Exit...Stage Left
Exit...Stage Left.jpg
Live album by Rush
Released October 29, 1981
Recorded June 10-11, 1980 at The Apollo, Glasgow, Scotland; March 27, 1981 at The Forum, Montreal
Genre Prog-Rock
Length 76:36
Label Mercury Records
Producer Terry Brown
Professional reviews
Rush chronology
Moving Pictures
Exit...Stage Left

Exit...Stage Left is a live album by Canadian band Rush, released in 1981. A video release with the same name, with slightly different content, was released in 1982 on VHS and later on Laserdisc, and in 2007 on DVD. The album was voted 9th best live album of all time in a poll by Classic Rock Magazine in 2004.


"YYZ" is extended from 4:24 (studio version) to 7:45 by a Neil Peart drum solo from 2:22 to 5:31. In "La Villa Strangiato", the introductory acoustic guitar solo from the original recording is played on electric guitar, and it's expanded to twice as long with a more high pitched guitar part. This live change is recognized by itunes, on the itunes essential Live Guitar Heroics. Lee sings part of a nursery rhyme and adds a short bass solo near the end of the piece; the liner notes include a translation of his words.

Title and cover artEdit

The title is from the signature catchphrase "Exit, stage left!" of the Hanna-Barbera pink mountain lion cartoon character Snagglepuss. "The whole title came from a character in an American cartoon called Snagglepuss. He's a great little creature, a lion, and every time there's trouble he flees, uttering 'Exit...stage left' or 'Exit...stage right'. But the fact of the matter was that the album cover picture was taken from stage left. And coincidentally that's the direction in which Snagglepuss runs most of the time." states Geddy Lee. "We wanted to have Snagglepuss's tail on there. You know, 'Exit Stage Left', with a picture of just his tail. Forget it! They wanted all kinds of legal hassles and tons of money." states Neil Peart.

An item from each of Rush's previous eight studio album covers can be seen on the cover of this live album. The owl from Fly by Night flies above Apollo, the man in the suit from Hemispheres, who stands next to the woman from Permanent Waves. The puppet king from A Farewell to Kings sits atop a box stenciled with the "Rush" logo from Rush. Next to him is a painting of the Caress of Steel album cover, held by one of the movers from Moving Pictures, with another mover standing behind. Next to this is Dionysus, the nude man from Hemispheres. Behind this scene, the starman from 2112 hangs in the background, next to an "EXIT" sign. This entire foreground scene, shot in Toronto's then-abandoned Winter Garden Theatre, is on the left side of the stage, thus "Exit...Stage Left".

Rush's prior live album, All the World's a Stage, is also duly represented via the cover's background image - a photo of a concert in Buffalo, New York at the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium. Both album covers show Rush's live setup without anyone on-stage, including their white shag carpet, which they actually stopped using prior to the release of Exit...Stage Left.

Track listingEdit

All songs written by Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart, except where noted.

  1. "The Spirit of Radio" – 5:11
  2. "Red Barchetta" – 6:46
  3. "YYZ" (Lee, Peart) – 7:43 (including Drum Solo)
  4. "A Passage to Bangkok" – 3:45
  5. "Closer to the Heart" (Lee, Lifeson, Peart, Peter Talbot) – 3:08
  6. "Beneath, Between & Behind" (Lifeson, Peart) – 2:34
  7. "Jacob's Ladder" – 8:46
  8. "Broon's Bane" (Lifeson) – 1:37
  9. "The Trees" – 4:50
  10. "Xanadu" – 12:09
  11. "Freewill" – 5:31
  12. "Tom Sawyer" (Lee, Lifeson, Peart, Pye Dubois) – 4:59
  13. "La Villa Strangiato (An Exercise in Self-Indulgence)" – 9:37
    • I: "Buenos Nochas, Mein Froinds!"
    • II: "To sleep, perchance to dream..."
    • III: "Strangiato theme"
    • IV: "A Lerxst in Wonderland"
    • V: "Monsters!"
    • VI: "The Ghost of the Aragon"
    • VII: "Danforth and Pape"
    • VIII: "The Waltz of the Shreves"
    • IX: "Never turn your back on a Monster!"
    • X: "Monsters! (Reprise)"
    • XI: "Strangiato theme (Reprise)"
    • XII: "A Farewell to Things"

Tracks 1-3 and 8-13 of the original vinyl were recorded in Canada during the Moving Pictures tour, while tracks 4-7 were recorded in the UK during the Permanent Waves tour.


  • Geddy Lee - Bass guitar, synthesizers, bass pedal, occasional rhythm guitar, vocal
  • Alex Lifeson - Electric and acoustic guitars, bass pedal
  • Neil Peart - Drums, percussion


  • The cast and crew of Le Studio, especially André for making the new all-colour Jack Secret Show a reality, Raru Ponce de Leon, Dr. Carl Zbourg, Major Seventh, Lou, Suzanne, Ronnie, Bjorn (The Stunned Man) Erlichmann, Punjabi, Dirk the Cameraman, and Daisy O'Williams and the Dogmatics, The Fabulous Projecting Men, featuring a Chorus of Fools, Nick the Cat, Explosion Magazine, the lovely Rushka, Joe E. Ross - ooh ooh!, the people of Fooland, the Expos, the Great White North, and the members and crew of "FM" for their important comedic and musical support - Öfshnatzen d'Rötz!! - People of the wonderful thing
  • Max Webster - R.I.P.
  • This album is dedicated to the world-renowned they (Slider's uncles, Eddie and Glen). Alex's performance in Broon's Bane is dedicated to Elliot. A special tribute to the Glaswegian Chorus for the backround vocals on "Closer to the Heart. Nice one, folks! Our personal thank you to the Griffin family for their wonderfulness, and to the people of NASA for their spectacular launch of the Columbia which we were privileged and thrilled to witness.
  • Enough said. Well, just a few more words! In seven years of touring we have made many friends in many different places. Some have worked for us, some have cheered for us, and some have just been nice to us. For reasons beyond our comprehension, we have become increasingly more popular, and hence stretched ever more thinly among ever more people. If sometimes we can't give the time they deserve to our friends and loved ones, we hope that they will understand and forgive us. After all, we didn't change, everybody else did!

  • We also should include a (loose) translation for the new lyrics to the Danforth and Pape section of La Villa Strangiato

"Patty-cake, patty cake, Mother's going to buy you shoes, Father's going to buy you socks, Baby's going to have red cheeks."

  • Executive Production by Moon Records


Country Chart Position Date

Top LPs & Tapes (Billboard 200)

10 December 5, 1981
U.S. Rock Albums 14 December 12, 1981
U.K. Albums 6 November 7, 1981
Canada RPM 50 Albums 7 December 5, 1981
Netherlands GfK Dutch Album Top 100 19 November 14, 1981
Norway VG-lista Topp 40 Album 28 December 5, 1981


Country Organization Sales Date
U.S. RIAA Gold (500,000) January 5, 1982
U.S. RIAA Platinum (1,000,000) November 9, 1987
U.K. BPI Silver (60,000) November 23, 1981
Canada CRIA Platinum (100,000)


The original CD issue did not include "A Passage to Bangkok" due to time constraints, as CDs could only hold 74 minutes at the time. The track did appear on the original LP, 8-track cartridge and cassette issues, and was later included on the remastered CD, when CD times had increased to 80 minutes.

A remaster was issued in 1997.

  • The tray has a picture of three fingerprints, light blue, pink, and lime green (left to right, mirroring the cover art of Retrospective II) with "The Rush Remasters" printed in all capital letters just to the left. All remasters from Moving Pictures through A Show of Hands are like this.
  • Includes the track "A Passage to Bangkok" which was left off the original CD issue due to time constraints.

Compact DiscEdit

Country Label Catalog Year
United States Mercury 822 551-2 1990
United States Mercury P2-34632
United States Mercury 314 534 632-2 1997
United States Mercury D-102273
United States Mercury D-120110 1997
Canada Anthem ANMD-1035
Canada Anthem


Canada Anthem WAGK-1035
Canada Anthem AND-1035
Canada Anthem ANC-4-1035
Canada Anthem ANK-1035
Canada Anthem A21F-4-1035
Canada Anthem D-108209
Canada Anthem 573014T
Argentina Mercury 534 632-2
Brazil Mercury 822 551-2
Brazil Mercury 314 534 632-2
Germany Mercury 534 632-2
Germany Mercury 822 551-2
Japan Epic/Sony 25-8P-5080
Japan Atlantic AMCY-290 1991
Russia None


Country Label Catalog Year
United States Mercury SRM-2-7001 1981
United States Mercury 822 551-1 1981
United States Mercury 6337-194 1981
Canada Anthem ANR-4-1035 1981
Canada Anthem ANR-1-1035
Netherlands Mercury 6619-053 1981
Sweden Mercury 6619-053
Japan Epic/Sony 36-3P-325-61 1981
United Kingdom Mercury 6619-053 1981

Cassette Tape Edit

Country Label Catalog Year
United States Mercury 822 551-4 1981
Canada Anthem 4AN-4-1035

8-Track Edit

Country Label Catalog Year
Canada Anthem 8AN-4-1035


"Tom Sawyer"
  • Released: (Europe)
  • Written by: Pye Dubois, Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson & Neil Peart
  • Produced by: Terry Brown
  • Chart positions: #25 UK
"Closer to the Heart"
  • Released:
  • Written by: Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, Neil Peart & Peter Talbot
  • Produced by: Terry Brown
  • Chart positions: #69 US Hot 100; #7 US Mainstream Rock