Wow. For all my many years of waxing and waning Rush fandom, including having played several of their songs on the bass myself in a band a few years back, I never knew this about one of their oddest songs, the instrumental track “YYZ.”

Yes, of course I know YYZ is the code for the Toronto airport. But what I never realized, even as I was playing that rhythm, is that the opening of the song spells “YYZ” in Morse Code!

(I must admit I have some misgivings about saying I never realized it. I vaguely recall that as my bandmates and I were working the song out — from memory, not a recording — I was convinced that the last part of long beats was 5 and not 4, but the other guys might have used the Morse Code argument to prove me wrong. In fact, even tonight as I read about this and played the song in my head, I was still thinking it was 5, and, in my usual cocksure way, thinking “these websites have it wrong!” or “the band messed up the ‘Z’!” But then I actually listened to the song and realized it’s 4. Then I assumed the band I was in must have played it wrong, since I was so sure it was 5. So I listened to our recording of it and sure enough it was 4 there too! I guess the only thing that proves is that once again, it’s a bad idea for me to stay up too late on a Saturday night surfing the web.)

Here’s some more on the matter…

While I’m on the subject of Rush, I quickly googled (yes, it’s officially lowercase now, much to Google‘s chagrin) and was surprised to discover that, apparently, my high school friends and I are the only ones in the entire wired world who ever thought the band’s self-titled debut album cover looks more like it says RLISH than RUSH.

Still got the fever…

I was perusing some of the older articles on my site today, such as the one about Bucker and Garcia. For those of you who don’t remember B&G (or, shame on you, were too young to experience them), they’re the one-hit wonders behind everyone’s favorite video game themed song, “Pac-Man Fever.”

Well, as we can see from this video, they’ve still got the fever.

It clearly is a home video, apparently shot in the home music room of either Buckner or Garcia (although I notice that the plaque on the gold record says “Presented to Mike Stewart). Our heroes are set up with a pair of microphones and appear to be performing the song. Buckner (I’ll assume top billing means he’s the lead singer) most definitely is singing live, but the backing music sounds suspiciously canned, despite Garcia’s keyboard (and miraculously chorus-like backing vocals).

I got suspicious when I realized Garcia was lip-syncing the backing vocals even though Buckner was really singing, and when the guitar solo appeared, note-for-note and bend-for-bend consistent with the original that’s permanently etched into my brain from the 8 billion times I listened to the song in 1983 alone, I finally realized what was going on…

You see, it was fairly common for singles released by Columbia Records at the time to include an instrumental version of the song on the flip side. And that is what was playing in Buckner’s spare bedroom. He was doing karaoke to his own song.