Rush – Tom Sawyer

Rush – Tom Sawyer

‘Tom Sawyer’ is a song by Canadian rock band Rush, originally released on their 1981 album Moving Pictures as its opener. The band's lead singer, bassist, and keyboardist, Geddy Lee, has referred to the track as the band's "defining piece ... from the early '80s". It is one of Rush's best-known songs and a staple of both classic rock radio and Rush's live performances, having been played on every concert tour since its release.

The song was written by Geddy Lee, drummer Neil Peart, and guitarist Alex Lifeson in collaboration with lyricist Pye Dubois of the band Max Webster. ‘Tom Sawyer’ came about during a summer rehearsal vacation that Rush spent at Ronnie Hawkins' farm outside Toronto. Peart was presented with a poem by Dubois named "Louis the Lawyer" (often incorrectly cited as "Louis the Warrior") that he modified and expanded. Lee and Lifeson then helped set the poem to music.

In the December 1985 Rush Backstage Club newsletter, drummer and lyricist Neil Peart said: “Tom Sawyer is a real trademark song for us,” says Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson. “Musically it’s very powerful, and lyrically it has a spirit that resonates with a lot of people. It’s kind of an anthem.”

The song peaked at number 24 in Canada, number 44 on the US Billboard Hot 100, and number eight on the Billboard Top Tracks chart. The studio version of ‘Tom Sawyer’, despite its popularity, did not see a single-release in other territories. In the UK, "Vital Signs" was chosen as the single from Moving Pictures. The live version of "Tom Sawyer" from Exit...Stage Left peaked at number 25 on the UK Singles Chart in October 1981.

Rush Band Pic

‘Tom Sawyer’ is one of the most played songs on classic rock radio in the United States, is the most played Canadian song from before 1988 by Canadian rock radio stations during the Neilson BDS Era (which started in 1995), and is the fifth most downloaded Canadian digital song from the 1980s. In 2009, it placed 19th on VH1's list of 100 Greatest Songs of Hard Rock. ‘Tom Sawyer’ was one of five Rush songs inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame on March 28, 2010.

Label – Mercury
Songwriters – Rush, Pye Dubois
Producers – Rush, Terry Brown

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A modern-day warrior
Mean, mean stride
Today's Tom Sawyer
Mean, mean pride
[Verse 1]
Though his mind is not for rent
Don't put him down as arrogant
His reserve a quiet defense
Riding out the day's events
The river
What you say about his company
Is what you say about society
Catch the mist
Catch the myth
Catch the mystery
Catch the drift
The world is, the world is
Love and life are deep
Maybe as his skies are wide
Today's Tom Sawyer, he gets high on you
And the space he invades, he gets by on you
[Verse 2]
No, his mind is not for rent
To any god or government
Always hopeful, yet discontent
He knows changes aren't permanent
But change is
And what you say about his company
Is what you say about society
Catch the witness
Catch the wit
Catch the spirit
Catch the spit
The world is, the world is
Love and life are deep
Maybe as his eyes are wide
Exit the warrior
Today's Tom Sawyer
He gets high on you
And the energy you trade
He gets right on to
The friction of the day
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