As a Canadian, I know a bit about the band Rush – that they sold over 40 million records, and that they continue to sell out shows across the world 30 plus years after their peak fame. But to be honest, I wasn’t familiar with their song catalogue – I really only knew their smash hits Tom Sawyer and Closer to the Heart. Recently however, I stumbled upon Red Barchetta, a cool song from their massive album, Moving Pictures.
The song’s lyrics tell a futuristic story where traditional combustion vehicles have been banned by “the Motor Law”. The singer’s uncle has one of these illegal vehicles, a “Red Barchetta” sports car which has been secretly kept in pristine condition for 50+ years. The uncle keeps it hidden at his secret country home which was a former farm. Every Sunday, the nephew sneaks out to this location and goes for a drive in the countryside.
“Before the Motor Law…My uncle preserved for me an old machine..For 50-odd years…To keep it as new has been his dearest dream…A brilliant red Barchetta…And on Sundays I elude the eyes…Tires spitting gravel. I commit my weekly crime.”
Very interesting lyrics for 1981 and a little apropos in 2017 with the manual transmission essentially dead and all the buzz of self driving cars. Rush definitely was forward thinking when they came up with this hit.