Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Anthem, from Rush's 1975 album Fly by Night, is based on Ayn Rand's short dystopian novel Anthem. Rand depicts a future society in which all individualism has been banished by the ruling body, the World Council (even use of the pronoun 'I' is punishable by death) and everyone's activities are focused on the good of the collective. Just as Rand intended the book to be an ode or anthem celebrating mankind's ego (the last word in the novel), so the song's lyrics celebrate the individual: Live for yourself, there's no one else/More worth living for/Begging hands and bleeding hearts will only cry out for more. In keeping with Rand's concept of the "virtue of selfishness," the lyrics state: I know they've always told you/Selfishness was wrong/Yet it was for me, not you, that I came to write this song. The same book served as the inspiration for the title track of Rush's 1976 album 2112. This futuristic 20-minute mini-rock opera so closely parallels Rand's novel that the band felt compelled to credit her in the liner notes.