Hold Your Fire

Hold Your Fire is the 12th studio album by Canadian rock band Rush, released on September 8, 1987. It was recorded at The Manor Studio in Oxfordshire, Ridge Farm Studio in Surrey, Air Studios in Montserrat and McClear Place in Toronto.[4] Hold Your Fire was the last Rush studio album released outside Canada by PolyGram/Mercury. 'Til Tuesday bassist and vocalist Aimee Mann contributed vocals to "Time Stand Still", appearing in the Zbigniew Rybczyński-directed video.

Hold Your Fire
Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 8, 1987
June 3, 1997 (Remastered CD)
RecordedJanuary 5 – April 24, 1987
StudioThe Manor Studio, Oxfordshire;
Ridge Farm Studio, Surrey;
AIR Studios, Montserrat;
McClear Place, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
LabelAnthem (Canada)
Atlantic (Japan)
Epic/Sony (Japan)
Vertigo (United Kingdom)
ProducerRush, Peter Collins
Rush chronology
Power Windows
Hold Your Fire
A Show of Hands
Singles from Hold Your Fire
  1. "Force Ten (promo.)[3]"
    Released: 1987
  2. "Time Stand Still"
    Released: October 19, 1987
  3. "Lock and Key (promo.)"
    Released: 1987
  4. "Prime Mover"
    Released: April 11, 1988

The album was not as commercially successful as most of the band's releases of the 1980s, peaking at #13 on the Billboard charts, the lowest chart peak for a Rush album since 1978's Hemispheres.[5] However, it did eventually go gold.


After Rush's 1986 Power Windows tour ended, the band members took the summer off to spend more time with their families. A few months passed, and the group decided to start getting back into writing material.[6] Neil Peart began writing lyrics in a cottage in early September. Meanwhile, Geddy Lee started to compose on his keyboard setup controlled on a Macintosh computer using software called Digital Performer,[7][8] which would be useful for both the writing and production stages, and Alex Lifeson was doing experimental tapes at home.[8] Peart also used the Mac to write some lyrics for the album.[7] Peart wanted to do something in the same vein as Power Windows, this time working around the theme of time. However, after writing lyrics for the first song he wrote, "Time Stand Still", Peart started to create more material that would turn the theme into "Instinct,"[8] which was the reason for titling the album Hold Your Fire.[9] In an afternoon later that month, Peart and Lee together showed what they'd been working on, and also discussed a few lyrical ideas they weren't able to write on paper, which would be included in "Mission," "Open Secrets" and "Turn the Page."[8]

The group started writing sessions in Elora Sound Studio, Ontario on September 27, 1986.[6] Lifeson showed his experimental tapes, while Lee brought soundcheck jams he'd done that year. According to Peart, Lifeson's tapes "would yield some good parts for several songs" and Lee's soundcheck jams were "sorted and labeled as potential verses, bridges, choruses or instrumental bits, and thus they served as a reference library of spontaneous ideas that could be drawn upon at will." Lifeson used a drum machine to write drum parts, which Lee tracked on a Lerxst Sound recorder. By early November, eight songs had been written, which the group felt wasn't enough for the album to have a good amount of musical variety. Peart said, "We decided we'd go a bit further this time. We were aware of the fact that only a small percentage of people actually buy records anymore, the vast majority choosing cassettes or CDs. Thus, we figured, why should we worry about the time limitations of the old vinyl disc? We thought we'd like to have 10 songs, and go for 50 minutes or so of music. So we did."[8] Producer Peter Collins came in to Elora Sound in early December to give the band suggestions to improve the songs. Among many small changes, a couple of major suggestions were new verses to "Mission" and chorus revisions to "Open Secrets."[8] With nine songs already written, Collins also suggested the band make a 10th track for the album, and the song "Force Ten" would be written on the last day of pre-production, December 14.[6] .


Recording of Hold Your Fire began January 5, 1987, at The Manor Studio in England. This was where the drums, bass, basic keyboards, lead guitars and lead vocals were recorded. The keyboards, guitars and vocals were recorded digitally, while the drums and bass, as preferred by Peart,[10] were taped using an analogue tape recorder, later converted into a digital tape.[6] On February 7, the band went to Ridge Farm Studio for Andy Richards to perform additional dynamic keyboards and exciting "events," as well as put all recorded instrument tracks into a digital machine.[9][11] Lifeson was also able to write guitar overdubs while recording at Ridge Farm.[8]

