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Rush The Spirit Of Radio (Greatest Hits 1974-1987)  album cover
3.23 | 83 ratings | 13 reviews | 24% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 2003

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Working Man (7:11)
2. Fly by Night (3:22)
3. 2112 Overture / The Temples of Syrinx (6:45)
4. Closer to the Heart (2:53)
5. The Trees (4:42)
6. The Spirit of Radio (4:57)
7. Freewill (5:23)
8. Limelight (4:20)
9. Tom Sawyer (4:33)
10. Red Barchetta (6:10)
11. New World Man (3:43)
12. Subdivisions (5:34)
13. Distant Early Warning (4:58)
14. The Big Money (5:35)
15. Force Ten (4:32)
16. Time Stand Still (5:09)

Total Time: 79:47

Line-up / Musicians

- Geddy Lee / bass, guitar, guitar (bass), guitar (classical), keyboards, vocals
- Alex Lifeson / guitar, guitar (12 String), guitar (acoustic), guitar (electric)
- Neil Peart / drums, percussion

Releases information

CD Universal 063335

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
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RUSH The Spirit Of Radio (Greatest Hits 1974-1987) ratings distribution

(83 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(24%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(31%)
Good, but non-essential (31%)
Collectors/fans only (11%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

RUSH The Spirit Of Radio (Greatest Hits 1974-1987) reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by FloydWright
3 stars As a very new fan of Rush, I can't speak with the same authority as longtime fans; however, I do believe I can say that this compilation will make an excellent starter album for someone who has mainly heard their great radio hits such as "Freewill", "Spirit of Radio", and "Limelight". This CD covers their work up until 1986. There are no weak or bad tracks on here, so I believe it could stand well enough on its own and even make a good gift for the casual fan who doesn't plan to explore any further. I doubt that true fans would have any use for this compilation, though, as is usually the case with such albums. The slightly higher rating is for the benefit of those who may just want a sampling of what Rush can do.

What really amazes me about Rush is the variety in their work--think of the vast difference between the early tracks "Working Man" and "Fly By Night" and much later works like "Subdivisions" and "New World Man". This distinctiveness owes to the fact that all three members of the band: Geddy Lee (vocals, bass, synthesizers), Alex Lifeson (guitars), and Neil Peart (drums) are superbly talented with their instruments and never seem to falter. While I appreciate all three, it's Geddy Lee I have the greatest respect for; he truly makes the bass into a prominent and powerful instrument that can hold its own with everything else going on in their work. And what more can possibly be said about his unique voice? It may take some getting used to at first--but make no mistake: it will grow on you!

Another fairly strong point of Rush is the lyrics, which even if not always dealing with social subjects, don't resort too often to stupidity. They do social commentary quite well and with a healthy dose of sarcasm (what a critique of the music industry in "Limelight"!)--but without launching personal attacks on anybody, something which I find completely inappropriate in music. It's hard to be exactly sure what political affiliation they are by listening; their commentaries range from the environmentally aware "Distant Early Warning" (traditionally a leftist issue) to the surprisingly conservative "The Trees", which offers a biting retort to certain socialistic ideas. The only problem that Rush sometimes runs into lyrically is excessive pomposity. "Distant Early Warning" is the worst culprit that comes to mind (don't get me wrong, it's still quite listenable).

The only other gripe I had has to do with the "radio edit" of the long composition "The Temples of Syrinx" I don't know why another song couldn't have been selected in place of such a heavily edited song. While it's clear the music is quite good, I have never cared at all for attempts to put out gutted versions of "epic" prog numbers as singles. This reminds me of the choppiness of the recent edited version of "Echoes" on the Pink Floyd compilation of the same doesn't work out. Even though I have not yet heard the full 2112 version, from this sample I have the distinct feeling it's much stronger, and far less choppy, when the themes are allowed to develop as the band truly intended. However, overall I can't take away more than half a star for these two flaws; The Spirit of Radio is an undeniably fun compilation by a talented band that provides an excellent overview of their work up to 1986.

