Gambling term from debtors escaping in the night. A phrase signfying that a specific institution, usually a business enterprise, is not on the up and up, that is that the institution will be here to take your money today, and be gone, so as not to complete its obligations, tomorrow.

Also, an early Rush album, and the title track on that album; other tracks on said album.

Ah, to be young, fresh-faced, squeaky-voiced, and inspired by Led Zeppelin and Ayn Rand again.

Fly By Night is the sophomore album by the Canadian rock trio Rush, released February 15, 1975. As the first album with lyricist and drummer Neil Peart, Fly By Night was the first step in the direction the band would take later in the 1970's. It featured a few long-time classics of the band, including the Rand-inspired song "Anthem", and their fantasy epic "By-Tor & the Snow Dog". It also featured the agonizingly bad tribute to J.R.R. Tolkien, "Rivendell", along with the title track which still gets occasional airplay on rock radio stations that have real, live DJs.


Rush was considered a hot new band in 1974, earning opening slots on tours with bands like KISS and Uriah Heep, and winning the 1974 Juno award for Most Promising new act. Neil Peart joined the band in late July of that year, and during the subsequent tour, the band began writing songs for the followup to their eponymous debut. Several of these songs were in rotation on their short setlist by November. Their second album, Fly By Night, was recorded in short order, and was released within a few days of the band heading back out on tour in early 1975.

While the album features several songs in the same vein as their debut record ("Best I Can", "In The End", "Making Memories"), it also has the earliest progressive rock anthems of the band. The earliest hints of where they were headed in the later 1970's can first be heard in "By-Tor & the Snow Dog". The song has all the hallmarks of prog rock excess, including movements with silly names and instrumental "battle scenes". A long-time fan favorite, they still play snippets of it on tour thirty years on.

Fly By Night also features the astonishingly wretched "Rivendell", a quiet, classical acoustic number about elves and hobbits and fluffy kittens and robot laser blasters, inspired by some book by some guy. A low point in Rush's songwriting history, only "Lakeside Park" from Caress of Steel would cause as many eyes to roll as "Rivendell", and at least "Lakeside Park" had a guitar solo and a beat to it.

Fly By Night was the first Rush record where Terry Brown would receive full credit as producer. Brown was an engineer on the first Rush record, and he would continue working with the band through 1982's Signals. Fly By Night was the first of two records the band would release in 1975, with the second being the much-panned Caress of Steel, released in September. While Fly By Night was well-received, Caress of Steel was not, and Rush would later call the promotional tour for the latter record the "Down-the-tubes Tour". Of course, that turned out not to be the case.

The song list is as follows:

  1. Anthem
  2. Best I Can
  3. Beneath, Between & Behind
  4. By-Tor & The Snow Dog
    1. At The Tobes of Hades
    2. Across The Styx
    3. Of The Battle
    4. Epilogue
  5. Fly By Night
  6. Making Memories
  7. Rivendell
  8. In The End

Personally, my favorite is the classic "By-Tor & The Snow Dog". Dungeons & Dragons imagery aside, it's a great mix of Rush's youthful intensity and the prog-rock complexity that I enjoy in other music of that era. Though most of the album is entertaining in one way or another, the three hadn't quite found their legs yet. It's easy to tell Fly By Night is a record by a young band, all barely out of their teens. The guitars are loud, and while the playing is energetic and fluid, you can tell they're still learning the craft of songwriting. And Geddy Lee's voice is, of course, dog-whistle high.

"By-Tor" has been played off and on during the band's tours over the past ten years, as has "Anthem" on the current tour. The band made a short cartoon played during concerts on the Vapor Trails tour showing two disco dancing robots (?) decapitating each other (?1!) during By-Tor. The cartoon is one of two annoyingly-hard-to-reach easter eggs on disc 2 of the Rush In Rio DVD. The other is a video for "Anthem" recorded in 1975 -- there's nothing cooler than paisley polyester shirts and platform shoes.

Fly By Night was released on Mercury Records in the US. The album was included in the rather strange Archives 3-LP set released in the late 1970's, which featured Rush, Fly By Night, and Caress of Steel in one superfluously convenient package -- superfluous since all three records were still in print at the time. I don't think it was ever released that way as a CD. And the CD has, of course, been "Remastered", so that you can have the pleasure of buying it twice, or not. Live versions of songs from Fly By Night appear on 1976's All The World's A Stage, 1981's Exit...Stage Left (LP and film), 1998's Different Stages (bonus disc), and 2003's Rush In Rio.

The album cover (artist not listed) features a snowy owl flying toward the viewer with talons extended over a barren, snow-covered landscape.

Fly by night away from here,
Change my life again,
Fly by night, goodbye my dear,
My ship isn't coming and I just can't pretend


Release dates and other tidbits from www.2112.net/powerwindows

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