The Pass


About The Pass

"The Pass" is the second single from Rush's 1989 album Presto. The lyrics by drummer Neil Peart address teenage suicide and the tendency to romanticize it. The song peaked at No. 15 on the U. S. Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, and a music video was made for the song. The line "All of us get lost in the darkness/Dreamers learn to steer by the stars/All of us do time in the gutter/Dreamers turn to look at the cars" alludes to Oscar Wilde's "We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars" from his play Lady Windermere's Fan. On the Rush in Rio DVD (2003), bassist/vocalist Geddy Lee introduces the song to the audience by saying it is one of the band's favourites. On the same DVD, in the documentary "The Boys in Brazil", Peart says he always gets emotional while playing the song, "not only for what it expresses explicitly lyrically, but because it is one of our better crafted ones." A cover version was made by Brazilian band Fleesh in 2016. 


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Proud swagger out of the schoolyard
Waiting for the world's applause
Rebel without a conscience
Martyr without a cause 

Static on your frequency
Electrical storm in your veins
Raging at unreachable glory
Straining at invisible chains 

And now you're trembling on a rocky ledge
Staring down into a heartless sea
Can't face life on a razor's edge
Nothings what you thought it would be 

All of us get lost in the darkness
Dreamers learn to steer by the stars
All of us do time in the gutter
Dreamers turn to look at the cars
Turn around and turn around and turn around
Turn around and walk the razor's edge
Don't turn your back
And slam the door on me 

It's not as if this barricade
Blocks the only road
It's not as if you're all alone
In wanting to explode 

Someone set a bad example
Made surrender seem all right
The act of a noble warrior
Who lost the will to fight 

And now you're trembling on a rocky ledge
Staring down into a heartless sea
Done with life on a razor's edge
Nothings what you thought it would be 

No hero in your tragedy
No daring in your escape
No salutes for your surrender
Nothing noble in your fate
Christ, what have you done?

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Rush is a Canadian rock band formed in August 1968, in the Willowdale neighbourhood of Toronto, Ontario. The band is composed of bassist, keyboardist, and lead vocalist Geddy Lee, guitarist and backing vocalist Alex Lifeson, and drummer, percussionist and lyricist Neil Peart. The band and its membership went through a number of re-configurations between 1968 and 1974, achieving their iconic lineup when Peart replaced original drummer John Rutsey in July 1974, two weeks before the group's first United States tour. Rutsey's departure stemmed primarily from health concerns regarding his diabetes. In 2015 the band played their final show due to Peart's declining health. more »

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Written by: Neil Elwood Peart, Gary Lee Weinrib, Alex Zivojinovich


Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind

10 facts about this song

Genre Classification
"The Pass" is a progressive rock song by the Canadian rock band Rush.
Musical Components
The song is known for its deep emotional influence, intricate arrangements, thoughtful lyrics, and notable guitar-work.
Album Inclusion
"The Pass" was included in Rush's album "Presto" that was released in 1989.
Theme Focus
The song addresses the issue of teenage suicide and encourages listeners not to give in to despair, making its message a significant component amidst Rush’s diverse discography.
Neil Peart’s Insight
Rush's drummer, Neil Peart, once described "The Pass" as one of the most satisfying from a lyrical point of view.
Passing The Message
Peart got inspired for the lyrics after reading a newspaper article about a young gay student who committed suicide due to bullying.
Beloved by Fans
Despite never being released as a single, "The Pass" is one of the band's most popular songs among fans and is frequently included in Rush's live sets.
Video Release
The official lyric video for "The Pass" was released on the band's official YouTube channel in 2019, commemorating the 30th anniversary of "Presto" album.
Unique Arrangement
The song starts with a guitar intro by Lifeson, climaxes with a powerful chorus, followed by a short instrumental section before ending with the chorus again which is a unique trait for Rush songs.
Rank Recognition
In a 2015 Rolling Stone readers' poll, they voted "The Pass" as the sixth greatest Rush song of all time.

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