Nobody’s Hero

Background and Commentary

“It’s very strong lyrically, about the death of two people, and our perception of heroic ideals. We seem to care for these people who appear to us on screen and in books, and yet we don’t know much about them apart from this fake image we idolize. Yet we live amongst people who live heroic but quieter lives, and we dont pay much attention to them until they are gone. It is a tragic song, but we try to leave it with an uplifting feeling of hope.” (Radio Special)—Neil in Merely Players

“I had a lot of reflections over the last couple of years about the nature of heroism, what a ‘role model’ is supposed to be, and the differences between the two. That thought manifested itself in the song. A role model is obviously a very positive example of what can be accomplished, and it’s what I think, with all humility and pride, Rush has been a good role model for other bands.” (Modern Drummer, 1994)—Neil in Songfacts

“If people think that discussing homosexuality is controversial, then they’ve been living under a rock. ‘Nobody’s Hero’ will probably polarize people, even though the AIDS issue is only a small part of the lyrical theme, and people will probably jump to conclusions. That’s their problem. I don’t worry about it, whether it’s brave or foolish or whatever. When things affect you, you talk about them and it comes out in your music. You let it fly. I never had the slightest idea that it could be interpreted as controversial until someone pointed it out to me after we’d finished the record. I guess I’ve always worked in the music business, which is very tolerant environment.” (Raw, 1993)—Neil in Merely Players

“The boy in this song is a old friend of Neil’s that he met while in London in 1971. He used to work with him. Then years later he heard that his friend had died.”—Songfacts

Lyrics

I knew he was different in his sexuality
I went to his parties as a straight minority
It never seemed a threat to my masculinity
He only introduced me to a wider reality
As the years went by, we drifted apart
When I heard that he was gone
I felt a shadow cross my heart

But he’s nobody’s hero
Saves a drowning child
Cures a wasting disease
Hero, lands the crippled airplane
Solves great mysteries
Hero, not the handsome actor
Who plays a hero’s role
Hero, not the glamour girl
Who’d love to sell her soul
If anybody’s buying
Nobody’s hero

I didn’t know the girl, but I knew her family
All their lives were shattered in a nightmare of brutality
They try to carry on, try to bear the agony
Try to hold some faith in the goodness of humanity
As the years went by, we drifted apart
When I heard that she was gone
I felt a shadow cross my heart

But she’s nobody’s hero
Is the voice of reason against the howling mob
Hero, is the pride of purpose
In the unrewarding job
Hero, not the champion player
Who plays the perfect game
Hero, not the glamour boy
Who loves to sell his name
Everybody’s buying
Nobody’s hero

As the years went by, we drifted apart
When I heard that you were gone
I felt a shadow cross my heart

But he’s nobody’s hero
Saves a drowning child
Cures a wasting disease
Hero, lands the crippled airplane
Solves great mysteries
Hero, not the handsome actor
Who plays a hero’s role
Hero, not the glamour girl
Who’d love to sell her soul
If anybody’s buying
Nobody’s hero

Hero

Tablature

By Tony Zimmermann

Excerpted from Fretplay.

A brief note on chords. There are 3 chord namings which I should explain.

1) The suspended seconds (sus2). People with some chord theory should know
this, but for the less informed, its always root 5th barre chord with the
2nd string “open”. So a Csus2 is played like:
E|-3- For the Bbsus2 just move down the fret board. The Ebsus2 is played
B|-3- differently. See below.
G|-5-
D|-5-
A|-3-
E|—

2) The Ebsus2. This has a very low sound to it, so I think Alex fingers it
like so:
E|-1-
B|-4-
G|-3-
D|-1-
A|-1-
E|—

3) The Gm/A. Now I *know* this is the wrong name for the chord, but I have
absolutely no idea what its proper name is. My handy-dandy book of 7,488
guitar chords doesn’t seem to have it. Anyway, I finger it like this:
E|-3- If this looks kinda wacko, there is precedent for it. Alex plays
B|-3- the same chord in _Lock and Key_. Check the video if you don’t
G|-3- believe me πŸ™‚
D|-5-
A|-3-
E|-5-

The “Gm/A” chord may not sound quite right when you play it, but that’s
probably because Alex uses a “Nashville tuning” technique for his guitar.
I’m not terribly familiar with this method, but I believe it involves
replacing the low, heavy, E, A, D strings with lighter guage ones so they
are tuned up to the same octave as the higher strings. So when you listen
to the cd at the “Gm Gm/A” change, it actually sounds like the change in
fingering is occuring on the higher stirings, but I don’t think it is. It
sounds to me like the E, B, and G strings are unchanged through that chord
change. But anyway, if you think you have a better idea than that by all
means correct me.

As far as the two solos go, I haven’t had time to figure them out, so they
aren’t included. Chords only. Sorry.

Strumming is pretty much the key to this tune. There is no way I can
effectively transcribe the strumming pattern here but if you listen to the
cd and get a feel for the rhythm and where the chord changes occur, you
should be able to get pretty close to the original.

Warning: Playing this song on an acoustic with a thick neck may cause
severe cramping of the left hand (it did for me anyways – but then maybe its
just me; I get the same thing playing Distant Early Warning). πŸ™‚

So, on with our show.

intro:
Gm F Bbsus2 Csus2
Gm Gm/A F

verse 1:
Gm F Bbsus2
I knew he was different …
Gm Gm/A F
I went to his parties as the …
Gm F Bbsus2
He never seemed a threat to …
Gm Gm/A F
He only introduced me to …

Ebsus2

Gm F Bbsus2
As the years went by we …
Gm Gm/A Dm Csus2 Bbsus2
When I heard that he …

chorus1:
Dm
But he’s ….
Csus2
– Saves a ….
Am G
– Cures a …

F
Hero
Am < — I hear a Dm here… Z.
– Lands a crippled …
Csus2 G
– Solves …

Dm
Hero

For complete tab, go to Fretplay.

Tutorials

“Nobody’s Hero” guitar cover

“Nobody’s Hero” drum cover

Back to Rush Vault

Advertisements

~ by rvkeeper on February 13, 2011.

 
%d bloggers like this: