“Tom Sawyer” is one of the best-known songs in Rush’s history, yet the band almost abandoned the track before it was completed.

“It was a very difficult song to record,” Geddy Lee admitted during a recent interview with NPR’s World Cafe. “Every turn, something was going wrong.”

The sprawling tune, which was recorded for the band’s 1981 album Moving Pictures, was almost left on the cutting room floor.

READ MORE: Geddy Lee Year-by-Year Photos

“When we came to mix it, there were all these technical problems, because we were using one of the first computerized mixing consoles in North America at the time," the bassist explained. "That was in 1980, right? '79, '80. And there was this grounding problem, and the song kept mixing itself, it kept remixing itself. So it was just... nothing was working. And, at one point, I thought, 'Maybe we just forget this song and move on.'”

Lee was frustrated with the setbacks, and he didn’t think “Tom Sawyer” was worth the time and effort the band was giving it. Of course, the tune was ultimately not abandoned and instead went on to become one of Rush's most beloved hits. It is also prominently featured in the new movie The Iron Claw.

“It just goes to show you, I wouldn't know a hit single if I tripped over it," Lee remarked. "There I was, on the verge and even accepting the idea that maybe our most popular song ever would end up in the trash can."

Geddy Lee Has a New Memoir and TV Show

Lee recently wrapped up a North American book tour supporting his new memoir, My Effen’ Life. The autobiography delves into Lee’s history both in and out of Rush.

READ MORE: Rush Lived Albums Ranked

Lee also has a new TV show titled, Geddy Lee Asks: Are Bass Players Human Too? Each episode sees the Rush legend visiting with fellow bassists, including Metallica’s Robert Trujillo and Nirvana’s Krist Novoselic. The series is streaming now via Paramount+.

Rush Albums Ranked

We examine Rush's 19 studio albums, from 1974's muscular self-titled release to a series of remarkable late-career triumphs.

Gallery Credit: Eduardo Rivadavia

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