Happy Birthday, Geddy Lee!

Celebrate the Rush bassist's birthday by checking out "YYZ."

Released on Rush's 1981 album, Moving Pictures, "YYZ" is the Toronto Pearson International airport code. Neil Peart has said that Alex Lifeson flew them into the airport and the rhythm of YYZ's Morse Code being repeatedly broadcast to pilots stuck with him. The piece's introduction, played in a time signature of 5/4, repeatedly renders "Y-Y-Z" in Morse Code using various arrangements.

You can hear it clearly in Geddy Lee's isolated bass track right here

In an interview, Alex Lifeson explained the harmonics heard before the solo: "I create them by playing off the pick and my thumb. I hold the pick so there's a slight edge of it showing between my thumb and finger. This allows my thumb to mute the string, and that's what causes the harmonic to ring."

This was one of the few songs used on the game Guitar Hero 2 that wasn't a remake by Wavegroup.

Geddy Lee told the The Plain Dealer in a 2011 interview: "It's interesting how that song has been reborn through video games like Guitar Hero andRock Band. We're getting all these 11-, 12-, and 13-year-old kids coming to our shows because they discovered our music through those games. And I think one of the big reasons is 'YYZ.'"

Now watch them play it live here


Geddy Lee: Full Steam Ahead

Spontaneous-sounding and song-friendly, yet grand in scope, Rush’s spellbinding new release, Clockwork Angels, follows the adventures of a young man across a steampunk landscape filled with alchemists, anarchists, buccaneers, sorcerers, carnivals, and lost cities.