrospectives and Gold too, just for the minor differences. I don’t know why that version of Analog Kid is “complete”. Anybody?

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      2. keepsmealive says:

        Well, maybe, but the true Rush completist would already have all the albums so these comps would be moot… as at least three people have already agreed (saying they skipped them).

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