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Hugh Syme talks inspiration behind Rush’s pun-filled Permanent Waves cover

Rush have shared an animated Permanent Waves video explaining how Hugh Syme came up with the cover of their 1980 album.

The promo has been created by Fantoons – the same team behind the recently released video for The Spirit Of Radio – with the graphic artist narrating the short.

Syme says: “Permanent Waves was in an era when I was given a huge amount of freedom. The band was in the early stages and came to me for what I call eye candy.

“When we had our first meeting, I realised that ‘waves’ could mean so may things. It could be permanent waves – something that women in the 50s would do at home with these products called Toni Home Permanent Wave products.

“So I knew immediately that I’d like to have a sort of Donna Reed character walking away from a tidal wave.”

The video also sees Syme diving into some of the other puns on the original cover.

Permanent Waves was recently reissued to mark its 40th anniversary as a Super Deluxe Edition, 2CD Deluxe Edition, 3LP Deluxe Edition, and Deluxe Digital Edition.

The Super Deluxe box features the 2015 remaster and live cuts from the Manchester Apollo, London’s Hammersmith Odeon and the Kiel Auditorium in St. Louis. 

Aside from the music, the box set comes with a 20-page notepad reproduced from a newly-discovered piece of Le Studio letterhead, two tour programmes: The official 1980 world tour programme and the rare, unofficial Words & Pictures Vol II UK-only tour booklet. 

In addition, the super deluxe edition box set includes a 40-page hardcover book with previously unreleased photos, liner notes, three replica backstage laminates, a 24”x36” poster and three Neil Peart handwritten lyric sheets.

Earlier this week, Rush's Geddy Lee shared a picture of himself from his days in a teenage garage band – and revealed he actually searched for the bass in the picture for his Big Beautiful Book Of Bass, but couldn't locate it.

Rush: Permanent Waves Super Deluxe Edition

Rush: Permanent Waves Super Deluxe Edition
Rush's pivotal 1980 album Permanent Waves has been reissued in this lavish package to celebrate its 40th anniversary. It features a remaster of the original album, live cuts and much more.

Scott looks after Louder’s online buyer’s guides and also scouts out the best deals for music fans from every corner of the internet. He's spent more than 25 years in newspapers and magazines and in 2014 joined our news desk, where he wrote extensively about rock, metal, prog and more. Scott has previous written for the Daily Record, Sunday Mirror, The Herald and IGN.