The band headed off to AIR Montserrat on March 1 to start producing guitar overdubs,[8][9] and later to McClear Place Studios in Toronto three weeks later to finish the overdubs, record orchestral arrangements by Steve Margoshes for "High Water," "Mission" and "Second Nature," and track additional voice parts, such as Aimee Mann's vocals for "Time Stand Still" and "Prime Mover," and gospel choir.[8][9][12] Recording was finished by April 24,[12] and mixing took place starting May 7 at William Tell Studio in Paris. Lee mastered the album with Bob Ludwig at Masterdisk in New York City by mid-July.[13]

Lee played a Wal bass guitar for Hold Your Fire, as well as being vocalist and keyboardist.[11] The synths and other electronic instruments and devices used, all programmed with the assistance of Andy Richards and Jim Burgess,[11] were several Akai S900 samplers, two Prophet synths, a PPG 2.3, a Roland Super Jupiter and a D-550, two Yamaha KX-76 MIDI controllers, two QX-I sequencers and a DX-7, two MIDI Mappers, Korg MIDI pedals, and Moog Taurus Pedals.[8] Peart played on a combination of Ludwig-Musser drum set, a plated-hardware of Pearl Drums, Premier drums and Tama drums, Avedis Zildjian cymbals, and a Simmons pad through one of the Akai samplers, which made sounds of temple blocks, a timbale, crotales, a Tama, a gong bass drum, cowbells, wind chimes, and marimbas.[6][8]

The song "Tai Shan" was an experiment in composition. It was influenced by classical Chinese music, and its title was a reference to Mount Tai in China's Shandong province, which Peart first became aware of during a bicycle trip in China.[14] A backward sample of Aimee Mann's vocals from another track is used at the end of the song. In a 2009 interview with Blender, Lee expressed regret in including "Tai Shan" on the album, calling it an "error" and saying "we should have known better."[15] Lifeson called the song "a little corny" in a 2012 interview with Total Guitar.[16] In an interview in 2016 about the worst songs Rush had released, Lifeson said "'Tai Shan' is one of the worst, easily. And 'Panacea' - it was an attempt at something that didn't really work out. It was... innocent."[17]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Metal Storm(7.7/10)[20]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide[22]

Opinions to Hold Your Fire have been mixed to positive. While the album has been criticised for its 1980s pop music sound and overused synths, some, including the band members, felt it was better than their previous studio projects, with praises of the album's production, composition, and lyrics.

Hold Your Fire was initially deemed a commercial disappointment in comparison to other Rush albums. It stalled at #13 in the Billboard 200 album chart, the first time a Rush studio album failed to reach the Top 10 since 1978's Hemispheres.[5] Although Hold Your Fire was certified gold in the United States shortly after its release, it failed to reach platinum status according to the RIAA, becoming the first Rush studio album to not do so since 1975's Caress of Steel.[24]

Despite the poor commercial performance of the album, songs from it were regularly performed live by the band, with "Force Ten," "Time Stand Still" and "Mission" played most often. Only two tours since the album's release (the 2002 Vapor Trails Tour and the 2015 R40 Live Tour) did not include at least one song from the album in the setlist.


A remaster was issued in 1997.[4]

  • The tray has a picture of three fingerprints, light blue, pink, and lime green (left to right) with "The Rush Remasters" printed in all capital letters just to the left, mirroring the cover art of Retrospective II. All remasters from Moving Pictures through A Show of Hands are like this.
  • Includes all the artwork that came with the original album, except for the lyrics to "Prime Mover".

Hold Your Fire was remastered again in 2011 by Andy VanDette for the "Sector" box sets, which re-released all of Rush's Mercury-era albums. It is included in the Sector 3 set.[25] For the 2011 remaster, master tapes containing different mixes of Hold Your Fire were inadvertently used, with the result that the mix is noticeably different from previous releases in several places; particularly during "Mission", where string parts that were not present on the original release can be heard, and in the introduction to "Tai Shan", where wind chimes have been added.

Track listing

All lyrics are written by Neil Peart except "Force Ten" by Peart and Pye Dubois; all music is composed by Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson[4].

Side one
1."Force Ten"4:31
2."Time Stand Still"5:09
3."Open Secrets"5:38
4."Second Nature"4:36
5."Prime Mover"5:19
Side two
6."Lock and Key"5:09
8."Turn the Page"4:55
9."Tai Shan"4:17
10."High Water"5:33




Additional musicians



Chart (1987) Peak
Canadian Albums (RPM100)[26] 9
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[27] 40
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[28] 34
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[29] 21
Japanese Albums (Oricon)[30] 67
UK Albums (OCC)[31] 10
US Billboard 200[32] 13


