This is quite likely the least controversial album cover in the Controversial Album Cover Gallery. What rubbed some raw about the Canadian trio’s sixth album was the bare ass on the cover, which of course launched one of the band’s most well-recognized logos.
An alternate, cheek-less cover was issued, but I’ve never seen it. The bottom line is that the cover pictured above is the one that sits in most stacks, rendering those few 1978 protesters as meaningless as farts in the wind.
Hemispheres was my first exposure to Rush. Some of you may remember Mike, the crown prince of The Guys In Black Tee Shirts Who Jam, who would bring over stacks of music to occupy me while he wrestled with my sister. This album was among them, making me a Rush fan from age eleven.
It was the last of their serious prog albums, too. After this one the sound grew more radio friendly and easy for the guys to reproduce live. Which is not to say that this is their last great album — far from it — but self-indulgent (and brilliant) cuts like “La Villa Strangiato” made way for future hits like “Spirit Of Radio” and “Tom Sawyer.”
Damn, I do love me some Rush.
If you want a copy of this one on vinyl you don’t have to pay a lot. A couple of bucks American will get a copy into your stacks; however, if you want to spend your hard-earned cash there are some rare editions out there — colored vinyl, poster inserts, and even that alternate cover that I can’t find. Happy hunting.