Fancy Dancer: Background

This piece is among the handful that Rush played during its Toronto bar days in the early 1970s before Neil replaced John Rutsey on drums. Others of the period include “Garden Road,” “You Can’t Fight It,” and some cover tunes, including Larry Williams’ “Bad Boy,” best known for the version recorded by The Beatles.

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

Lyrically, “Fancy Dancer” is along the same lines as the pieces that were eventually recorded for the band’s debut album. The piece talks about a love gone bad. “The woman was all to me / Yeah, she left me feeling misery.”

The piece starts out with thumping drum and guitar. Geddy sings the blues in his highest register. Alex has called this and other songs of the period riffy songs that don’t survive the test of time. But you do hear indications of where they ended up going on their debut album and on Fly by Night.

More about “Fancy Dancer”

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~ by rvkeeper on August 10, 2011.

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