Review by Chris H
2 stars Yikes! Another Rush compilation!?!?!?!?! This is the fifth, yes I just said fifth, compilation of classic Rush songs and hits, and of these 5 they all pretty much contain different picks of the same 20-25 songs. "The Spirit Of Radio" is a very clear-cut "here are the radio smashes" collection. Every era of Rush is represented here, even if the Rutsey years have only one song to credit on this. The songs are ordered in chronological order, making it easier to see the different eras such as the Rutsey hard-rock era and the synth years in the early 80s. The sound quality is excellent as it should be with all compilations, but some of the song choices are very questionable. I am very displeased with "Red Barchetta", "The Big Money" and "Time Stand Still" being on here, as there are many other Rush classics that could have been added instead. Also, I am extremely upset that they knocked off almost 75% of "2112" just so it would be 'radio-friendly'. I you are going to cut and paste a song beyond original intentions, it's not even worth placing it on the compilation.

Overall, this is just a standard "let's take a big artist and make some cash off of them" compilation. This compilation can only get two stars from me however, as there are numerous songs that should not be included, some eras are barely represented and not even by their best songs and finally because of the extremely watered down version of "2112". After everything is said and done, it is just all too tailored for the radio for me. 2 stars, good starter but I much prefer getting the studio albums any day.

Review by Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Spirit of the radio friendly songs.

Another Rush compilation, this one not so in depth as the Retrospective series. Where Retrospective I and II decided to go gettum and split the two better known eras of Rush and put a disc between them, this is more of a best of of best ofs. This is a CD full of the radio friendly songs from the band -- all of the hits are there.

A good cd to start out on Rush with, this is definitely not for the prog-heads. Unlike Retrospective I none of Rush's longer endeavors are represented -- with the exception of an edit of 2112. This is really just for the people who like Rush's radio songs and nothing else. One of the perks to this album (although I haven't seen them for a long time) is that some of the cds also came with a DVD sampler of the Chronicals DVD which features a couple of Rush's videos as well as the lyrics for all the songs on the CD.

This is another good place to start, though not necessarily for the die-hard prog fan. But, if you like Rush's hits and nothing else then this is the cd to get. 2 stars.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Personally, I have never recommended my friends to by a compilation album of any progressive rock band because I am afraid that the compilation does not really represent the band. Rush' "The Spirit Of Radio (Greatest Hits 1974-1987)" was intended to introduce Rush into younger generation who had not had a chance to enjoy the music of Rush in a comprehensive manner with budget price. It's okay, actually, but again .. I am afraid that it lost the great tracks that the new listener should know. One thing for sure is "La Villa Strangiato" that represents great composition by Rush but it's not featured here. Another track that misses also is "Yyz" from Moving Pictures album. There are many other tracks like "Natural Science", "The Enemy Within", "Cygnus" among others.

But again, as this is intended for newbie, the listeners may have the picture of Rush music in brief, in one CD package. They can see how the band started their career with something heavily influenced by Led Zeppelin with tracks like "Working Man" and "Fly By Night". The band then evolved into something a bit progressive in "2112" even though Zeppelin influence is still there. Under "The Spirit of Radio" the band had totally moved their direction into something truly progressive while maintaining its heavy side. Starting with track 11 "New World Man" there was change in their style followed with totally different vein under "Subdivisons" onwards.

