Garden Road: Background

The piece has a simple hard-rock structure and vaguely alludes to finding happiness with an early love.

“Garden Road was last performed less than a month after Neil joined the band. In the 1988 “Rush Backstage Club Newsletter,” when asked why “Fancy Dancer” and “Garden Road” were never officially released, Neil replied, “Two original songs written before I joined the band? Well, why do you think we never recorded them?”—

At the bars (Larry’s Hideaway, The Piccadilly Tube, Colonial Tavern, Abbey Road), the band started “to build a loyal following of older fans and some even started to request individual songs like ‘Fancy Dancer’ and ‘Garden Road,’ both bar-room favorites never released on record. . . . Geddy was playing a Fender bass with two Sunn twin 15-inch cabinets, Alex used two Marshall four-by-twelve cabinets, with a 50-watt head and a makeshift pedal board incorporating a phaser, echoplex and crybaby wah-wah. John would bash away on his blue Gretsch drum kit: two bass drums, two tom toms, two floor toms and a snare.”—Bill Banasiewicz, Rush Visions

“‘Garden Road’ and ‘Fancy Dancer’ . . . never made the grade. ‘Yeah, they were sort of riffy songs,’ says Alex, ‘very repetitive, mostly 12-bar sorts of things. They wouldn’t have survived the test of time, I don’t think.'”—Martin Popoff, Contents Under Pressure

“Most of the material on the first album had existed for five years. The band had played it around bars and high schools in Ontario.”—Neil in Circus Magazine (1976), quoted in Merely Players

“September 1970. At shows, the band plays original songs like ‘Number One,’ ‘Keep in Line,’ ‘Run Willie Run,’ ‘Mike’s Idea,’ and ‘Tale,’ along with hits from heavy blues rock bands like Cream, Led Zeppelin, and The Who. They also debuted additional songs like ‘Sing Guitar,’ ‘Morning Star,’ ‘Marguerite,’ ‘Feel So Good,’ ‘Love Light,’ and ‘Garden Road.’—Robert Telleria, Merely Players

Tapes of “Garden Road” and other early pieces might still be around. Alex in a late 2008 Modern Guitar interview with Skip Daly said he found a box in his home studio that might contain tapes of the band’s earliest pieces: “I was cleaning up the back room [of my home studio] and I just found a case that was way up on the top shelf, and at the bottom of this box were a bunch of reel-to-reel, unlisted, unmarked, recordings . . . and I can only imagine that they’re pre-’74. So, they would probably be from between ’70 and ’73 . . . recordings from that period. So, they would probably have songs like ‘Run Willie Run’ and ‘Slaughterhouse’ and ‘Garden Road,’ and all of those early songs that we wrote and played during our bar days.”—

More about “Garden Road”

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~ by rvkeeper on January 11, 2011.

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