Alex Lifeson Admits Recording Some Rush Songs Knowing They’d Never Play Them Live

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Alex Lifeson recently joined Larry LaLonde and Les Claypool to answer some questions about their 1977 album ‘A Farewell to Kings’ and talked about recording songs. The guitarist admitted they created some tracks, knowing they would not play them live.

After their formation in 1968, Rush quickly became a power trio with the lineup consisting of Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and Neil Peart. The band stopped touring in 2018 because of Peart’s health problems. Unfortunately, the drummer passed away in 2020 from an aggressive brain tumor, and the chances of performing together again became impossible.

Rush released ‘A Farewell to Kings’ in 1977, and it was a follow-up album after they peaked with ‘2112’ in 1976. However, to their fans’ surprise, they never performed the entire album live, and that’s because the band knew that there would be songs in each album they would never play live.

In a recent conversation, a question addressed to Lifeson was if they had ever performed ‘A Farewell to Kings’ entirely, and the guitarist stated that they did some of the songs. It was mentioned that Geddy Lee had previously revealed that they hadn’t played ‘Madrigal.’ 

Lifeson agreed by stating that they never performed ‘Madrigal’ live, and the song ‘Different Strings’ from their 1980 album ‘Permanent Waves’ was another one they never performed during performances. According to the guitarist, Rush created some songs with the awareness of not playing them for the audience in the future.

When asked if Rush ever played ‘A Farewell to Kings’ in its entirety, Lifeson replied:

“I would guess so. I mean, we did some of the songs.”

Les said:

I asked Geddy about this. I looked this up because I have that big giant book of all the set lists. You know the one, right?”

Alex agreed:

“Yeah, yeah.”

Les continued:

“It’s got everything; how much you guys got paid. The ticket prices are amazing. I asked Geddy if you guys ever did ‘Madrigal’ live, and he said no. I’ve never seen it on a set list.”

Lifeson talked about having songs they won’t play live by saying:

“No. No, there was always one or maybe two songs we would record, knowing we would never play them live. That was certainly one of those songs. ‘Different Strings’ was another.”

Some musicians create songs one hundred percent fit for live playing, and others choose to compose even though they might not be appropriate for playing live. These two songs mentioned by Lifeson were romantic ballads and were sensitive, which could have been why they never decided to play live.

You can listen to ‘Different Strings’ and ‘Madrigal’ below.