It's not a bad compilation at all, but I'd rather recommend newbie to buy individual album, starting with "A Farewell to Kings" or "Hemisphere" or "Permanent waves" or "Moving Pictures". Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW (i-Rock! Music Community)

Review by Epignosis
3 stars As I've mentioned before, good compilations for bands with expansive careers are something of a necessary evil. They offer a bargain in terms of popular hits as well as a representative sample of the band's career, but unfortunately deracinate all those tracks from their contexts. Record labels make money, people get what they want, and everybody is happy. The catch-22 is that compilations of mainstream progressive rock bands will almost always miss the mark with their hardcore fans and merely placate casual fans. While the creators had the good sense to fill up the CD with music, they sacrificed many amazing pieces for the sake of being comprehensive. However, the product lives up to its name, and it delivers the goods; it's just that there is so much more "available light" out there, and no constrictive item such as this will please anyone who knows the music of Rush even half was well I do. For those wanting a decent sampling of Rush's career, this isn't a bad deal, but I would recommend a studio album instead- almost any studio album, in fact, to this. With so many gems cut out in creating this one, there won't be much to be satisfied about, and certainly won't be much that cannot be heard on the radio (or its spirit, whatever the case).
Review by Conor Fynes
3 stars 'The Spirit Of Radio (Greatest Hits 1974-1987)' - Rush (Compilation)

I'm actually surprised that a good compilation for Rush comprising such a vast span of their career has been made. Usually, there is a huge concentration on getting as many two-minute songs on a compilation as a disc can hold, but while none of the more progressive tracks like 'Xanadu' are featured here that should be, the songs that have been chosen are good; there isn't wasted track time here. Starting with a couple of rocking tracks from their debut, the compilation essentially takes the listener on a brief journey through the course of over 10 years of good music. The artwork is a bit strange (what is that dalmatian doing behind the radio, we'll never know) but functional and professional enough.

The 'Retrospective' era-focused records aside, this is about as good a single 'best-of' record as you're going to get from Rush. Of course, there's no point for someone who is a fan to buy these; but potential new fans should keep an eye out.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Ugh...another one? Rush have, up to this point, released FOUR compilation CD's, not to mention the Mercury-Universal release "GOLD". That makes FIVE comps. They're all of varying quality, both in recording, production and presentation. "Chronicles" is, by far, the strongest of the lot. Tha ... (read more)

Report this review (#80020) | Posted by sbrushfan | Thursday, June 1, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Absolutely a fantastic greatest hits compilation! My friends had said that Rush is a prog rock band, that you should try listening to. They played songs like Tom Sawyer, Freewill and The Trees for me, and I was stunned. The personal voice (and bass sound!) of Geddy Lee, the mindblowing drumm ... (read more)

Report this review (#79882) | Posted by aksu | Wednesday, May 31, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars If you are a new rush fan, buy this album, there is essentially nothing missing from this albbum except for two lesser known great tracks "Xandu" and the instrumental "Villa Strangiato". There isn't much to say about htis album except that it encopasses every form of Rush's music and is proba ... (read more)

Report this review (#78372) | Posted by echoes2112 | Tuesday, May 16, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I like this cd a lot. This contains nearly all the classics but wheres YYZ. From 2112 to Moving Pictures is my favourite era and this cd covers it well. My Favourites include "The Tree", "Tom Sawyer", "Closer to the Heart" and "Freewill" but all of them are classics, a must have for die hard a ... (read more)

Report this review (#21159) | Posted by PROGMAN | Tuesday, May 3, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I have been a Rush fan for only 2 years and I must say that behind purchasing 2112 first, then Exit...Stage Left, I got this album and I listen to it everyday on my bus ride to school. I feel this sums up how great Rush's music really is. This is an MUST for any new Rush fans to really see w ... (read more)

Report this review (#21157) | Posted by | Friday, February 4, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This collection represents probably the best loved period in Rush's history. Many fans will have started listening to Rush during this period but maybe tailed off in the late 80s if not the 90s. The fast that they sell fewer records/CDs now bears this out. Of course most long-term fans will ha ... (read more)

Report this review (#21155) | Posted by | Thursday, September 2, 2004 | Review Permanlink

3 stars All good songs, but since they are mostly songs that are overplayed, you might get sick of them. Not to mention you could probably just listen to them on the radio instead of buying this album. I don't know. Kind of seems like a lame idea for rush. It just makes it look like anthem wants sales ... (read more)

Report this review (#21154) | Posted by | Sunday, August 22, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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