About the Song:
While it may sound absurd, Rush can technically be called a one-hit wonder. How, you ask? Well, if one uses the Billboard top 40 as the means of measuring hit status, the only song by the Canadian trio to reach those lofty heights was “New World Man,” peaking at #21 in 1982. They did have seven other songs reach the Billboard Hot 100, but the highest was 1981’s “Tom Sawyer” at #44.
Of course, Rush were never really about singles anyway. They were always more of an album band. They built their following at radio stations more apt to play album cuts, generating staples such as “Fly by Night,” “Closer to the Heart,” “The Trees,” “The Spirit of Radio,” “Freewill,” “Tom Sawyer,” and “Limelight.” The release of 1982’s Signals became the band’s third straight top-10 album, thanks to more classic-rock staples like “New World Man” and “Subdivisions.” The former was the first of five #1’s on the album rock chart. Rush would surely have had even more if the chart existed prior to 1981. The song was also their only one to reach the pinnacle in their native Canada.
“New World Man” was the last song composed for the album. It only took a day to write and record. SF It grew out of a suggestion by Terry Brown, the producer, to round out the lengths of the two sides of the cassette version of the album. WK As singer Geddy Lee said, “It wouldn’t have been on the record if we didn’t have four minutes space available…Our shortest albums are about 18 minutes a side…I couldn’t see us going below that.” SF
The song is about a young man who could have it all. However, the same circumstances that could lead to success are the same ones which could cause him to lose it all and cost him the world.
First posted 7/28/2022.
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