Happy birthday, Caress of Steel!
On September 24, 1975, Rush released their third album, Caress of Steel. Poorly received, it was nearly their last album — the supporting tour was dubbed the “Down the Tubes” tour. As the story goes though, the great band went back into the studio, recorded 2112 as their swan song, and ended up saving their career. I like just about all of Rush’s 1970s discography, but I would say Caress of Steel is my favorite Rush album (closely followed by Hemispheres.)
I first heard Caress of Steel in 1993 as a senior in high school, but it wasn’t until college that its favored position solidified, due to its mix of progressive rock and hard rock and resonant lyrics: specifically, the epic fantasy of “The Necromancer,” the protagonist’s quest in “The Fountain of Lamneth” — whose search for meaning in adventure, romantic love, and Bacchic excess both mirrored my own life in that season and brought to mind some of Solomon’s musings in Ecclesiastes — and the mellow, nostalgic “Lakeside Park.”
Still a fantastic album that holds up 40 years later!