Happy 25th: Rush, Roll the Bones

Friday, September 2, 2016
Happy 25th: Rush, Roll the Bones

25 years ago this week, Rush released their 14th full-length studio album – or their second album for Atlantic Records, if you prefer to look at it that way – and found themselves back in the top 5 of the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart for the first time in a decade.

Roll the Bones was co-produced by the band with the assistance of Rupert Hine, who’d worked with Rush on their previous album, Presto. While Roll the Bones wasn’t quite as critically acclaimed as its predecessor, that probably didn’t bother the band too much, given the obvious commercial success. In addition to the album’s sales, four of its songs proved to be substantial hits on the US Mainstream Rock chart, including “Bravado” (#13), the title track (#9), “Ghost of a Chance” (#2), and the biggest hit of all, “Dreamline,” which topped the chart.

No matter what kind of song you choose to play, you’re betting your life on it, for good or ill, and what you believe is what you are,” wrote Neal Peart, in his remarks about Roll the Bones in the tour program when the band was on the road in support of the album. “No one can ever be sure, in this best of all possible random universes.

“That's why the essence of these songs is: if there's a chance, you might as well take it,” continued Peart. “So what if some parts of life are a crap shoot? Get out there and shoot the crap. A random universe doesn't have to be futile; we can change the odds, load the dice, and roll again ... For anyone who hasn't seen Groucho Marx's game show You Bet Your Life, I mean that no one but Groucho knows the secret word, and one guess is as good as another ... Anything can happen. That is called fate.”