"Time Stand Still"
  • Released: October 19, 1987
  • Written by: Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart
  • Produced by: Peter Collins and Rush
  • Chart positions: No. 3 US Mainstream Rock;[33] #41 UK
"Force Ten"
  • Released:
  • Written by: Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, Neil Peart and Pye Dubois
  • Produced by: Peter Collins and Rush
  • Chart positions: #3 US Mainstream Rock[33]
"Lock and Key"
  • Released:
  • Written by: Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart
  • Produced by: Peter Collins and Rush
  • Chart positions: #16 US Mainstream Rock[33]
"Prime Mover"
  • Released: April 11, 1988
  • Written by: Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart
  • Produced by: Peter Collins and Rush
  • Chart positions: #43 UK[34]


Country Organization Sales
U.S. RIAA Gold (500,000)[24]
Canada CRIA Platinum (100,000)[35]
UK BPI Silver (60,000)[36]


  1. "Grace Under Pressure (1984) Stereogum". www.stereogum.com. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  2. "Hold Your Fire (1987) Stereogum". www.stereogum.com. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  3. "Rush". Billboard. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  4. Hold Your Fire (Remastered Edition) (CD booklet). Rush. New York: Mercury Records. 1997.CS1 maint: others (link)
  5. "Hold Your Fire Billboard Albums". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2011-11-20.
  6. Banasiewicz, Bill (1988). p. 89.
  7. "Geddy Lee – Off The Record". Power Windows. 2112.net. 1987. Archived from the original on December 24, 2013. Retrieved October 12, 2013.
  8. Peart, Neil. "Fireworks: The Making Of "Hold Your Fire"". Power Windows. 2112.net. Archived from the original on October 4, 2013. Retrieved October 12, 2013.
  9. Banasiewicz, Bill (1988). p. 90.
  10. Claypool, Bob (January 27, 1988). "Interview with Neil Peart". Houston Post. Retrieved October 12, 2013.
  11. ""Hold Your Fire" linernotes and lyrics". Power Windows. 2112.net. Archived from the original on November 21, 2009. Retrieved October 12, 2013.
  12. Banasiewicz, Bill (1988). p. 92.
  13. Banasiewicz, Bill (1988). p. 93.
  14. Collins, Jon (2005). "And then there were three". Rush: Chemistry : The Definitive Biography. London, UK: Helter Skelter Publishing. pp. 150–152. ISBN 978-1-905139-28-6.
  15. Tannenbaum, Rob (April 2009). "Dear Superstar: Geddy Lee". Blender. Power Windows. Retrieved 2017-06-16.
  16. "Doublenecks, tribute bands, mid-gig chundering and his least-favourite Rush song – Alex Lifeson wraps his head around your questions". Total Guitar. October 2012. Retrieved 2015-07-21.
  17. https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/news/general_music_news/alex_lifeson_the_worst_songs_rush_ever_released_i_dont_know_what_we_were_thinking.html
  18. Rivadavia, Eduardo. "Hold Your Fire – Rush". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2011-11-20.
  19. Chirazi, Stefan (October 3, 1987). "Firestarter!". Kerrang!. Bauer Media Group (156). Retrieved October 13, 2013.
  20. Espiau, Olivier (23 April 2010). "Rush – Hold Your Fire". Metal Storm. Retrieved 2011-11-20.
  21. Giles, David (7 November 1987). "Rush – Hold Your Fire". NME. Retrieved 2019-08-16.
  22. "Rush: Album Guide". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 2013-06-10. Retrieved 2011-11-20.
  23. Elliot, Paul (October 31, 1987). "'Hold Your Fire' Album Review". Sounds. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
  24. "RIAA Database Search for Rush". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 2011-11-20.
  25. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-08-23. Retrieved 2016-07-12.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  26. "Top Albums/CDs – Volume 47, No. 2, October 17, 1987". Library and Archives Canada. 17 October 1987. Retrieved 2011-12-01.
  27. "Dutchcharts.nl – Rush – Hold Your Fire" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 2011-12-02.
  28. "Longplay-Chartverfolgung at Musicline" (in German). Musicline.de. Phononet GmbH. Retrieved 2011-12-01.
  29. "Swedishcharts.com – Rush – Hold Your Fire". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2011-12-02.
  30. ホールド・ユア・ファイアー (In Japanese). oricon.co.jp. Accessed from July 8, 2013.
  31. "Rush | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 2011-12-01.
  32. "Rush Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard.
  33. "Hold Your Fire Billboard Singles". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2011-11-20.
  34. "Prime Mover The Official Charts Company". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2012-03-11.
  35. "Gold Platinum Database – Title: Hold Your Fire". Music Canada. Archived from the original on 2013-06-20. Retrieved 2011-11-20.
  36. "BPI Certified Award Search for Rush". British Phonographic Industry. Archived from the original on 2011-06-04. Retrieved 2011-11-21.

Further reading

  • Banasiewicz, Bill (1988). Rush Visions: The Official Biography. Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-7119-1162-2.
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