A Farewell to Kings is the fifth studio album by the Canadian Progressive Rock band Rush, released in 1977. The followup to their Breakthrough Hit 2112, it continues in a similar style, although it takes a more philosophically mature approach to the themes used in that album, and it is also the only of the band's albums in this period not to contain a side-length epic. Like the previous release, it was commercially successful, spawning the hit single "Closer to the Heart", and is well liked by fans, also containing fan favourites "Xanadu" and "Cygnus X-1 Book I: The Voyage". The latter of these was another Science Fiction Rock Opera whose story would be continued on the band's next album Hemispheres.
- Geddy Lee: vocals, bass and twelve-string guitar, Minimoog, bass pedal synthesizers
- Alex Lifeson: electric and acoustic six- and twelve-string guitars, classical guitar, bass pedal synthesizers
- Neil Peart: drums, orchestra bells, wind chimes, bell tree, vibraslap, triangle, tubular bells, temple blocks
- Terry Brown: spoken vocals on "Cygnus X-1"
- "A Farewell to Kings" (5:51)
- "Xanadu" (11:05)
- "Closer to the Heart" (2:54)
- "Cinderella Man" (4:20)
- "Madrigal" (2:35)
- "Cygnus X-1 Book I: The Voyage" (10:25)
Closer to the Tropes
- Black Hole: A central focus of "Cygnus X-1".
- Cliffhanger: "Cygnus X-1" ends with the protagonist being pulled into a Black Hole.
- Downer Ending: "Xanadu". A man finds the secret to immortality, but at the price of never leaving the titular palace. A thousand years later, he's been driven mad and is desperately wishing for death.
- Epic Instrumental Opener: "Xanadu" goes on for about five minutes before the lyrics enter.
- Epic Rocking: "Xanadu" goes on for over eleven minutes and "Cygnus X-1" goes on for about ten and a half. The Title Track just barely misses the six-minute mark.
- Filk Song: "Xanadu" is based on Samuel Taylor Coleridge's legendarily unfinished poem "Kubla Khan".
- Last Note Nightmare: "Cygnus X-1".
- No Ending: "Cygnus X-1" ends with the protagonist being pulled into a Black Hole. Justified, as the plot is continued on the next album.
- Record Producer: Rush and Terry Brown. Brown provides spoken word vocals for "Cygnus X-1".
- Rock Opera: "Cygnus X-1" and, depending on your definition, "Xanadu".
- Spoken Word in Music: In the intro to "Cygnus X-1".
- Title Track: "A Farewell to Kings".
- To Be Continued: "Cygnus X-1".
- Whole Plot Reference: As mentioned above, "Xanadu" to "Kubla Khan".
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: The second half of "Xanadu" is about how miserable the protagonist is after achieving immortality.