The three members of Rush had a lot of reasons to feel like time was flying by in a whirl by 1987. They’d been touring and recording at an insane rate for over a decade at this point, and drummer/lyricist Neil Peart conveyed his desire stop, take a breathe and appreciate the present moment in the lyrics to “Time Stand Still.” “Freeze this moment a little bit longer,” he wrote. “Make each sensation a little bit stronger/Experience slips away.”
‘Til Tuesday lead singer Aimee Mann was brought in to contribute vocals and the song became the first single from their album Hold Your Fire, a synth-heavy effort that turned off many old school Rush fans. They promoted the song with a goofy video directed by Polish Zbigniew Rybczyński that shows the band, Aimee and their equipment flying around a green screen set. In the grand tradition of Rush videos, it’s a little cheesy.
“My daughter saw this video for the first time because they featured some of it in [Beyond the Lighted Stage],” Geddy Lee told Rolling Stone in 2013. “She just thought it was hilarious that we were flying through the air. It’s such a strange video. … It was just a bizarre day. Aimee Mann was hanging out with us all day and all night. She was such a good sport about the whole thing. …This is my hair at its worst. It’s a bad ‘do. I don’t even think we ever really nailed music videos. The funny thing is just watching this giant drum kit flying through the air. It’s one thing to see humans. They have a form. But here’s this whole drum kit floating through space. Who says we don’t have a sense of humor?”
The video helped the song reach Number Three on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart. It was a regular part of their live set in the 1980s and early 1990s, returning in 2010/11 for the Time Machine Tour. They haven’t played it since, though they did name their 2015 tour documentary Time Stand Still. It chronicled the R40 Live Tour, which they billed as their last tour ever. Interviews since then have only reinforced this since Peart says he’s reached the age where playing live for three hours a night is simply too hard on his body. The enormous Rush cult probably wish time could stand still and the group could go forever, but sadly that’s not how things work.