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
Something For Nothing
By-Tor And The Snow Dog
Closer To The Heart
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.