Meaning of “Fly by Night” by Rush

Written By Michael Miller

Michael is a music teacher and professional cellist. He loves uncovering the deeper meaning of popular songs.

This classic song is all about breaking free, taking control of your life, and leaving behind what’s holding you back. It’s like a musical declaration of independence, and it’s sung with a sense of urgency. Rush, the legendary Canadian rock band, wants to tell you that it’s time to soar, to escape the ordinary, and to be the master of your destiny.

In “Fly by Night,” the songwriter, Neil Peart, invites you to embrace change, bid farewell to the past, and start anew. It’s a call to action, a declaration of personal growth, and an anthem for anyone yearning for something more. So, if you’re looking for a musical push to chase your dreams and leave the past behind, keep reading.

“Fly by Night” Lyrics Meaning

Now, let’s dive deeper into the lyrics of “Fly by Night” and uncover the hidden layers of meaning within the song.

The song begins with the question, “Why try?” It’s as if the protagonist is questioning their current situation, feeling that it’s time for a change. The inner voice urges them to move on, leave the familiar behind, and seek a fresh start. This feeling is portrayed as the desire to be a king rather than just a pawn in life’s game.

The repeated refrain, “Fly by night, away from here, change my life again,” underscores the theme of escaping the status quo and embracing change. It’s a desire to break free and embark on a new journey, leaving behind the old life and the “empty feeling inside.”

As the song progresses, the lyrics mention “Moon rise, thoughtful eyes.” This imagery signifies reflection and contemplation. The protagonist is looking out the window, thinking about their decision to leave and the future that awaits. There’s no fear or regret, only a resolute determination to move forward.

The chorus repeats the idea of flying away, bidding farewell to the past, and acknowledging that the expected “ship” isn’t coming. This reinforces the notion that it’s up to the individual to make their own destiny.

In the final verse, the lyrics talk about starting a new chapter and finding what the protagonist is after. The changing seasons serve as a metaphor for the changing phases of life, and the desire to “get away” is driven by the need for personal growth.

In summary, “Fly by Night” by Rush is a song about self-discovery, liberation, and embracing change. It encourages listeners to leave behind the mundane, take control of their lives, and pursue their dreams. It’s a timeless anthem for anyone ready to spread their wings and fly.

Why Was “Fly by Night” Written?

To understand why “Fly by Night” was written, we need to look at the context in which it was created. Rush released this song in 1975 as the title track of their second studio album. At that time, Rush was still finding their identity as a band, and they were eager to break away from the mainstream and establish their unique sound.

Neil Peart, the band’s lyricist and drummer, penned the song’s lyrics. He was known for his introspective and philosophical approach to songwriting. In “Fly by Night,” he likely drew inspiration from his own experiences and the band’s desire to make a mark in the music industry.

The song’s lyrics reflect a sense of restlessness and a yearning for personal growth, which might have been influenced by the band’s early struggles and aspirations. It captures the spirit of a young band on the verge of a breakthrough, ready to leave behind the confines of their past and embrace a new musical journey.

In essence, “Fly by Night” was written to encapsulate the band’s transition and transformation, both musically and personally. It served as a declaration of independence and a manifesto for embracing change, themes that resonated not only with Rush but also with their growing fanbase.